Everybody has a story to tell. Some people share that story through words. Others use music or art to tell their tale. But for some, sharing their story takes a different approach. They have chosen to tell their story—and in turn create a legacy—through a gift to the local community foundation.
A community foundation is a means of telling a tale while making an impact. Here at the Decatur County Community Foundation, more than 50 impactful stories have been told in the form of scholarships. Those stories are particularly timely, as scholarship season has officially begun.
Some of our scholarships tell a tale of camaraderie. The GCHS Class of 1961 Scholarship is one such example. At their 45th high school reunion, classmates from the class of ‘61 pitched in to establish a unique scholarship. Their award is determined by virtue of class ranking. Each year the student who is ranked 61st in the graduating class of Greensburg Community High School receives the scholarship, an annual nod to the strong connection that the GCHS class of ’61 shares.
Some scholarships tell the story of a loved one. The Holly Bruns Memorial Scholarship recounts the story of a young woman who was not only a devoted daughter, teacher and coach, but a woman of faith. After being tragically struck while riding a bike, her family created a scholarship in her name. The scholarship is for a South Decatur student who played volleyball or softball and intends to pursue a post-secondary education at Marian University. That criteria tells so much about a beloved family member.
Many scholarships recall a way of life. The Lake Santee Women’s Club Scholarship was established by that club’s members who appreciate the unique opportunities their lake community offers. Applicants are asked to share how living at Lake Santee has influenced them. By collecting stories submitted through the eyes of scholarship applicants, the Women’s Club gathers amazing tales and experiences of life on the water.
Still other scholarships, like the Trades Scholarship, tell the story of the importance of working in a career that you love. The anonymous donor who established this scholarship is blessed with a very specialized skillset. Those skills have provided a very comfortable life for him. By establishing the Trades Scholarship, he shares the story of how working with your hands can be a rewarding, successful career path, and encourages those with a similar skillset to do the same.
One of Decatur County’s own story tellers is in the process of setting up a new scholarship that shares the story of her daughter. As a columnist for the Daily News, Pat Smith is known for her expertise of local history. Pat has recently established a scholarship in memory of her daughter, Tracey Lynn Smyser. The scholarship really tells the story of the importance of continued education, a testament to Tracey’s own experience as a teacher of speech, English, and literature at the University of Baltimore.
The Decatur County Community Foundation has been blessed to recall stories like these every year when scholarship applications open in January and are awarded to graduating seniors each May. Because gifts to the foundation are intended to last forever, these donors’ stories have no page that reads “The End”—their stories, through their scholarships, go on forever and impact countless lives.
So, what’s your story? If you’re interested in creating a story of your own through a scholarship or other fund, or if you’d like to learn more about these or other scholarship stories as told by the Foundation, visit dccfound.org or call us at 812-662-6364.