RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY
PDT Staff Writer
Hundreds of local high school graduates move on to college each year thanks to a little help from local scholarship donors provided through the Scioto Foundation. Some of those students had a chance to meet their donors Thursday and say thanks, at the annual Scioto Foundation Scholarship Luncheon at the SOMC Friends Center.
More than 200 students attended the luncheon with their families to meet nearly 30 donors who are helping to make college just a little easier for them to afford. The Scioto Foundation currently offers 106 scholarship funds to local students.
“This gives donors the opportunity to see the actual effect of their contribution. Instead of just giving a check to a charity, they’re seeing that they are having an impact on a child’s life. Quite often, if not for the generosity of these donors some of these kids would not have the opportunity to go to college,” said Scioto Foundation Chairman Mike Gampp.
Joshua Stewart, a 2012 graduate from Valley High School, is receiving the Bill and Connie Weaver Scholarship ($1,000) for Valley graduates this year. Stewart, a musician, performed his original song “Graduation Day” with his band Hidden Drive at Valley High School graduation, and he performed it again, solo, at the luncheon on Wednesday — where he also met his donor, Connie Weaver, for the very first time.
“We’re looking for a student that is wanting to work hard to get an education and maybe we can help just a little bit along the way and give him some encouragement. Josh is a wonderful student. I enjoyed his song at graduation. He is very talented and has a great future. I am very pleased with the selection that they have chosen this year,” Connie Weaver said.
Stewart will use the Weaver Scholarship to attend Marshall University, in West Virginia, to study music education.
“I am much appreciative to receive this scholarship. Any student going off to college is going to incur all kinds of debt; whether it be books, room, or tuition. This scholarship is definitely going to help me buy my books and help in every little way,” Stewart said. “I want to say a big thanks to Connie Weaver. These are good people here giving money to students going off to college. Not every student is going to have the support that they need, and every scholarship that they can pick up is much appreciated.”
His mother, Tracy Stewart, said the scholarship made Josh work harder throughout his school year so he would be eligible. It also helps take some of the worry away from parents.
“We try to plan for this the whole, entire life of your children. Then college increases over the years and books are very expensive, and room and board. This scholarship money is very beneficial not only students but to parents trying to help their students succeed. It’s a very big blessing,” she said.
Carrie Coriell, from Valley High School, also received the Bill and Connie Weaver Scholarship this year. She will also attend Marshall University, studying to be a nurse practitioner.
The Weaver’s also sponsor the Bill Weaver Basketball Scholarship ($1,000) for Valley High School. This year, that scholarship was awarded to Patrick Riehl attending Mars Hill, Curtis Crabtree attending Fairmont State University, Blake Yates attending Ohio University, and Luke Keller attending Morehead State University.
Keller also received the Ginger Rudd Phillips Scholarship.
Gampp said the Scioto Foundation Luncheon started about 12 years ago, and it has grown every year.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 235, or email@example.com.