West River Health Services Foundation has $15,000 for academic scholarships

The Foundation at West River Health Services (WRHS) plans to award approximately $15,000 in academic scholarships to area high school graduating seniors and/or college students this spring.

By TED UECKER | West River Health Services Foundation Fund Development Officer

Currently the Foundation has organized the Scholarship Program into five main areas: Steinmetz Memorial (1-$500) Joyce Stippich Memorial (1-$500), Lynn Feist Memorial (1-$500), WRHS Jeans Day (1-$500), WRHS Auxiliary (2-$500) and WRHS General Scholarships (5-15–$12,000). Each scholarship requires the senior to fill out individual application forms, provide a high school transcript, 2 letters of recommendation, a college acceptance letter, and a 300 word essay. Kim Schalesky is the Academic Scholarship Coordinator of this program, while Ted Uecker, Fund Development Officer, is out on the road promoting the WRHSF Scholarship Program to area school counselors, principals and soon-to be graduating seniors; in Hettinger, Scranton, Bowman, New England, Mott, Elgin-New Leipzig, Buffalo, Bison, McIntosh, Faith, and Lemmon. The deadline for WRHS Scholarship applications to be submitted is April 1, 2016. Parents, counselors and principals are encouraged to promote these scholarship opportunities with their children/students. Each counselor will have copies of a synopsis of the entire WRHS Scholarship Program, plus individual brochures and applications for each of the individual WRHS scholarships.

In addition to these five categories, of which approximately 10-20 individual scholarships will be awarded, there is also the WRHSF Academic Loan Program; where students entering their last two years of study at college can offset up to $10,000 of their education costs in exchange for a commitment of professional employment in the WRHS system. Upon graduation, and full-time employment with WRHS, the loaned principal amount plus accrued interest is forgiven at a rate of $500 per month. Basically, within 2 years, all of the loan plus interest is forgiven. That’s an amazing commitment by West River Health Services Foundation to help area students with their costs of education – and hopefully bring them back home to our area, to grow their families, while employed with the healthcare leader in Western Dakota, West River Health Services.

There are plans to look at all areas of our current scholarship program for the year 2017. Our WRHS Foundation Academic Scholarship Committee consists of board members Cleve Teske (Scranton), Anthony Larson (Hettinger), Mark Resner (Mott), Linda Weaver (Hettinger), Dennis Rustan (New England), and Lois Eggebo (Bison). This committee will meet to discuss the current program with Coordinator Kim Schalesky and Ted Uecker, as they delve into the following questions and more:

Due to rising college costs, should we increase the individual scholarship amounts?

How many total individual scholarships should we give?

Should we place more scholarship funds toward in-house employee education?

How is our tracking program? Are we retaining these scholarship winners as future employees at WRHS?

In addition to the Scholarship Committee, scholarship applications are reviewed by the Stippich family and members of the WRHS Auxiliary. Last year WRHS selected eleven different scholarship recipients from eight area towns; totaling $12,000.

West River Health Services thanks the Stippich, Feist, and Steinmetz families, the WRHS Auxiliary, and WRHS scholarship committee members; plus many other area supporters of our scholarship program. Without your continued support, we could not offer these terrific scholarship opportunities to our area youth. If you’d like to “leave a legacy” and be part of our WRHSF Scholarship Program, please contact Ted Uecker at the WRHS Foundation offices in Hettinger anytime at 701-567-6187.