With one announcement, three local lives were forever changed. Named Give Back Scholars at a recent awards banquet held in Wichita, Anthony Molina, eleventh-grade; Tania Molina, ninth-grade; and Angel Razo, ninth-grade, will receive a full-ride scholarship for college. More than money, they will also receive mentorship that will support, challenge and guide them through high school and as they transition into college.
After extensive application, interview and finalist stages, the three finalists from Great Bend High School traveled to the awards banquet to hear the final announcement.
“I am so impressed by their hard work, motivation and determination,” said Lacy Wolters, GBHS ACT/Career coordinator. “We’ve been meeting weekly since November to progress through this process. They’ve written essays, gathered documents and recommendations, polished their interview skills. On our way to the banquet in Wichita I kept thinking, they are all so deserving, how could the committee pick anyone else.”
To Wolters’ and the students’ surprise and delight, the hard work of all three students paid off. The program is highly competitive with only 30 awards given in the state of Kansas.
“At first, I don’t think the announcement really registered,” said Wolters. “Then as it set in, the students were smiling in disbelief. With genuine gratitude and excitement, they shook the hands of Robert Carr, Give Back founder, and the Kansas Scholarship donors Peter and Veronic Mallouk, who attended.
“I had to hold back tears during the announcement,” said Wolters. “This is why I transitioned into education from the business world. I am so excited for their futures and look forward to working with them over the new few years as they continue high school and transition to college.”
Wolters describes this as a life-changing opportunity for these students. With the requirement to maintain a 3.0 GPA during high school and attend regular mentor meetings, students will choose to attend K-State, WSU, Pittsburgh State, or Baker University for their post-secondary education. Every Give Back scholar receives a full scholarship that covers college tuition, fees, room and board, lifting the heavy financial burden associated with higher education. Scholars are selected as early as ninth-grade so they benefit from college readiness programs, campus visits, financial aid workshops, test preparatory classes, social events and more.
Give Back’s mission is to provide college scholarships and mentoring to students who have faced economic hardship and other adversities. Their website describes Give Back Scholars as academically motivated and resilient. Most are first generation college students who come from families below the poverty line. A special outreach is given to students who have experienced heightened social risks such as foster care or the incarceration of a parent.
Learn more about the Give Back Foundation at www.giveback.ngo.