Some of the original funds that created the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation are scholarships for graduating seniors from Deer River High School. “Scholarships offer a very tangible way for people and organizations to express the importance of continuing education,” notes Sarah Copeland, Director of Grants and Programs at the Community Foundation. Copeland continues, “The Turna E. Fletcher Scholarship is the perfect example of this expression. This scholarship provides support for a Deer River student to pursue a teaching degree. That’s a double whammy!”
Turna E. Fletcher grows to provide two, $1,400 scholarships
Turna Fletcher was a second-grade teacher in the Deer River school district for many years. Friends and family established this scholarship in her memory in 1992. This scholarship is intended for a graduating senior in pursuit of an elementary education degree. An interest in improving the environment is an additional factor. Former recipients may be eligible for one of the two scholarships.
Chris Fulton, Community Foundation Executive Director joins the conversation, “There are so many reasons that the Turna E. Fletcher Scholarship is the perfect example. The Community Foundation received this scholarship back in the early 90’s, and provided $500 awards. Because this scholarship is endowed, the Foundation invests the fund and only spends a portion of the earnings. In addition, Deer River families continue to provide gifts to the fund. As a result, the Turna E. Fletcher Scholarship will remain – forever supporting Deer River students who want to become teachers.” This year, the Turna E. Fletcher Scholarship will provide two awards, each with a value of $1,400.
Jack Gunderson Memorial Scholarship
Staying true to the value of education, Jack Gunderson was a longtime principal of Deer River High School. The love of learning and educating students in the Deer River area can obviously be seen through the generations. Criteria for the Jack Gunderson Memorial Scholarship includes student involvement in community and school, and provides support for many fields of educational interest.
Steven Pietila Memorial Scholarship provides $4,500 scholarships
Steven Pietila was a 1994 graduate of Deer River High School. A high achiever in academics, service and athletics, he valued family, friends and his community. Steven was proud of the education and the opportunities he received while a member of the Deer River community. The Steven Pietila Memorial Scholarship is awarded based on scholastic achievement, student initiative, exceptional extra-curricular and community activities, work experience and strong moral character.
Steven’s family and friends provide a lasting legacy to honor him by awarding memorial scholarships in his name to graduating Deer River High School students who best represent his character, values, and achievements. Fulton notes, “We are pleased to be able to offer such wonderful awards to deserving Deer River students. Because of appreciative donors and the value of investing, this endowed fund provides two, hard-working students with $4,500 scholarships in memory of Steven. This is what legacy looks like.”
Wade and Barbara (Danielson) Salisbury Family Scholarship
Barb (Danielson) Salisbury grew up in Deer River and attended Deer River High School. She and her husband, Wade, established the Wade and Barbara (Danielson) Salisbury Family Scholarship in appreciation of the education the High School provided, but also as a testament to the quality of life growing up in Deer River. This scholarship was established at the Community Foundation to benefit graduating Deer River High School students who exhibit hard work, character and need.
John Setterberg Memorial Scholarship
The John Setterberg Memorial Scholarship offers one male and one female student graduating from Deer River High School a scholarship that awards high academic achievement (GPA greater than 3.5/4.0) and record of participation in sports. Applicants need to be clear about his/her future goals and write about a personal experience and the importance of setting and maintaining high standards.
Brad Smith Memorial Scholarship
Brad Smith was an outstanding athlete who excelled in track. Brad was 4th in the State in the 400 meter dash. He was also active in his community. The intent of the Brad Smith Memorial Scholarship is to honor Brad's commitment to excellence. The recipient of this $1,000 scholarship demonstrates Brad's values of commitment to self and community through involvement and dedication. Copeland notes, “With so many deserving students graduating from Deer River, it is obvious what a positive impact the school has on the community. I am continually impressed by the families who not only support their community, but they support their neighbors. We honor the memory of the individuals who lived their lives for the betterment of the Deer River community, and the families who contiue their legacy.”
Anyone can support exceptional character and commitment to continuing education in Deer River by donating to one or more of these scholarships. Remember to check your Herald Review during June for a special Academic Excellence insert section to see photos of the recipients.