Waite alumni award scholarships to uncommon groupWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
WAITE Inc., an alumni organization for Waite High School, gave 10 scholarships to students who may or may not be used to receiving accolades on May 9.
The alumni group caters to students whose GPAs range from about 2.0 to 3.5.
“These are kids who a lot of times fall through the cracks,” said Rhea Halloran, past president of WAITE Inc. and a member of the scholarship committee.
The group honored the students receiving the $2,000 scholarships at a breakfast at 725 Lime City Road, Rossford. The funds come solely from Waite alumni, family and friends, Halloran said.
“[The students] really appreciate the scholarship; more so than that, that they were recognized. That means a lot to them,” said Ray Spencer, one of the founding members of WAITE Inc.
Spencer and fellow ’40s grads Bob Businger, Jim Nauman and Bob Yenrick founded the group in 1996. Spencer was a certified professional accountant who was used with working with 501(c)(3)s, which has helped, he said.
Since its inception, WAITE Inc. has awarded about 150 students scholarships and collected more than $200,000. Recipients of the scholarships can reapply during their following years of college for $500 or $1,000 scholarships. About 14 students applied and were interviewed by the scholarship committee this year, Halloran said, adding that the group judges qualifications like “drive” in the students.
Recipients go on to successfully pursue different routes from university to trade school to community college, Halloran said.
Many in the 2012 group are attending the University of Toledo, including Elicia Garces who plans to study special education.
“I’m thankful for [WAITE Inc.] picking me because otherwise I wouldn’t be able to pay for tuition,” she said. “They actually look at what the students are doing.”
Garces helps with her father’s girls basketball team in addition to working concession stands at sporting events for Waite.
Catherine Craig, who plans to study to become a pediatrician at UT, is another student who said WAITE Inc. focuses on the student’s contributions to the community and school. As vice president of her class, she said balancing her grades can be “overwhelming” so the fact that the group gives scholarships to students in the 2.0 to 3.5 range is helpful.
Amber Self, another recipient, plans to study prelaw at UT and go on to do criminal law. “I’m truly honored. I truly need that money to help me pursue my career,” she said.
She also said giving back was crucial to the Waite community. “It’s really important for Waite to give back to the community and the school and that’s really what [WAITE Inc.] looks for,” Self said, adding that if a student got straight A’s and did no community service “no one’s going to remember you.”
The other recipients are Marquia LaPrise Fitch, Roy Johnson II, Jessica Kendall, Pedro Porras, Antonio Russell, Rogelio Sanson Jr. and Brittany Wallace.
Principal of Waite David Yenrick spoke at the breakfast, followed by guest speaker Jean Clark, president of the Waite Alumni Association, a group that also gives scholarships to students.
Clark praised the Waite alumni groups for giving back to the school and said it was because of their positive experiences during high school.
“There’s no other alumni association like it in the City of Toledo, maybe the state,” she said.