The U.S. Bank Scholars Class of 2019 participated in a scholarship luncheon on Friday, the culminating event of a four-year program that began when students were selected for the program at the end of their eighth-grade year.
In partnership with the Foundation for Daviess County Public Schools, teachers Tracy Gutsche of Daviess County High School, and Kelly Spaw and Misty Dilback of Apollo High School, partnered with U.S. Bank’s Kathryn Raymer and Fred May to provide first-generation college students with four years of mentoring. As part of the program, scholars visited college campuses and local businesses. Business mentors worked on life skills and preparing students for post-secondary education.
“It has meant a lot to me to see these kids grow,” said Raymer, executive vice president at U.S. Bank. “I was a first-generation scholar so I could relate to these students.”
In total, 33 students completed the program Friday — 17 from AHS and 16 from DCHS.
“The most thrilling thing to me is that over half of these students are going to college, a lot of them with full rides,” Raymer said. “I would like to see this program continue because it gives opportunities these students might not have had.”
But according to Vicki Quisenberry, executive director of the Foundation for DCPS, the program has one more class and then it will be discontinued. Old National Bank sponsored the program for the class of 2018 and Specialty Foods Group will sponsor the class of 2020. Quisenberry said scheduling changes at the high school eliminated time for mentors to regularly meet with students during school hours.
But for the students that participated in the program, it seemed to have a positive impact on their plans after high school. AHS senior Bailey Thomas said one speaker from U.S. Bank stood out to her.
“He said he majored in something else, but ended up at U.S. Bank and loved his job,” Thomas said. “That took the pressure off of picking a major.”
Thomas said she plans to attend Campbellsville University in the fall to pursue a major in social work.
Fred May, retired community president of U.S. Bank, said this group of students has been very meaningful to him.
“We were able to engage and encourage them and speak on behalf of employers and express the kind of employees that will be needed in the future,” May said. “We could also assure them that there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
Ten students who participated in the US Bank Scholars Class of 2019 received scholarships Friday.
Daviess County High School
Harlee Rone – $600
Matthew Boehman – $500
Holly Hagan – $300
Makenzie Wathen – $300
Apollo High School
Bailey Thomas – $600
Cassondra Green – $500
Maddie Atherton – $300
Grace Girten – $300
Maria Cruz Sanchez – $300
Kimberly Westerfield – $300