Selecting our 2014 CHOICE Scholarship Winner

The CHOICE Scholarship April/May, 2014.

I am excited to report that we have selected our 2014 CHOICE Award winner.  The winner will be announced at the May 21st Awards Assembly.

For those who are not familiar, we call our scholarship the “CHOICE Award” because the winner must exhibit an intrinsic commitment to Community, Humanity, Originality, Integrity, Character, and Excellence.  The winner receives not only a scholarship, but also ongoing mentoring and networking assistance from members of the class of 1982 with the idea of building lifelong connections.  This year’s batch of candidates did not disappoint.  In fact, our final decision a very heartfelt and difficult one.  I can also tell you that several of our board members are bursting at the seams to meet our winner face to face.

The committee that read through all 27 applications was comprised of Beth (Klawitter) Barutha, Lisa Schmidman, Molly Zillig, and me. We all shared a common scoring methodology, but allowed ourselves a great amount of flexibility so that each committee member could advocate on behalf of their favorite candidates regardless of any specific criteria.  We recognize that people are complicated, and we wanted our selection process to be as holistic and comprehensive as possible.

This year, we not only read the common scholarship application, but also a special essay topic requested for those who wished to be considered for our CHOICE scholarship.  This year, the essay question was  “Please tell us about any challenges or hardships you have faced during the last four years and your struggle to overcome them.  Discuss how they impacted the development of your character and how these hardships may have changed your future personal and professional goals.” 

I know I speak for the whole committee when I say it was truly a privilege to read these applications and learn more about some of the incredibly bright, resilient, and caring students that will graduate from WFBHS this year.  More than one essay brought a tear to the eye of some of our committee members, but I shall not mention names!  By the end of the process, despite reading about the hardships and tragedies of some of our candidates, we were all filled with great confidence in the future after getting just a glimpse of the talent and energy that WFBHS is sending out into the world this year.

Our committee narrowed the field down to five finalists, that were then forwarded on to the founding officers of The ’82 Project, who selected this year’s winner.

We would like to thank our Guidance Counselor liaison, Bill Barbeau, and Principal Bill Henkle for their help in this process and their ongoing support for the mission of The ’82 Project.  And I would like to personally thank the committee for putting up with my many emails and requests to review a specific activity in each candidate’s application “just one more time so we can all sleep soundly tonight.”

I hope to see you at the awards presentation in the WFBHS Auditorium on May 21st at 7:00 pm to find out who the winner is, and help us to welcome them as an honorary members of the WFBHS class of 1982!

– Jon Wallace

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