New cohort inducted to Manistee scholarship program

SCOTTVILLE —  “You are our future.”

That simple phrase by Bill Paine, who along with his wife Marty, financially sponsored the Manistee Commitment Scholarship program spoke volumes to 33 high school freshmen who were inducted into the program on Wednesday at West Shore Community College.

Thirty three Manistee County freshmen were selected to inducted into the Manistee Commitment Scholarship program on Wednesday at West Shore Community College. Bill and Marty Paine provide the financial support for the students that can lead to a free college education at WSCC.

Thirty three Manistee County freshmen were selected to inducted into the Manistee Commitment Scholarship program on Wednesday at West Shore Community College. Bill and Marty Paine provide the financial support for the students that can lead to a free college education at WSCC.

Thanks to the Paines, Launch Manistee, Manistee County Community Foundation and West Shore Community College those students have the opportunity to receive a tuition-free associate’s degree from WSCC.

Paine’s words are what the program is all about — giving a future to lower income students who would be the first in a family to attend college the opportunity to earn a degree. By obtaining that degree it will hopefully open doors, and they can become the leaders and workers of tomorrow.

Over the next four years Manistee Commitment Scholarship Program director Hannah Rodriguez will be working with these students and their parents to see that they remain on the right path to earning that degree. It is why they were all asked to sign a pledge on Wednesday to stay with the program.

Other partners in the program are Bear Lake, CASMAN Academy, Kaleva Norman Dickson (Brethren), Manistee Area Public, Manistee Catholic Central, Onekama Consolidated schools and the Manistee Intermediate School District, which recommend the students. The program advisory committee includes Cindy Arneson, Gail Bennett, Marcus Crook, Mike Grahl, Laura Heintzelman, Paul Howes, Andrew Huber, Ashleigh Maier, Jonathan Randall and Rebekah Schaub.

Launch Manistee program director Mary Ann Behm welcomed everyone to the second dedication program. Last year 33 students, who are now high school sophomores, became the first group inducted.

“I am thrilled to induct the class of 2021 who are from all the six area high schools. Tonight we pledge our commitment to a tuition-free scholarship to West Shore Community College upon completion of the Manistee County Commitment Scholarship program.”

WSCC interim president Scott Ward told the inductees that the true value of gifts and opportunities like this one isn’t often realized until a much later time.

“The opportunity you receive tonight will most likely be seen by you far into the future,” said Ward. “The opportunity is so much more than the dollar value of the scholarship. It is an opportunity that can change your life creating opportunities and strengthening our communities for the future.”

Ward said working together with the cohort has benefits.

“One the greatest attributes of this program is the cohort and the collective group of you working together including the relationships you will build over the next six years,” said Ward. “It has long been known that college students are more successful that are part of a cohort.”

CASMAN Academy director Shelly VanVoorst also spoke to the inductees on what went into the selection process.

“Each of the scholars have been chosen to participate in this wonderful program by people who shape their education,” said VanVoorst. “People like their teachers, school counselors and even their principals. Each scholar has been chosen because they display promise. They will be paired with peer groups who realize obtaining a post secondary degree is a reality.”

VanVoorst stressed that these students need strong support to accomplish that goal.

“Parents, family members, mentors and friends of the scholars, your input along this journey is crucial,” said VanVoorst. “Your encouragement and support at home and school will help keep them engaged in learning throughout high school and even beyond into adulthood. I can’t wait to see the success you have in the future.”

Marty Paine told the students this is the first step in the process.

“The word commitment is the cornerstone of this program,” she said. “Now that you are participants you begin to climb the ladder of education and be committed to it. You will reach out to the first ladder which is ninth grade and then three more rungs to receive a high school diploma. Many people have been cheering for you and will continue to as you go up the ladder.”

Paine said the hard work will pay off when they graduate from high school and begin college.

“As you climb the ladder you may encounter rungs that are hard to grasp or have stumbling blocks in the ladder,” she said. “But remember your commitment to the scholarship program is grab the next and climb on until you reach the top which is college education at West Shore Community College.”

Bill Paine urged the students to make the most of this opportunity because they are needed.

“You are very important to us in the Manistee community,” he said. “The hard work you eventually put into your work will be a benefit to all of us here this afternoon. We need you. As a Manistee scholar you will be needed on some very important works in the future and may be needed as a coach or teacher or a doctor, a builder or as a tech programmer, electrician and plumber and all of these require some further education.”

Manistee Commitment Scholarship Class of 2021

• Bear Lake High School

Ethan Groll

 

Bella Leffew

• Brethren High School

Alandria Agste

Emily Agster

Wyatt Hanline

 

David Picard

• CASMAN Academy

Zane Crawford

 

Joshuatree Wilson

• Manistee Catholic Central

Kaya Watkins

• Manistee High School

Tiffany Armstrong

 

Hannah Caldwell

Samuel Doolittle

 

Kaylee Grimes

Samara Hayes

Spencer Johnson

Stormie Koon

David LaPoint

 

Casey LaPoint

Emily McGaffigan

Logan Miller

 

Aanjiikwe Mitchell

Cheyenne Renner

Haley Reynolds

 

Brooke Rinck

Kanyon Sparks

 

Emily Steinberg

• Onekama High School

Blanca Andres-Velasquez

Justice Murphy

 

Ethan Nickleson

Hayden Platz

 

Cyerah Sielski

 

Leslie Yanez-Chavez

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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