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NRHS students awarded $6,900 in STRIVE scholarships

Twenty seniors at New Richmond High School were awarded $6,900 in scholarships from the Rotary Club of New Richmond for bettering their GPAs this year.

Normally the club gives out about $3,000 in scholarship money, which makes this the largest group to ever be awarded scholarships, said Paula Gretzlock, high school counselor.

The scholarships are part of the STRIVE program, a program designed to encourage students to improve their grade point average by at least half a letter grade. To qualify, seniors needed to start with a GPA at or below 3.5.

STRIVE, which stands for Seniors Taking Responsibility Improving Virtually Everything, awards scholarships ranging from $100 to $1,100 depending on the individual's increased GPA. It's sponsored by the Rotary Club of New Richmond.

Rotary member Mike Montello said the program is designed for kids who might not have taken their high school career seriously at first. He likes to equate a student's high school career to running a marathon.

"It doesn't really matter where you start, it's where you finish," he told the kids on Thursday.

To date, the Rotary Club of New Richmond has given away about $60,000 in scholarships, he said.

Of the 69 seniors that participated in STRIVE meetings, 38 stuck with it until the end, said Gretzlock.

Bettering their grades isn't the only requirement of the STRIVE participants.

Qualifying 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 status and pass all courses during the school year.

Following is a list of the scholarship winners, the amount of which they increased their GPA and the total dollar amount won:

* Sarah Thies - 1.598; $1,100

* Brittney Orr - 1.517; $800

* Courtney Ellefson - 1.277; $600

* Bill Hedlund - 1.284; $600

* Nicole Eggen - 1.004; $500

* Allison Martin - .921; $400

* Allie Wrich - .903; $400

* Kadi D'Alessandro - .895; $350

* Brant Couch - .808; $325

* Cameron Jacobsen - .827; $325

* Justine Pinkerton - .798; $275

* Kyle Montgomery - .648; $225

* Ben Johnston - .534; $200

* Breanna Powers - .508; $200

* Jamie Noye - .016; $100

* Misty Price - .387; $100

* Kayla Shuptrine - .073; $100

* Taylor Singleton - .4; $100

* Ellie Wallace - .061; $100

* Cody Zobel - .217; $100

"Without a doubt, this is the best group I've ever had and the most motivated to make a positive change in their academics," said Gretzlock.

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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