Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance Scholarship

In recognition of the tremendous efforts put forth by the Wisconsin’s rural schools to provide their students with quality education in an ever-changing environment, it is with pleasure that the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance (WiRSA) offers an annual scholarship program.

To qualify, participating schools must be current paid members of WiRSA.

The scholarship will be awarded annually to five graduated high school seniors. Each recipient will receive a one-time cash scholarship of $500 to be used by the student to help defray the costs of post-secondary education and related expenses. A written essay is required for the application that expands on the following information:

  • the benefits of attending a rural school
  • your college and career goals
  • the value of growing up in a rural community and what personal values you have gained from your experience
  • To qualify, participating schools must be current paid members of WiRSA.
  • The scholarship will be awarded annually to five graduating high school seniors: one from each of the four membership regions of Wisconsin as specified in the organization’s bylaws plus one additional scholarship statewide.
  • There will be no discrimination made as to this scholarship based on race, color, religion, national origin or sex, either by WiRSA or participating member schools.
  • Each recipient will receive a one-time cash scholarship of $500 to be used by the student to help defray the costs of post-secondary education and related expenses.
  • The funds will be distributed directly to the recipient upon submittal of a first semester transcript and second semester class schedule.
  • Each school is responsible for distributing to its students information pertaining to the scholarship application, rules and guidelines.
  • Each school must screen and evaluate its own applicants, based upon criteria set forth on the WiRSA Scholarship Application Form and then choose a single semi-finalist be forwarded to WiRSA for consideration (each school may submit only one entry for consideration).
  • Entries must be emailed or postmarked no later than Feb. 15 of each year in order to be considered.
  • WiRSA will appoint a scholarship committee consisting of members of its board of directors to determine the winners of the scholarship and one alternate for each region.
  • If a student from a WiRSA board member’s school district is a semi-finalist for the scholarship, that board member will be excluded from any and all aspects of the judging process.
  • The superintendents of the school districts attended by each of the regional winners will be notified in writing of the award being made to their students.
  • The scholarship will be announced by April 15 of each year.
  • Whenever possible, a representative from WiRSA will attend the school awards ceremony to award the scholarship to the winner in each region.
  • All application and essays shall be submitted to the executive director of WiRSA.

2016-2017 WiRSA Scholarship Winners

Region 1: Matthew Dinsel | Oakfield High School

My name is Matt Dinse and I attend Oakfield High School. In the fall, I plan to attend UW-Milwaukee, majoring in marketing and minoring in political science. I value marketing because of the psychology of selling and the challenge of being innovative in business. I have two older brothers, John and Bryan, who are both married with kids. My hobbies include going to Brewers games, hanging out with my family and friends, and collecting sports memorabilia. In school, I enjoy my AP History and Politics classes the most, someday hoping to run for public office, which was inspired by my time at Badger Boys State last June.

Region 2: Lauren Blumer | Albany High School

My name is Lauren Blumer. I will be attending UW-Madison for Nursing with plans to enter medical school and become a Pediatrician. I live in Albany, a community of approximately 1,100 people, with my mom, dad, brother Evan, dog Sophie and cat JJ. I attend Albany High school where I am involved in many activities such as Cross Country, Track, National Honor Society, Choir, Musicals, FFA, and FBLA. I have always enjoyed volunteering and helping others. Through incredible community service experiences like Big Brothers Big Sisters, American Red Cross, UMC Youth Group and many others, I have gained a tremendous amount of life skills that have helped shape me into the person I am today. For as long as I can remember, my heritage and family history have been an important part of my life and have played a key role in my upbringing. I was born and raised on our family farm where we raise heifers and milk cows. This fueled my love for animals and motivated me even more to seek a profession in the medical field. I decided at the young age of five that I wanted to become a doctor. Specializing in pediatric medicine will allow me to explore my interest in the medical field and help children and their families.


Region 3: Marnie Schecklman | Greenwood High School

I have had the privilege of growing up in a close-knit community in the heart of Wisconsin, named Greenwood.  Greenwood has left a mark on me, and after graduation I hope to leave my mark on Greenwood.  My older sister and I have been raised by our two loving parents and they have taught me the value and importance of spending time with family.  Throughout high school, I have been involved in a wide variety of extra-curricular activities, such as Future Business Leaders of America, National Honor Society, and a few others, but by far, my favorite activities are those in the music department.  Though I plan to major in Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire to become a speech pathologist, I wish to remain musically active through my years at college by joining choirs, bands, and hopefully an acapella group because who doesn’t like Pitch Perfect?  I am very lucky to have had the opportunity to grow up in this small, rural community, because the bonds I share with the people of Greenwood and the education I received while attending Greenwood High School are truly irreplaceable.


Region 4: Amanda Kind | Marathon High School

Next year, I will attend the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse where I will attain a degree in Political Science. I am excited to move onto the next step of my education, with my end goal of being a lawyer. I want to be a lawyer in order to help others receive justice and use my knack of politics to help better the lives of others. During high school I have kept myself busy with three sports, multiple clubs, a job, and challenging classes. The small town support of Marathon has helped me be successful in all aspects of my life.


At Large: Maya Dix | Wild Rose High School

Wild Rose is my rural, little community I call home. Living here my whole life has helped me develop my core values, something I will treasure forever. Being a part of a rural community has allowed me to stay involved throughout my high school career. Some of the extra-curricular activities I have been involved in are: Volleyball, Track and Field, Student Senate, Key Club, and Letterman’s Club. I’m excited to be able to continue my education at Saint Cloud State University with hopes of eventually becoming a dentist. I have chosen dentistry as my career because it allows me to help change people’s lives. Not only will I be able to improve a person’s oral health and comfort, but also their physical appearance, giving them newfound confidence, something I cannot wait to do.