VMA awards scholarships to students

The Virginia Motorcoach Association has named two students its 2023-2024 Estes-Counselman Scholarship Award Winners. Barrett Newton is the winner in the Operator Category, and MaryBrian Pinckney received the honor in the Associate Category.  

The VMA Estes-Counselman Scholarship Program awards scholarships to college-bound high school seniors or students in a postsecondary school, trade, or professional program. 

Winners are chosen based on academic achievement, extracurricular and community activity, and future career interest. Full-time employees of a VMA member and the dependent children of full-time employees of a VMA member are eligible.  Two scholarships are awarded annually, one for VMA Operator Members and one for VMA Associate Members.

The scholarships were created in honor of two longtime active VMA members, Gary Estes and Jim Councelman.

Estes is the former owner of Cavalier Coaches, and Councelman is the father of VMA Lifetime Member Deb Ownings, formerly of Virginia Coach Company. Counselman was a strong proponent of higher education, even though he didn’t get the opportunity for one.  When Ownings was an active member of the VMA Board, she took over as Chair of the scholarship committee and grew it to what it is today.  

Operator Category winner

Barrett Newton is an employee of VMA Operator Member Newton’s Bus Service.

She earned her undergraduate degree in psychology at Randolph University in 2016. After graduating, she provided intensive in-school therapy for students struggling with emotional and behavioral disabilities. This furthered her passion for working with students and their families while supporting their academic and mental health needs. 

Barrett Newton with her family.

Newton now is a graduate student at Liberty University studying special education. In 2021, she was inducted into the International Education Honor Society for her academic work and high grade-point average at Liberty.

In 2022, Newton and her husband welcomed their first child, Will Raines. During this time, she began working full time for her family’s motorcoach business, Newton’s Bus Service, while continuing her studies. Newton’s Bus Service is a third-generation family business. 

Newton blends her passion for helping others and her family’s business through her work with the Gloucester Salvation Army. In December she led Newton’s first “Stuff the Bus” toy and clothing drive, which supported local families during the holiday season. 

After college, Newton plans to continue working full-time in the family business while also working in special education through virtual teaching, serving students who may not have access to in-person learning.

Associate Category winner

MaryBrian Pinckney

MaryBrian Pinckney is the dependent of Brian Pinckney, an employee of ABC Companies, a VMA Associate Member. She is a student at Florida State University studying finance and real estate, which she hopes to pursue after graduation. She is also involved in her sorority, Tri Delta, serving as the Director of Facility Operations for the 2023-2024 school year.

Pinckney told the scholarship committee of her love for real estate and how she hopes to complete an internship in the field the summer before her senior year. She currently is taking classes pertaining to real estate and finance. Excelling in school has always been important to her, and she intends to continue to make the dean’s list every semester.

She says she was excited to receive the position of Director of Facility Operations, better known as House Manager, because it ties in two things she loves: her sorority and houses. She will oversee all operations within the house, from maintenance to repairs and events, and maintain positive relationships with the women who live in it. She plans on applying for more leadership positions within her sorority in the coming years.

Applications for the 2024 scholarships will be available for download starting Nov. 1, with nominations accepted starting Jan. 1, 2024.  The winners will be notified and presented their awards in July 2024. For more information about this program, see  www.vamotorcoach.com/scholarship.

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