Tyler, Texas (FOX51) — Jenifer R. Pool, the business manager of Houston Filmmaker, Nicholas Sturghill, tells KETK the scholarships that were promised to the West Rusk ISD students by Robert Jordan, on behalf of Sturghill, are not coming, at least for now.
On Friday, KETK spoke with Mr. Strughill who did not want to release any information regarding the scholarship funding and directed all questions to Pool, who is also running for Houston City Council.
When asked about the funding coming in by July 31st, Pool answered, "I don't see that happening. The program was supposed to start at the beginning of 2014 to coincide with the release of Strughill's new movie. I wish Mr. Jordan had not said anything."
On Wednesday, May 29, West Rusk Superintendent, Tommy Alexander, announced every graduating senior from West Rusk high school would have the capability to receive a tuition-free college education to East Texas Baptist University in Marshall as long as they meet the requirements, thanks to gracious benefactor.
West Rusk alum, Robert Jordan, explained the funding was coming from Houston filmmaker, Sturghill. Jordan spoke on behalf of Sturghill who was allegedly on a business trip to Panama,
The announcement came as a surprise to the West Rusk faculty, students and ETBU.
According to the admissions office, the average cost per-student, per-year to attend ETBU is $27,430.
On Tuesday, June 4, half of West Rusk High School’s graduating class toured ETBU and filled out applications in hopes they would be attending a school that wasn't even an option the week prior.
When July rolled around and the money still had not come in, parents in the New London area began to worry about the future of their kids' educations, but hoped their minds would be put to rest on a July 12th meeting.
During the meeting, Dr. Dub Oliver, President of ETBU, met with the parents of the West Rusk students and explained to them if by the July 31st admissions deadline the money had still not come in, many of these students would not get to attend ETBU, or any other university this year.
One question that was posed by a parent was about offering a deferment for these specific students. Dr. Oliver gave two reason why this was not an option, on one hand it would not be fair to other applying students, and also, if they deferred, and the money never came in, the families would be responsible for making those payments.
On Thursday, July 25, West Rusk Superintendent Alexander sent a statement to KETK stating the following:
"Mr. Robert Jordan called and informed me last night that the ETBU Scholarships for the graduating seniors at West Rusk High School could not be finalized by this Friday as was indicated early this week. The actual deadline for ETBU to receive the money for the scholarships is Wednesday, July 31, 2013. Mr. Sturghill had to return to London, England to complete several last minute legal documents. He was to fly out of Houston today at noon. Mr. Jordan has contacted ETBU President, Dr. Dub Oliver, to make him aware of these unexpected last minute details that have to be addressed. Even though we expected everything to be finalized by Friday, Robert and I are not only hopeful, but we fully believe that all the details will be finalized by the middle of next week. The campus administrators are in the process of notifying parents and students awaiting the ETBU Scholarships."
KETK now knows this information is not factual, according to Pool.
KETK has attempted, multiple times, to contact Superintendent Alexander and calls/e-mails were not returned.