An idea first bandied about at a class mini-reunion house party has hatched into a golden opportunity for Cherokee students by noted members of the Cherokee Washington High School Class of 1965.
Members of that memorable WHS Class of 1965 have established a "WHS Class of '65 Gives Back Scholarships" for qualifying Cherokee seniors to be used toward post secondary education.
The class of '65 feels that Cherokee was a wonderful place to grow up, and that they received one of the best educations possible. They believe in the students who attend WHS and want to pass on what WHS did for them.
The new educational scholarships were awarded for the first time at the recent WHS Senior Awards Night, with six Class of '65 members present, including John Kledis, Steve Waller, Rodney Brown, Paul Sleezer, Janet (Lowder) Sleezer, and Cindy (Nysted) Poulson. Kledis, Poulson, and Waller traveled great distance to attend the special occasion.
Although the amount may vary annually depending upon contributions, the class has pledged to make the generous scholarships an annual award.
Basically, the class would like to help students who would not be able to further their career goals because of financial and other extenuating limitations or circumstances.
Each year, interested senior students can contact Deb Hankens, counselor at WHS, for an application. Selected students will have to meet certain criteria to be eligible for the scholarship.
In addition, the Class of '65 encourages other WHS graduating classes to set up a similar scholarship. You can contact email@example.com for a step by step packet of forms and procedures to help your class get started. The Class of '65 encourages the community to pass this information on to family and friends of past graduating classes.
The Class of '65 believes that no student should be left behind because they don't have access to the education of their choice for lack of recognition, or financial means, or a support system.
"This is absolutely wonderful news for the students of Cherokee Washington," noted WHS Counselor Deb Hankens. "I am thrilled to be working with the Class of '65 and assisting them in working out the details for the scholarships."
Cherokee Superintendent Dr. John Chalstrom was elated at the news.
"We're so very appreciative to the Class of '65 for their continued support of Cherokee Schools and their desire to contribute to higher education for our students. We are truly indebted to the Class of '65 for this wonderful gesture."
An e-mail several montha ago from Class of '65 member Sherry Sturgeon Clark poignantly explained how this all happened.
Clark said a group of classmates met in St. Louis, Mo. at a mini-reunion in October and class member John Kledis, who has stepped to the plate in the past to benefit Cherokee with donations to the Historic Railroad Depot, said to those Cherokee grads and spouses present, "We need to let the people of Cherokee know just how good a place it was to grow up. We need to help other kids have education opportunities we had. We should start a scholarship fund!"
"And, away we went!" exclaimed Clark. "We want to motivate other classes to do the same and see the all-WHS reunion scheduled for next summer (July 1-2-3) as the perfect venue for doing so."
The Class of '65 has not entered this valuable endeavor without expertly planning for the process.
It's Mission Statement reads: Members of the Cherokee Washington High School Class of 1965 will fund and present an annual scholarship award and provide moral support, as requested by Award recipient, to qualifying graduating high school students whose chosen career path requires post secondary education. The amount of scholarship will be determined annually by the Board.
The scholarship association consists of a Board of Directors, Officers, and the following committees: Selection of Recipient, Follow-up and Support, Fund Raising, Class Challenges.
The initial Board of Directors include:
*Niann Grawberg Cooper
129 Railroad Ave.
Bay St. Louis, MS 39520,
*Cyndy Nysted Poulson
5914 Lyndhurst Dr.
San Angelo TX 76901
*Janet Lowder Sleezer
701 Sleezer Rd.
Cherokee, IA 51012
*Linda Thomas Browne
326 Lakeshore Dr.
Manistee, MI 49660
*John Kledis, President
355 Merrimon Ave.
Asheville, NC 28801
*Sherry Sturgeon Clark, Vice-President
6533 E. 89th Place
Tulsa, Ok 74133
*Tassie Barnett Davidson, Secretary
281 County Road 1211
Sulpher Springs, TX 75482
*Ted Springer, Treasurer
105 Benchmark Court
Myrtle Beach, SC 29588
A local bank account will be maintained in Cherokee.
Should this association cease to exist, all funds will be donated to the Cherokee Community School District.