Recently Steve Grinnell, ’69, has relieved Mike Hughes of his duties as Board Chairperson of the 50th Reunion Leadership Scholarship. Steve brings an impressive resume of leadership positions in the health care industry to lead our efforts into the future. Mike will continue to serve on the Board as an emeritus member and representative for the class of 1966. What follows is a brief review of the last five years:
Over the previous 5 years we have awarded the following increasing Scholarship amounts:
2017 – $1,000
2018 – $1,000
2019 – $2,000
2020 – $4,000
2021 – $7,500
The Scholarship Board of Directors (Chairperson Steve Grinnell, ‘69 and Members Penny Estopare, ‘66, Jim Niswander, ‘66 Gwen Agna, ‘70 and I) have raised the 2022 award to $10,000.
Back on September 5, 2016, none of us anticipated how our Scholarship would grow exponentially over the coming years. The 50th Reunion Leadership Scholarship is the largest local award currently offered to a graduating Yellow Springs High School senior. It is nearly twice the next highest local scholarship award. Our Scholarship has taken on the lofty position that the Vernay Scholarship held for several decades. The current balance of our Scholarship Fund is $61,453.18.
Over 150 alumni from the Bryan classes of ’62 and ’63 in addition to Yellow Springs H.S. classes ’64, ’65, ’66, ’68, ’69, ’70 and ’71 are active donors to our Scholarship. We know that our alumni ranks are dwindling with each passing year and eventually only Yellow Springs H.S. alumni will carry on reunion observances. (Sadly, we just lost one of our eldest Bryan alumni from the class of ’42, Harold “Grinny” Grinnell). Although all of us are beyond our 50th reunion year, I think it is accurate to say that we all have a “debt of gratitude” to our hometown school system which prepared us to become productive and caring citizens. All of us, Bryan and Yellow Springs alumni alike, have an ongoing opportunity to express our gratitude in a tangible way.
55th Reunion, Labor Day Weekend, 2021
Our 55th reunion was held amid COVID concerns and restrictions. Attendees included those in this picture, from left to right: Mike Applin, Jana Neilson Knezovich, Penny Shook Estopare, Greg Hackett, Ray Hasser, Ron Shinkle, and Keri Lord. Those who attended but not pictured are Greg Dewey, David Oldham, Ann Yalman, and Joan Hollister. Our classmates were also part of the annual Bryan HS Alumni Association reunion which includes anyone who every attended Bryan High School. Our Class of 1966 are the youngest alumni eligible since we attended Bryan for only one year, our freshman year of 1962-1963.
In the 4 years since the inception of our 50th Reunion Leadership Scholarship, the Scholarship Award has increased from $1,000 to $7,500. In 2021, our Scholarship will be the largest awarded through the Yellow Springs Community Foundation to a graduating Yellow Springs High School senior. Members of 7 alumni classes have now contributed donations to the Scholarship which illustrates the universal appeal of the importance of “giving back” to recognize outstanding student leaders from the hometown educational institution which contributed greatly to the quality of our lives today. The YSHS class of 1966 originally created a small scholarship which continues to grow and gain support from an ever increasing number of Bryan and Yellow Springs High School alumni who want to be part of our philanthropic spirit.
On April 1, 2019, the YSHS classes of ’65, ’66 and ’68 commenced a month-long fund drive to supplement the $25K endowment that had been raised over the previous 2 years. At the end of April, an additional $7K was donated to the Fund. The Scholarship Board of Directors (Linda Johnson-Dillenbeck, Jim Niswander and Mike Hughes) agreed to increase the Scholarship award to $2,000 in 2019 and $3,000 in 2020 due to reaching a Fund balance of $32,500.
On May 22, 2019, $2,000 was awarded to Dylan Rainey, the third recipient of the 50th Reunion Leadership Spirit Scholarship. Dylan plans to attend Ohio University to pursue a Political Science major. He was active in a myriad of activities while at YSHS including tutoring Rwandan refugee children, serving as captain of both the baseball and soccer teams and excelling in the classroom and in other extracurricular activities. We are proud to name Dylan Rainey our 2019 Scholarship Award Winner.
Dylan joins Augie Knemeyer and Aidan Hackett as the first three 50th Reunion Leadership Spirit Scholarship winners. It is exciting to think that these three and many more winners will be the legacy that is sustained by YSHS alumni for generations to come.
For the Board of Directors,
During May and June 2018, add-on donations made by members of the class of ‘66, members of the class of ’65, and a gift from Dorothy Mitchell Gish, the 50th Reunion Leadership Spirit Scholarship Fund balance reached $25,173.65. With the help of others, we have accomplished our Endowment Level ($25,000) goal in just 15 months and can now pass the baton to the class of ’68 and future YSHS 50th Reunion classes to keep increasing the Fund balance. Our vision is for the Scholarship award to be increased over time as the account balance allows and for the Scholarship to be going strong for generations of students into the 22nd century.
During the 50th reunion of the Yellow Springs High School (YSHS) Class of 1966, Labor Day weekend 2016, Mike Hughes, senior class president, addressed the reunion attendees suggesting the creation of a class scholarship for a deserving YSHS senior. There was strong support for the idea and from that was born the YSHS 50th Leadership Spirit Scholarship.
Joining Mike on the Scholarship committee were 1966 YSHS classmates Westina (Mathews) Shatteen, Tucker Viemeister, Jim Niswander, Anne Rauh, Dave Bullen and Bari (McKee) Teamor.
From September 2016 to March 2017, there were a number of challenges to overcome for the Scholarship to become a reality. Foremost, was the identification of a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which would be responsible for administering the scholarship funds. After a few months, the Yellow Springs Community Foundation (YSCF) agreed to provide the non-profit platform for funds to be raised and administered so that fundraising could begin in earnest.
The YSCF has two levels of scholarships: a spend down account of <$25,000 and an endowment of $25,000 or more. The initial goal was to raise $5,000 which was reached rapidly as four members of the class each contributed $1,000 which were designated “matching funds”. An additional 30 classmates contributed another $6,000 during the fundraising campaign from March 15 thru May 8, 2017. Fifty-eight percent of the class contributed over $10,000 to kick off the scholarship for the YSHS class of 2017.
The first YSHS 50th Leadership Spirit Scholarship was awarded to August Michael (Augie) Knemeyer, who demonstrated the qualities of a compassionate leader in school, on the athletic field, and in the community. Incidentally, Augie is the grandson of August Michael (Mike) Knemeyer, YSHS class of 1965. Augie is a fourth generation Yellow Springs resident whose great-grandparents immigrated to the US from Germany.
If you have any questions, please contact Mike Hughes at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Class of 1966 was proud to start the 50th Reunion Leadership Spirit Scholarship, and we hope that many classes will join the team in the years ahead!