TROY — Thirty-four local students received recognition Wednesday evening during an awards ceremony for The Future Begins Today.
The ceremony honored the Troy graduates, who will receive post-secondary financial assistance thanks to TFBT’s Last Dollar Grants.
Last Dollar Grants are awarded to Troy graduates — 30 Troy High School grads and four Troy Christian High School grads — who display financial need when pursuing post-secondary training or academics. Students can apply annually within five years past high school graduation.
“This year’s group is comprised of 11 Future Begins Today Club students who have been with TFBT since elementary school,” said Natalie Rohlfs, executive director for TFBT. “We have an aspiring nurse, construction manager, scientist, biologist, pharmacist, designer, speech pathologist, and a law enforcer. We’re among engineers, teachers, artists, musicians, business leaders, and more.
“You all are going to make a great difference to our community some day,” Rohlfs continued. “We’re already proud of you.”
According to Rohlfs, TFBT will award, in total, $45,000 this upcoming school year to the Last Dollar Grant recipients recognized during the awards ceremony Wednesday. TFBT has awarded more than $740,000 since the year 2000.
As part of the Last Dollar Grant program, recipients are responsible for completing a total of 15 hours or more of service within the Troy community for each school year that the grant is received. This service may be done for an individual or for a Troy organization.
“In all, the recipients have given back more than 10,500 community service hours to the people of Troy,” Rohlfs said.
Attendees also heard from current scholarship committee member, and co-founder of the program that eventually became TFBT, Alan Zunke.
“I’m amazed that (this program) has grown from what was originally 10 students to what you see here tonight,” Zunke said. “Over the years, I’ve seen TFBT Last Dollar Grants make a difference in students’ lives in many ways. I so appreciate the energy and enthusiasm, and I’m amazed at the maturity and dedication of the young people that are our grant recipients.”
Valeri Gibson, 2019 Wright State University graduate and Last Dollar Grant recipient, shared her experience with the program.
“The last four years, I sat where you are sitting right now,” Gibson said to the crowd of recipients. “I just wanted to remind you all that I have been in your shoes and that we are extremely lucky this program cares so much about our current and future successes.“
Gibson shared that she’d been involved with TFBT since fourth grade.
“Looking back, I would do it again,” she said. “The program offered me help and opportunities that I otherwise might not have had.
“This program brings the community together and focuses on helping kids the best, most productive citizens they can be,” Gibson continued. “I love being able to experience this and say that I’m a part of it.”
The 34 local students awarded Last Dollar Grants, along with their post-secondary school, are as follows:
• Michala Andrade; Bowling Green State University
• Kayla Brown; Fortis College
• Emily Clawson; Bluffton University
• Meredith Covault; The Ohio State University
• Ally Decker; University of Findlay
• Mikayla Dixon; University of Cincinnati
• Kane Feltner; Ohio University
• Randi Frazier; Wright State University
• Preston Gambrell; Bowling Green State University
• Brooklyn Grove; Edison State Community College
• Kailyn Hatfield; University of Cincinnati
• Alaura Holycross; Tiffin University
• Collin Hubbell; University of Kentucky
• Zachary Kiss; Ohio Northern University
• Brooke Klopfenstein; Ohio University
• Megan Malott; The Ohio State University
• Carlene McGuirk; Wright State University
• Victoria Miller; Bowling Green State University
• Andrew Newcomer; Wright State University
• Matthew Newcomer; University of Cincinnati
• Katelyn Overla; Kent State University
• Katie Robinson; University of Cincinnati
• Lauryn Rutan; Ohio Christian University
• Matthew Schmitt; University of Cincinnati
• Amanda Setser; Bluffton University
• Jonathan Slone; Trine University
• Cynthia Stanley; The Ohio State University
• Megan Studebaker; Waynesburg University
• Jacob Sweeney; Shawnee State University
• Megan Sweeney; Ohio University
• Zion Taylor; University of Cincinnati
• Grace Walling; Brigham Young University
• Keegan Webb; Ohio Northern University
• Krista Wells; Cedarville University
Eight “special awards” were also given during Wednesday’s ceremony and are as follows:
• TFBT Tuition Match at Edison State Community College to Brooklyn Grove
• Bill & Carla Lohrer Leadership Award to Zachary Kiss
• Alan Zunke Award to Kayla Brown
• Jill Wilson Awards to Alaura Holycross and Victoria Miller
• Dunham’s Lawn Care Educational Award to Keegan Webb
• Betty Cole Clark Memorial Award to Amanda Setser
• Harold M. Harris Memorial Award to Brooklyn Grove (with tuition match from Edison State Community College)
• Al Mayer Memorial Award to Zion Taylor
In order to receive a Last Dollar Grant, students must live in Troy and be a graduate of either Troy High School or Troy Christian High School. Recipients must have applied for all other sources of financial aid and demonstrate an unmet financial need for basic tuition, room and board, and mandatory fees.
To be eligible for grants, students must be an undergraduate enrolled full-time at an accredited, qualified training post-secondary school. Although students are able to apply up to five years after high school graduation, they may receive a grant for a maximum of four years. Students must reapply each year.
For more information, visit. www.thefuturebeginstoday.org.
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