TOTAL offering full-ride scholarship opportunity for Memorial seniors

Published 12:16 am Friday, January 31, 2020

TOTAL Petrochemicals is one of the largest integrated international oil and gas companies in the United States, employing more than 1,600 workers in support of manufacturing and research development activities in Texas and Louisiana.

The Port Arthur TOTAL plant employs approximately 600 workers from instrumentation technicians and machinists to electricians and welders. The plant is giving four Memorial High School students the chance of a lifetime by offering a $20,000 all-inclusive scholarship.

Camille Briggs, community relations director for the Port Arthur TOTAL, said she is ecstatic to help bring this opportunity to the Port Arthur Independent School District.

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“We are here,” she said. “We operate in Port Arthur ISD and Port Arthur city. So we thought it was very important to give back to the district and its students.”

Briggs said the scholarship is only open to high school seniors with an underrepresented minority status, defined as black, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, Alaskan Native, Asian-Pacific or Asian-Indian.

“We feel that it is a great opportunity to help the communities who need it most,” she said. “We try to be a good neighbor, and more than anything we want to build our workforce. This is a way to build our workforce and open it to the people who live in our community, and this is a minority community.”

Camille Briggs, community relations director for the Port Arthur TOTAL Petrochemicals refinery, presents a PowerPoint and scholarship opportunity to seniors.

Scholarships are to be used for the spring 2020 semester for students who plan to attend Lamar Institute of Technology or Lamar State College Port Arthur and enroll in the Process Operator Technology or Instrumentation Technology programs.

“This is a full-ride scholarship,” Briggs said. “Not only that, but we offer a stipend for materials and books. This is a huge boost in the arm for students who are struggling financially. It is also a boost in the arm for our industry, because we get to recruit within our community. In that way, they have more of an invested interest in our success.”

Briggs said she has seen many success stories within past scholarship awardees.

“Memorial High School students get this scholarship and they become successful,” she said. “I’ve only been working there for two years and I’ve seen it change lives.”

Briggs, alongside current TOTAL process operator and Memorial graduate Julius Neal, presented a PowerPoint Wednesday afternoon in the Career and Technology Education (CATE) building on the pros and cons of working at a plant.

CATE director Timothy Tremont said he hopes the presentation and scholarship opportunity opens the eyes of the students to see that they can be successful.

“With [Neal] being a graduate from Lincoln High, it just goes to show the kids that to be successful you don’t have to leave Port Arthur,” he said. “You can be successful, live in Port Arthur and become leaders in Port Arthur.”

Tremont said the scholarship is not only an opportunity to go to school for free, but gives an extra element with a promised internship at TOTAL between the students’ first and second year in college.

“Whoever gets these scholarships, they have big shoes to fill,” he said. “We got an update on two of our scholarship recipients from last year and they are both holding a 4.0 GPA. It just goes to show that once you get it, this opportunity, it’s just the start — you have to maintain it to be truly successful.”

Applications will be accepted through April 13 and can only be picked up through the Memorial High School office or CATE building.

Additional criteria include being lawfully able to work in the U.S., able to maintain a 2.8 GPA and be exempt or finished with the completion of the Texas Success Initiative (TSI).

For more information, contact Tremont at