2021 ESA Youth Scholarship Winners Announced
The electronic security industry works closely with the public safety sector and we greatly appreciate the contributions that police, firefighters, paramedics, and EMTs offer to our communities.
To show our appreciation, the ESA Youth Scholarship program was developed to provide college scholarships to their deserving children. Since its launch in 1996, ESA’s Youth Scholarship Program has contributed more than $750,000 to deserving students throughout the nation.
These scholarship awards are made possible by our partners COPS Monitoring and DMP.
After reviewing over 600 applications and with much deliberation, ESA has announced the 2021 winners of its scholarship awards.
Students from 11 participating states won first-round honors, totaling over $17,000 in scholarships.
Winners from this first round were considered for the national first place and second place scholarships awarding another $17,500 in scholarships.
Nia Gribbons of Ohio – 1st Place Overall National Finalist
Congratulations to Nia Gribbons, first-place winner of a $13,000 scholarship in the 2021 ESA Youth Scholarship Program.
Emma Sansom of Connecticut – 2nd Place Overall National Finalist
Congratulations to Emma Sansom of Connecticut, who was awarded $4,500 for second place.
First Round Scholarship Winners
National ESA First Round
(for students without participating states)
Nevada (Clark County Residents Only)
Nia Gribbons, First Place Winner of the ESA Youth Scholarship
First place winner, Nia Gribbons, was surprised when leaders from ESA traveled to Ohio to present her with the national first place check. See Nia’s surprise check ceremony at the Geauga Sheriff’s Department, where her father works.
Nia has always planned on attending college; not only to attend college but to graduate debt-free.
Nia’s application includes merits in academia and extracurricular activities — and a drive for serving her community.
“I love helping others,” Nia says. “Receiving this scholarship is such an honor. Not only is it going to help me accomplish my goal of graduating debt-free but it proves that all of my hard work over the past 4 years of high school has paid off,” said Nia.
Nia will be attending the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio to obtain a degree in nursing, while playing golf for the Purple Raiders.
“I choose to study nursing because I love people. My sister was born with cerebral palsy and my mom is a registered nurse, so I grew in the medical field by helping my mom with my sister’s care. I am leaning towards working in pediatrics since I work as a children’s swim instructor. I love the kids and they make my day,” said Nia.
“Having a father in law enforcement has taught me to be aware of my surroundings when I am out in the community and to teach my friends the same,” said Nia.
“Nia has grown into a great young woman,” says her father, Gary Gribbons. “She’s very dedicated to the community. For me to be able to have an effect like that on her — I’m very proud.”
“Times are very different now than when my father started his career 33 years ago. In the face of recent events involving first responders and the media’s view and spin on these events, the public’s perception of first responders has changed. At the end of the day, first responders are people too. They have families that they are trying to support all while trying to support the public under stressful situations. I would like the public to know that the large majority of first responders want to do the right thing,” she continues passionately.
“Nia and I had no idea she had won until the day she was presented the check,” Gary explains. “What a great surprise! I have always tried to instill in Nia what I have learned during my law enforcement career; treat people with respect and do the right thing. I have always told Nia how important it is to treat people the right way regardless of the situation.
“ESA has provided Nia an amazing opportunity to help her accomplish her goals,” Gary says. “I want to thank ESA for this honor.”
Emma Sansom, Second Place Winner of the ESA Youth Scholarship
Emma will attend Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts and is planning on studying Criminal Justice and Political Science under the college of Social Sciences and Humanities.
“I am extremely proud to have won the ESA Youth Scholarship award. Winning this scholarship is a way to honor my dad and all the work he’s done to better his community, while also getting validation for my own hard work throughout high school,” Emma says. “This scholarship will help me to continue on this path towards making a difference in college.”
“Although it sounds cliché, knowing my dad is a first responder makes me so very proud,” she continues. “Not many people have the strength and courage to sacrifice their lives for strangers each and every day — my dad is one of those brave people.”
Emma’s father, Scott Sansom, started at the Hartford Police Department in 1994 and retired in 2014 as a Deputy Chief. A few weeks later, he was sworn in as the Chief of Police for the East Hartford Police Department and has served there for 7 years and counting.
Being the child of a first responder is unique. Emma said, “Being the daughter of a police officer has helped me gain a wider perspective on societal issues and on people as a whole. It has taught me to value everyone’s opinion and to use our differences to our advantage. It has also ignited a passion within me to help others. I hope to use these lessons in the future by becoming a public defender or attorney in the criminal justice sector.”
Emma never understood why she would wake up on some mornings to her mom telling her that her dad was called into work. “On those mornings, he wouldn’t be there to pour my chocolate milk or walk me to the bus stop,” she says.
However, as she got older and started hearing stories of what kept her dad out late, she realized he was protecting others.
“I believe If you do what you love, you will excel at it,” she says.
Emma’s impressive resume already includes becoming the President of the Student Council at South Windsor High School, graduating high school with a weighted GPA of 4.3558, volunteering over 250 hours within high school careers (Interact Club, William R. Wood National Honor Society, and more), working for the Town of South Windsor during the 2019 election, and was awarded AP Scholar with Distinction.
“In these trying times, where the motives and actions of first responders, especially police officers, are constantly questioned, I would ask individuals to think about the families of these first responders,” she says. “Remember that when they go out to help others and protect a community, they are sacrificing time with their families and the possibility of never coming home to them again.
“First responders are human beings with families just as every other person in our community is- they make mistakes, but they also make sacrifices —it is their courage and bravery that I will always admire and hope to emulate in my own life.”