Each year, the lives of students everywhere are changed by community members who pour their time and money into various scholarship funds. Yet, benefactor and beneficiary rarely get to meet face to face.
That is not true of the dozens of scholarships administered by The Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley. Each of the winners of those awards was invited to sit down for lunch Monday at Oglebay Park's Wilson Lodge alongside donors and committee members for the scholarships he or she was awarded during the foundation's second annual scholarship luncheon.
According to Executive Director Susie Nelson, 97 students at 18 area high schools received a total of $122,250 this year through scholarships the foundation handles. She said Monday's luncheon was a chance for the students to be recognized as well as thank those who made their awards possible.
"Really, the interaction between the donor and the student is what's more important," Nelson said of the event. "Sometimes all they see is the application. It's nice (for them) to be able to meet the students."
David Flatley is a member of the committee for the Patrick Clutter Memorial Scholarship, awarded each year to one or two Wheeling Park High School seniors pursuing a career in broadcast journalism. A former student of the late Clutter, who helped pioneer the school's broadcasting curriculum, Flatley values the opportunity to make scholarship winners aware of the man behind the award.
"Basically, he gave me the stage ... to discover my talent level," Flatley said, crediting Clutter's radio course with his interest in broadcasting.
Clutter award recipient Emily Thornburg, who will begin her freshman year at West Virginia University in a few weeks, said it's a great honor to receive an award held in such high regard locally.
"I am so thankful to be a recipient," she said.
Also in attendance Monday was Ray Johnson, who founded the Pat Johnson Memorial Scholarship eight years ago to honor his son, who was killed in a car accident at the age of 30. The scholarship is given to a Wheeling Central Catholic High School student with engineering aspirations; priority is given to those pursuing a degree in chemical engineering - Pat Johnson's field.
"It really means a lot," Ray Johnson said of meeting those helped by the scholarship named for his son. "It's pretty nice, and it keeps (Pat's) memory alive."