The graduating class of 2012 at Wapakoneta High School earned nearly $2 million in scholarships from universities throughout the nation.
Award presenter Van Wright, assistant to the vice president for external relations at Bowling Green State University, handed out several scholarships to prospective Falcons, and while he spoke he gave the senior class a few pieces of advice.
“Never forget where you are from,” Wright told those gathered Tuesday in the Wapakoneta Performing Arts Center. “These people on stage (handing out scholarships) are giving from their hearts. I hope in 40 years you’ll be around and be up here giving away awards.”
His second piece of advice will be more vital come fall.
“Get ready,” Wright said. “I want you guys ready from day 1. Be ready on day 1. This is your time, so be there ready to go and make everyone back home proud.”
Wright then handed out the Carl Elliot Award, which went to recipient Tayler Drummond.
“This award is pretty prestigious,” Wright said.
Carl Elliot graduated from Blume High School during World War II, and joined the service after graduation. Elliot lost his life while serving in the military in 1944.
“He was an athlete, a leader and a loyal person,” Wright said. “We look for that in a recipient.”
Ron Gasior handed out $8,500 worth of scholarships on behalf of the Wapakoneta Rotary Club to several students.
“As a local service organization, we have a long standing tradition of support,” Gasior said.
The Rotary Club’s annual Pancake Day helped fund these scholarships this year, which went to Emily Cornett, Josh Moots, Courtney Knippen, Jim Knippen, Paige Klopfenstein, Nick George, Rex Azbell and Cody Schultz.
“They are a very fine group of men and women,” Gasior said of the recipients.
A $1,000 scholarship in memory of Scott Lhamon was also presented on Tuesday evening. Lhamon was killed in an automobile accident while covering a sporting event for the Wapakoneta Daily News.
Marcie Grothause, who is planning to study communications at Wright State University, was this year’s recipient of the award.
Grothause also was the recipient of the $1,000 Bill Heil Scholarship, which was presented by his wife, Penny.
Heil was a beloved janitor at St. Joseph Schools for many years, and the scholarship was founded by Sandy and Ron Huffman, who wanted to begin a scholarship in the name of a man who was considered a friend to the school and community.
Matt Eley presented two $500 scholarships on behalf of the Breakfast Optimist Club to Jim Knippen and Connor Metz.
Connie Chinn presented the Noon Optimist Scholarship to four students, Caroline Craft, Ashley Knippen, Jim Knippen and Josh Moots.
Paige Klopfenstein, who plans to attend Case Western University, took home the $1,000 Curtis/Dahill Scholarship which was presented by Diane DIllman-Elshire.
Klopfenstein also received the Bill Chrismer Award.
The recipient of this award must have at least a 3.5 GPA and be involved in extracurricular activities along with possessing leadership skills.
The second-ever Jason C. Kline Scholarship was presented to Mallory McDevitt, by Kline’s wife, Jennie.
Two late students, Jesse Doseck and Jason Strauser, also had scholarships in their memory. Both students were members of the graduating class of 2012.
The Jesse Doseck Memorial Scholarship was given to Zach Gossard and worth $1,000.
The Jason Strauser Memorial Scholarship had six recipients, who each received $1,000, and were Alicia Sawmiller, Shelby Gonterman, Tayler Drummond, Shelby Cook, Ashlie Doseck and Cody Schultz.