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Paynesville Press - Oct. 2, 2002

New scholarship to honor deceased students

By Bonnie Jo Hanson

A new scholarship fund has been established to honor all of the students at Paynesville Area Schools who lost their lives before their high school graduations.

The fund will provide scholarships to Paynesville Area High School students who plan to pursue some kind of post-secondary education and will be administered by high school principal John Janotta. The amount of the scholarships has not been established yet, but organizers hope to give scholarships of $200-$300 yearly, depending on how much they are able to raise.

The Student Memorial Scholarship Fund will debut this year on the list of the Paynesville Area Charity Drive, which kicked off its 2002 drive on Tuesday, Oct. 1.

The annual charity drive will be the primary source of income for the scholarship fund.

The Student Memorial Scholarship Fund is the brainchild of school board member Deb Glenz, who was frequently asked by families and friends of deceased students what could be done to honor their loved ones. When Adam Winter, one of her former daycare kids, died in an accident a couple of years ago, Glenz, who has run a daycare for 15 years, felt like she needed to do something. She thought this would be a good way to honor all of those students collectively and give their families and friends a way to honor them without having to deal with the red tape involved in setting up such a fund themselves.

According to Janotta, there have been 19 Paynesville students who have died before graduation since he began as principal 22 years ago. Some of these deaths were from illness, but many were the result of accidents.

Some scholarships have been established to honor individuals, but many of them have specific criteria. For instance, the Greg Schwartz Memorial Scholarship has to be awarded to a wrestler.

Currently, the only criteria for the Student Memorial Scholarship are to graduate from PAHS and to attend some sort of post-secondary education.

Eventually, organizers would like to have enough money in the fund that it becomes self-sufficient; scholarship money will be generated by the interest. They would also like to be able to give more than one scholarship each year.

Joyce Spaulding, who is also working on the scholarship fund, got involved because her daughter, Kim, died in a car accident in 1985, the year she would have graduated.

When Kim died, the family donated a fence in her memory for the softball field, her mother said, but it never occurred to them to set up a scholarship fund.

This fund is another way she can honor Kim, and she hopes that other families choose to honor their children in this manner.

As part of the project, a plaque will be made that will list the names of all the students from Paynesville Area Schools who died before their graduations. Families who wants to have a name added should call Glenz at 320-243-4727.

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