Issue 68 August 2017 Share on Facebook Tweet this article! Send link in an email.

Jirak Receives Foundation for Rural Service Scholarship

Nex-Tech CEO/General Manager, Jimmy Todd, presents the FRS scholarship check to Monica Jirak, Thunder Ridge High School graduate, Kensington, KS.

Nex-Tech is pleased to announce Monica Jirak as a 2017 Foundation for Rural Service (FRS) $2,500 national scholarship recipient. Monica is a 2017 graduate of Thunder Ridge High School and the daughter of James and Sandra Jirak of Kensington. She has been awarded $2,000 from the FRS and a matching scholarship of $500 from Nex-Tech.

The FRS recently chose Monica and 46 other stellar students who will receive more than $100,000 in college scholarships. This year’s recipients are among 1,500 applicants nationwide from rural communities served by members of NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association, including Nex-Tech.

In her essay, Monica spoke about life in her small, rural community. She explained how much living there has taught her about hard work, community service, character development, youth involvement, creativity, and passion for what you want in life. She touted about the feeling of pride when the community comes together to support events and student activities, and to rally around those in need. “This is not ‘flyover country’ as some would call it,” she writes. “It’s a place I call home.”

Monica plans to study biology at Pittsburg State University this fall. Her dream is to return home as an obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) where she can give back to her community.

The FRS College Scholarship Program awards one-time scholarships to students from rural America for their first year of college, university or vocational-technical school. Each student is sponsored by an NTCA member company. New this year, FRS awarded three $500 Roger Alan Cox Scholarships and two $1,250 Broadband Telecom Conference Scholarships. Four $5,000 scholarships funded by Manny and Leo Staurulakis of JSI in honor of their parents, John and Chresanthe Staurulakis, were awarded to students with an interest in science, math, medicine or engineering. Two $1,500 scholarships were funded by Telecom Management Services (TMS) of Mayfield, KY. One student received the $7,000 Everett Kneece Scholarship in honor of the philanthropist with a passion for rural America.

“FRS is extremely proud of our college scholarship program and the people who make it possible: the astounding students who apply and the supportive companies that sponsor them,” said FRS Executive Director Jessica Golden. “Our 47 scholarship winners have proven their academic abilities—often despite challenging personal circumstances—and have also showcased a remarkable love and appreciation for their communities. We wish all awardees the best in their future endeavours and hope they feel a great sense of support and community pride.”

A full list of scholarship winners is available online at