Students want to be recognized. They NEED to be recognized. Often, of course, they’re recognized for the wrong sort of things. Of course, there’s a lot of GREAT things kids get recognized for too. But, not too often are teachers, counselors, and fellow students able to recognize kids in a way that provides tangible opportunities too. Not too often are the talented – but not THAT talented” – recognized. Until now.
Local businessman Al Hight, who spent a long and productive career in the military shared with me that he wasn’t on the “straight and narrow” growing up. But someone invested in him and helped him when he really needed it. After he graduated he enlisted into the military … and flourished. What he promised himself was that some day, when he had the means and opportunity, he would give back to the community that gave back to him. Now he’s putting his money where his mouth (and mind) is. Al is the singular driving force behind Wise Up, a student life recognition scholarship aimed at noticing student achievement in a broad range of categories including: Academics, Athletics, Leadership, Visual Arts, Performing Arts/Theater, Music, and Community Service.
Hight spoke at Calvin College during the West Michigan Counseling Association Fall Conference. As he shared about this inaugural award, the goal is for students to look for and nominate their fellow classmates who they think stand out in one (or more) of the categories above. This isn’t necessarily a scholarship for the “usual suspects”: the coolest, smartest, or most gifted. Of course, they’re eligible just like everyone else. But this award is meant to celebrate the hard-working, well-rounded students.
Counselors need to sign up their schools to participate and will meet with Wise Up representatives on how to enlist and pare down student nominations. Students from around the county will be selected to attend the awards gala held at Frederick Meijer Gardens on March 21, where 7 students will be selected (one for each category) to receive a $5,000 scholarship for furthering their education and talents.
Registration for the scholarships are now open and nominations run through January. For more information, visit wiseupawards.org.