Student Legacy Scholarship lets graduates give back

Courtesy Phto
Kasey Gorby

Courtesy Phto Kasey Gorby

The Student Legacy Scholarship brings together the students of Grand Valley State University, both past and present, with one thought: “We’ve all been there before.”

The new student-funded scholarship makes it possible for graduating seniors and alumni to give back to their fellow students. GVSU received 671 monetary donations from student donors last year alone.

“It really is a scholarship that is for the students, by the students,” said Cathy Skene, the Student Giving Program manager and class of ’08 GVSU graduate.

The scholarship was started in 2007 and is designed for the typical GVSU student. The requirements are that the student is involved in community service, has leadership experience and maintains over a 2.5 GPA. Applicants also have to write a one to two page essay on their experiences and why they meet the given requirements.

“That was actually one of the purposes, (to) include everyone,” Skene said.

Last year there were more than 250 applicants for the scholarship. Of those, six students received the scholarship.

Lance Beaudry is one of the recipients of the scholarship. He is currently a junior majoring in social studies and secondary education. Beaudry is an assistant to the youth pastor at First Evangelical Covenant Church and is also involved in designing a skate park for a future youth center. He hopes to continue this type of work after he graduates.

“I’ve had this job for a month,” he said. “It seems like something that’d fit, like the pieces are going to come together.”

Beaudry did not know that the scholarship was funded by students and alumni until recently. He said he was surprised to know that his peers and possibly even friends give to the scholarship to help other students get through school.

“It’s encouraging to know that we’re helping each other out,” he said.

Kathryn Phelan is also a recipient of the scholarship. She is a senior who will graduate in May and plans to attend graduate school. She is currently considering a program at Notre Dame where recent graduates are placed in underfunded schools and teach based on what they studied in college. After two years, the teachers receive a master’s degree from Notre Dame.

“You’re just placed randomly in a state in the southern U.S.,” she said. “You don’t know where it will be, which is part of the appeal.”

Phelan said that the scholarship has a lot more depth and personality because it is not just an amount of money that comes from an unknown source. She said it is more meaningful because graduates help current students out with an experience they understand.

“It feels like a friend is loaning you 20 bucks,” she said.

Lynsie Pouliot is a third recipient of the student legacy scholarship. She is a special education major and plans to graduate in April of 2012. She said her dream after she graduates is to have a resource room where her students come to her for a couple hours a day.

“I do have a passionate heart to work with those that need a little more help,” she said. “That one-on-one interaction – that’s where I belong.”

Pouliot said she understands now why the scholarship is so important.

Other recipients of the student legacy scholarship include Branden Stewart, an advertising and public relations major and President of Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity, Yahkima Jones, a management information systems major, and Kasondra Gorby, a business major.

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