By Caitlin Kahaly
For the past 35 years, The Walpole Scholarship Foundation (WSF) has supported Walpole High School seniors and alumni by granting over $3 million in financial aid based off merit and needs for students pursuing post-secondary education.
“We as a foundation see how great and hardworking these students are. We see the great challenges they face and how they are all still so determined,” WSF president Denise Lynch said. “We have been a part of this community for a long time and have seen it all. It is inspiring.”
WSF is a non-profit organization that raises money in scholarship aid that is granted to Walpole students who chose to pursue an education after high school. The WSF is currently run by six executive board members that oversee fundraising, scholarship selection, investments and publicity. This past year, the foundation awarded $200,000 in scholarships to 118 deserving Walpole students. Collectively throughout the years, over $3.8 million has been awarded to 2,924 Walpole students since 1983.
“The Walpole Scholarship Foundation has opened up so many opportunities for our students to continue their education. College is so expensive, and the WSF has made it possible for our students to improve their lives in so many ways,” Walpole High School Principal Stephen Imbusch said.
The money granted to students as scholarships comes from donations of Walpole residents and companies, as well as others from outside of Walpole. The scholarships are then awarded to deserving students to help pay for college tuition, books and other educational expenses. Non-cash donations are also accepted and can be made through stocks and will dedications. WSF also hosts a “Cornhole 4 College” event in January at the German-American Club that brings in many donations in addition to those made throughout the year.
The WSF began in 1983 when Ed Turley, a Walpole High School guidance counselor, gathered with seven other concerned Walpole citizens with the goal of alleviating the rising cost of post-secondary tuition for students. The foundation currently has a board of 21 volunteering trustees.
Scholarship applications open in mid-December and are due for review by February 1. Students do not need to be strictly from Walpole High School to apply but must be a senior in high school or a freshman, sophomore or junior in college who is a Walpole resident pursuing an undergraduate education. The maximum number of scholarship awards a single student can receive is four. Scholarship aid for graduate degrees is not awarded.
“With the assistance the foundation provided me, I was able to dedicate the time I would’ve had to work to get that money, and instead earn extra money that I’ve been able to put away as savings! This has alleviated almost all of my worries surrounding the financial burden I will face after I graduate,” said Lauren LoRusso, a WHS alumnae and senior at Stonehill College. “It shows how much the foundation truly cares to help students beyond just awarding money; they genuinely want each student to have the best chance they can.”