• Spencer Chestnut Continued From What Is Your Why?...

    “Receiving the Brian Shirk Memorial Scholarship showed me that serving your community is a personal commitment,” Chestnut said. “It is not just a task for other people or institutions, it is our personal responsibility to support our neighbors. My scholarship is just my small contribution to a community that has made an enormous contribution to my life and it is my small way to empower the next generation of students.”

    Prerona Kundu received the inaugural $1,000 scholarship provided by Chestnut in the spring of 2016.  She completed her first year at Kansas State University and is intent on earning a degree in mechanical engineering.  Cameron Edens, the 2017 recipient, is also heading to Manhattan for his freshman year in college where he will study nuclear engineering.

    Edens said Chestnut’s commitment to the students is exceptional.

    “The scholarship is a huge deal and it is not just the monetary value,” Edens said. “It is the connection (Chestnut) is willing to give. We met for lunch one day and he is providing so much to me with connections.”

    A wide variety of individuals, businesses and organizations provide 73 different scholarship opportunities to Lawrence High and Free State High seniors through the Lawrence Schools Foundation.

    Scholarship donors include families honoring loved ones; businesses and organizations; and those who just want to provide an assist to those entering the next phase of their lives.  Some scholarships are intended for specific purposes such as those attending certain schools or interested in a particular field of study. Some are for obtaining high grade point averages in high school and some for those who are working hard to better themselves.

    Scholarship awards range from $500 to as much as a $5,000 renewable scholarship.

    Whatever the reason for providing the scholarship and for whatever amount, the gifts go a long way for the recipient and the donor.

    David Shirk said there are a number of the scholarship recipients from over the years who still visit with him and write him letters. It proves the effect of providing this scholarship was worth so much more than just the monetary value.

    Chestnut, for one, sees the value of making a commitment to students.

    “A healthy community that supports and strengthens the next generation does not just appear from nowhere,” he said. “Healthy communities only form when hundreds of individuals are intentionally seeking to improve their schools and their neighbor’s lives.”