Thirty-seven Anoka-Hennepin School District 11 graduating seniors have received scholarships from the Wallin Education Partners (WEP).
Students and their parents were recognized at a reception at Blaine High School.
Through WEP, each scholar will receive $4,000 for each of their four years in college plus the assistance of mentors who will help guide them through the transition to college.
Students honored May 23 received scholarships from the Wallin Foundation and Enterprise, which comprise WEP family and community partners.
In 1992, Winston and Maxine Wallin started a scholarship program at South High School in Minneapolis for highly capable students from low and moderate income families.
Recognizing a broader need, beginning in 2000, the Wallins extended their scholarship program to graduates of all Minneapolis public high schools.
The scholarship program was converted to a private operating foundation and the program continues to grow as additional donor partners join and provide “named” scholarships.
In 2007, the Anoka-Hennepin School District was added to the scholarship program.
At the reception, Gwendolyn Freed, WEP executive director, announced that every Anoka-Hennepin student from the 2007 WEP class has graduated or will graduate college by this year.
“That’s a 100 percent graduation rate,” Freed said. “We expect great things from our scholars.”
Freed praised the current group of WEP scholars for being accomplished and hard working.
“We realize your potential to lead and serve,” Freed said.
“We are so happy to be part of your lives.”
According to District 11 Superintendent Dennis Carlson, the WEP recognition dinner is one of his favorite nights of the school year.
He spoke about how thankful he was to Winston Wallin for beginning the scholarship program and to the donors who have helped it to grow.
“The Wallins have made a life-changing gift to hundreds of students and now they are making it to you,” Carlson told the students.
“They are giving you an opportunity of a lifetime. We are grateful beyond words.”
Carlson also thanked the families for the great support they have given to their students.
“You’ve done well in guiding your students,” he said. “Thank you so much for being part of this celebration for these outstanding young people.”
WEP’s 2012 scholars include: Enterprise Scholars
Blaine High School: Andrew Sieben – University of Minnesota Twin Cities; Daniel Zarling – University of St. Thomas.
Coon Rapids High School: Laura Nelson – University of Minnesota Duluth; Marissa Wraalstad – University of Minnesota Morris.
Minnesota Opportunity Scholar
Blaine High School: Michael Thomas – University of Iowa.
Blaine High School: Mariam El-Khatib – University of Minnesota Twin Cities; Karissa Hansen – University of Minnesota Rochester; Marissa Wiebusch – University of Minnesota Twin Cities; Michael Wisniewski – The Art Institutes International of Minnesota.
Coon Rapids High School: Kaynen Harris – University of Wisconsin Eau Claire; Nicole Kuphal – St. Catherine University; Kohlman Thompson – University of Minnesota Twin Cities.
Wheelock Whitney and Kathleen Blatz Scholar