GREENVILLE – Four Darke County students received $1,000 scholarships from the Light Foundation on Monday afternoon.
Arcanum graduate Elizabeth Riley, Versailles graduate Brianne Buzard and Versailles graduate Alyssa Morgan attended a scholarship presentation with Matt Light, a Greenville native and founder of the Light Foundation, on Monday at The Coffee Pot in downtown Greenville. The fourth scholarship recipient, Versailles graduate Megan VanSkyock, was unable to attend the presentation.
“We had a lot of applications,” said Light, a three-time Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots. “The applications were incredible again this year. You look at what these students are doing; these young ladies obviously excel in everything that they’ve put their heart and soul into. You know they’re going to do great because you look at what they’ve done, their body of work, and it’s really impressive.”
Riley, the daughter of Michael and Julie Riley, will attend Johnson & Wales University in Denver where she will study pastry arts. She previously was a participant in the Light Foundation’s youth wild turkey hunt and also volunteered at the foundation’s Gauntlet Run, a military-inspired obstacle course.
“To me it was a blessing because I’m not exactly the richest girl out there, and this college is a lot,” Riley said of receiving the scholarship. “It was just a really nice blessing.”
Buzard, the daughter of Edwin Buzard and Mary Buckingham, will study agriculture at Wright State University Lake Campus in Celina.
“I’m really glad to live in a community that’s so supportive and having scholarship opportunities like this,” she said.
Morgan, the daughter of Aaron and Stephanie Morgan, will study secondary math education at the University of Cincinnati.
“I was so stressed before this that I wasn’t going to get what I needed,” she said. “After getting this I almost don’t need to take out a loan anymore, and that’s a huge blessing to me.”
VanSkyock, the daughter of Shaun and Amy VanSkyock, will study mathematics and education at Ball State University and pursue a career as a high school math teacher.
The girls said they’re extremely appreciative of the Light Foundation for the scholarships. Being able to make college more affordable for Darke County residents is really special, Light said.
“For us to be able to help out a little with that we’re happy to do so,” Light said.
During Monday’s presentation Light talked to this year’s recipients about a number of topics including summer jobs, college, the Light Foundation’s programs including the youth wild turkey hunt and outdoor leadership camp, dogs and the Food Network.
“I’m sure with what they represent and what they’ve done, I’m sure that they’ll have other monies coming in and hopefully be able to not carry a large amount of debt out of college,” Light said.
The Light Foundation scholarship program is open to Darke County residents. Applications are judged on academic achievement, community service, job responsibility and an essay.
While it gets harder and harder every year to choose scholarship recipients because of the strong pool of applicants, Light said he’s continually impressed with the quality of applications, especially from Versailles students. For a second consecutive year three of the four recipients were Versailles graduates.
“One thing that is worth noting is that Versailles seems to have either a really good pipeline to help educate their student body on filling out scholarship applications or they just have a lot of kids that just get it and they go after these things because we do see a large number of Versailles students that either win it or are right there every single year,” Light said.
For more information on the Light Foundation’s scholarship program, visit its website at https://mattlight72.com/.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.