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Students meet goals as they attain STRIVE award

Seniors at New Richmond High School are being rewarded with scholarship of up to $1,000 for bettering their grade point averages this year.

The New Richmond Rotary Club sponsors STRIVE, Seniors Taking Responsibility Improving Virtually Everything.

Students were required to improve their GPA by at least a half letter grade, maintain at least 90 percent attendance through the entire year, attend five STRIVE meetings, attend a Rotary Club lunch meeting, complete four hours of "empowerment" activities, maintain full-time statue and pass all courses during the school year.

Tonya Dardine, the first place winner, improved her GPA by 1.4 points.

"That's a grade and a half," said Paula Gretzlock, high school counselor. "That's an incredible, incredible achievement."

Gretzlock has been coordinating the STRIVE scholarship program for five or six years, she said.

"You have by far blown every other year out of the water," she told the students.

Scholarships ranged from $100-$1,000. Winners included:

  • First place: Tonya Dardine, $1,000
  • Second place: Jessie Stein, $750
  • Third place (tie): Reed Chelberg and Melissa Garness, $400 each
  • Six students were honored with $100 awards for improving their GPA, but not meeting the half grade mark: Michael Amundson, Ed Coenen, Monique Hinz, Allison Johannsen, Amanda Kobs, Samantha Lee and Jarek Schmelter.

"Not everyone got scholarship money, but just because you didn't get any of the money doesn't mean you didn't work hard," Gretzlock told the group of roughly 25 students at the April 28 meeting.

In the 2007-2008 school year, eight scholarships of $1,300, $1,000, $700 and five $100 scholarships were awarded, for a total of $3,300.

STRIVE scholarships are available to students with less than a 3.5 GPA at the beginning of their senior year.

At the beginning of the school year, 76 students were signed up for the STRIVE program, Gretzlock said. That's compared to eight students in Somerset, said Mike Peterson, Rotary Club member.

Of New Richmond's 76 students, 27 fulfilled the "empowerment" requirement, Gretzlock said.

"That, in my mind, is off the charts," she said.

The empowerment requirement requires the students to do volunteer/community service, job shadowing, college visits or college research. It was added three years ago as a way to require students to give back to the community and plan for their future.

"I'm really proud of you guys and really impressed," Gretzlock said of the students' achievements.

Jackie Grumish
Jackie Grumish has been a reporter with the New Richmond News since 2008. She holds degrees in journalism and fine art from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill. Before coming to New Richmond, Jackie worked as the city government reporter at a daily newspaper in Aberdeen, S.D. 
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