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Admission, Scholarships Highlight Tarleton, Dickinson ISD Agreement

Admission, Scholarships Highlight Tarleton, Dickinson ISD Agreement


STEPHENVILLE, Texas — Beginning with the Class of 2024, Dickinson Independent School District seniors in the top 50 percent of their graduating class will earn automatic admission to Tarleton State University.

As part of its Distinguished High School Partners program, Tarleton also will waive ACT (American College Test) or SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) requirements for students in the top half of their class and application fees for students who qualify.

Dickinson ISD and Tarleton leaders cemented the agreement Oct. 20.

 “Partnering with Dickinson ISD ensures that some of the brightest students in Texas have the opportunity for a high-quality university experience,” said Tarleton President James Hurley. “This partnership aligns with our commitment to be a first-choice institution for high school seniors in Texas.”

Tarleton is developing similar agreements with other school districts in the state.

“Dickinson ISD is excited to participate in the Distinguished High School Partners program and grateful to the Tarleton State University administrative team for making this incredible support available to our students,” said Dickinson ISD Superintendent Carla Voelkel. “This special collaboration will open doors of opportunity and provide valuable support to enable our students to excel during their college experience.”

The President’s Guaranteed Scholarship Program assures first-time-in-college students graduating in the top half of their high school class between $500 and $4,000 in scholarships. Students graduating from one of Tarleton’s Distinguished High School Partners will receive an additional $500 or $1,000. Admitted freshmen must submit a general scholarship application to determine eligibility.

 For more information on the President’s Guaranteed Scholarship Program, go to To learn how to become a Tarleton Texan, visit

A founding member of The Texas A&M System, Tarleton State is breaking records — in enrollment, research, scholarship, athletics, philanthropy and engagement — while transforming the lives of nearly 17,000 students in Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Bryan and online. True to Tarleton’s values of excellence, integrity and respect, academic programs emphasize real world learning and address regional, state and national needs.


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Veteran becomes a Gator grad nearly 60 years after leaving Dickinson High School

This Veteran's Day will be a little more special for George Phillips as he holds his high school diploma for the first time after leaving high school nearly 60 years. Phillips was on track to receive his diploma, but on March 12, 1964 during his junior year, he made the difficult decision to leave high school and join the United States Navy to serve in the Vietnam War. 

Phillips served for over three years, with the majority of his time spent in foreign service for our country. He served on the USS Implicit, a 36-foot minesweeper that was part of the “Market Time Patrol” along Vietnam’s 1,000-mile coastline intercepting Vietcong men and supplies trying to infiltrate into South Vietnam, and it was during this time he was exposed to Agent Orange. For his service, he was awarded a Vietnam Service Medal, a National Defense Service Medal, and an Honorable Discharge.

While in the Navy, he completed training courses for fireman, petty officer, and military leadership as well as a GED.  After returning home, he enrolled at College of the Mainland, completed Deputy training and served as a Deputy. He has been an active member of the Bacliff community and has participated in raising funds for charitable causes.

He raised his family in Dickinson ISD and his son, grandson and great-grandson followed in his footsteps playing Gator football. His great-grandchildren currently attend Dickinson ISD campuses.

Although Mr. Phillips obtained his GED, he has mentioned more than once to his friend Mary Jane Musick that one of his greatest regrets was not receiving a high school diploma. Musick secretly did her research, found out about Texas Education Code 28.0251, and sent a letter to Dickinson ISD Superintendent Carla Voelkel explaining Phillips situation and an application for him to receive his diploma. TEC 28.0251 allows a school district to issue a high school diploma to certain veterans who meet the qualifications. Phillips qualifies by serving in the Vietnam War.

So on November 7, 2023, in a surprise presentation a few days before Veteran's Day, his wish came true. Phillips received his high school diploma complete with a Dickinson blue cap and gown at the Board of Trustees meeting among a standing ovation as three Kranz Junior High Band students played "Pomp and Circumstance."

After receiving his diploma, Phillips was presented recognition items from three veterans in attendance, including Buddy Farina, President of the Texas State Vietnam Veterans; Jimmy Flex, with the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 685 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6378; and Ernest Mathews, President of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 685. Following the presentations, the Kranz ensemble closed out the recognition by playing "Anchors Aweigh" in honor of his Navy service


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