Scholarship Descriptions

For more information regarding the Rocky River Education Foundation Scholarship Program, please contact Bill Blough, Scholarship Chairperson, at william.a.blough@gmail.com or at 216-533-0666.

Lawrence J. Badar Memorial Scholarship

Lawrence J. "Larry" Badar spent a lifetime creating innovative ways to excite young students about physics. During his 27 years teaching physics at RRHS, he received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching Science and was named a Fellow at the National Science Foundation. After retiring from RRHS, he became the Founding Director of Case Western Reserve University’s Center for Science and Mathematics Education and remained active with the American Association of Physics Teachers. Mr. Badar was the first faculty inductee into the RRHS Hall of Fame. He passed away in 2012. This scholarship is for a student who intends to major in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) field, with preference given to a student intending to major in physics; more preferably physics education.

The "Balancing Act" Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded by Ken and Martha Taylor to a graduating RRHS senior who has participated in four years of instrumental or choral music, has participated in at least one sport during each of his or her four years, and has taken one or more languages in at least three of his or her four years in high school.

George M. and Jane L. Balla Memorial Scholarship

George M. Balla, father of Mark Balla (Class of 1987) and Michael Balla (Class of 1991), possessed a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Arts Education from Ohio University.  He taught Industrial Arts, drafting, and pattern making at West Technical High School for over 25 years and then taught at St. Edward High School and the Rocky River Senior Center.  Jane L. Balla, mother of Mark and Michael, possessed a Ph. D. in English Literature from Western Reserve College (now Case Western Reserve University). She taught at Rocky River High School in 1968 and many of the local colleges throughout her career. This scholarship memorializes George and Jane's love, commitment, and dedication to teaching and their willingness to give students a second chance to reach their true potential. It is for a graduating senior pursuing a degree in English, Education, or Vocational Trades.

Blake Family Musical Scholarship

The Blake family has been a long-standing supporter of the Rocky River High School band and all of the benefits students receive by being a part of the band.  This scholarship will go to a student who has been a band member for at least three years in high school, who is planning to study arts or music in a qualified 4-year institution, and has a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Lois Van Gastel Brown Memorial Scholarship

This award is given in memory of Lois Van Gastel Brown, a loving supporter of her granddaughters' (Marisa and Alicia DeRoma) creative endeavors.  The recipient will be attending a four-year college majoring in art or music.

Kate Carney Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship is given in memory of Kate Carney, a proud participant in the Rocky River Soccer Organization who also had a love of science that was fostered at the Great Lakes Science Center. The funds for the scholarship were created when Elizabeth Demers, a RRHS student, organized a 5K race called River Run for a Cause and chose to have the proceeds from that race go to a scholarship in Kate’s name. This scholarship is designated for a student who has played a sport all four years and who has excelled in the study of science during her high school career.

E. Donald Chadwick "Character Matters" Scholarship

This scholarship is in honor of Mr. E. Donald Chadwick, a former teacher at Rocky River High School.  In addition to mathematics, wrestling, and football, Coach Chadwick taught the importance of good character.  Character, we learned, is who we are when we think nobody is looking.

This scholarship was established by Karen and John Kirk (RRHS Class of 1962) and will be awarded annually to a senior student athlete who best demonstrates good character traits - especially honesty, integrity, responsibility, self-discipline, reliability, courage, perseverance, and respect for others.

Chan Engineering Scholarship

This award is given to an RRHS senior who plans to pursue a degree in engineering. The student must have at least a 3.75 G.P.A. while demonstrating an especially strong aptitude and work ethic for math and science. The student should also have experience or achievement in an additional area such as service, leadership, academic competitions, innovation, etc. and be known for character and integrity.

Nev Chandler Memorial Scholarship

Nev Chandler, a 1964 graduate of Rocky River High School, was a nationally known sportscaster and did play-by-play for the Cleveland Browns. He died of cancer in 1994 and the scholarship was established in his memory. It is designated for someone who will study Journalism or English.

Susan Wismar Cullman Scholarship

This memorial scholarship was established by the RRHS friends of Susan Cullman, also a graduate of Rocky River High School.  In 2014 Susan passed away after a long battle with cancer.  Susan was a focused, purpose-driven person who, even at a young age, helped lead her friends to choose pathways which built character and strengthened their moral compasses.  She embodied kindness, helped others make good choices, strived to learn, and proved that strong friendships matter.  This scholarship should be awarded to a senior girl who was involved in sports or activities (such as flags, cheerleading, poms, or band) for all four years of high school, had a minimum GPA of 3.5, and exhibited exemplary leadership skills through kindness.

Roger Davidson Memorial Scholarship

Mr. Davidson was a Rocky River resident and father of Shannon Davidson Latek, a 1994 RRHS graduate. Mr. Davidson died suddenly in 1997. The scholarship is given to a student who intends to pursue a career in computer technology. Mrs. Davidson was a trustee of the Rocky River Education Foundation.

Joseph V. DeGrandis Memorial Scholarship

Joseph DeGrandis was the father of Fred DeGrandis who was a Rocky River City School Board Member for sixteen years from 1988 to 2004. Scholarship was established by Fred to honor the memory of his father.

Do Your Best - Scouting and Scholar Award

This scholarship will be awarded to an RRHS senior who has earned the rank of Eagle Scout from the Boy Scouts of America or the Gold Award from the Girls Scouts of America by April 1 of his or her senior year, who has at least a 3.25 cumulative grade point average, and who was active in one or more extracurricular activities during at least two full years while attending Rocky River High School.

Alice Ferry Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship is designated for a student of outstanding moral character who demonstrates a spirit of selflessness, social commitment, and volunteerism, and has a 3.00 or higher GPA. The student is one who shows an interest in helping others, especially the disadvantaged or those in need, as witnessed by faculty and/or staff. The student has had a consistent and enthusiastic involvement in volunteer activities throughout their entire HS career.

Kathleen Goepfert Scholarship

This award is given in honor of Kathy Goepfert, a Rocky River School Board member, for a senior planning to enter the field of public service (government, politics, criminal justice, public safety, the military.)

Grant Gretta Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship was established by John and Maribeth Gretta to honor and remember their son, Grant Gretta.  Through self-discipline and perseverance, Grant successfully overcame difficult challenges during his early teen years and graduated from RRHS in 2006.  Grant earned a degree in chemistry from Baldwin Wallace University and worked as a safety coordinator for RTA.  In April 2014, at age 26, Grant passed away from esophageal cancer.  This scholarship is in honor of Grant's high level of integrity, his ability to overcome adversity, and his natural inclination to champion a friend in need.  It is to be awarded to a student who is planning to attend college in a science-related field and who has strong moral character and integrity.

Jack Harris Memorial Scholarship

Because of Mr. Harris’ focus on education, this memorial scholarship was made available from contributions of friends and family at the time of his sudden death in 1996. All seven of his children were educated in Rocky River schools, and now several grandchildren are part of the school system. Designated for a student pursuing a career in the sciences.

Melissa Herstrum Memorial Scholarship

Established in 1992 by friends of the Herstrum family in memory of Melissa Herstrum, a 1990 RRHS graduate who was killed while attending The University of Toledo. It is designated for a student who will study nursing or a related field in medicine.

Dan and Lee Ludwin Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship was established by their son, Rick. Dan Ludwin was a teacher and Director of Recreation for the City of Rocky River from 1956 to 1974. He supervised the construction and operation of the Rocky River Municipal Skating Rink and Pool, which opened to the public in 1958. He was a long-time member of Kiwanis and avid golfer. Lee (Leanore) Ludwin was the owner and operator of a Cleveland sheet metal construction company and a past president of the trade group Women in Construction. Mr. Ludwin died in 1989; Mrs. Ludwin in 2002. Their scholarship is intended to help pay college expenses for a graduating senior who demonstrates educational ability.

Moriah Lydon Memorial Scholarship

Moriah Lydon was a sophomore at Rocky River High School and a member of the cross country team. While running with the team in 2001, she died of an undetected heart defect. This scholarship was established by her family and friends to honor of her memory. Scholarships are awarded to male and female members of the RRHS cross country teams.

Julia Litzler Mayer Scholarship

This annual scholarship is given to a female graduating senior who has a 3.00 GPA or above. This scholarship was established by Mr. Litzler for his daughter, Julia Litzler, a 1990 graduate, who currently resides on Cleveland's west side.

Brad McCoy Memorial Scholarship

In honor/remembrance of Brad McCoy, coach, mentor and friend.  Brad was an assistant coach with the high school swim team, an accomplished college swimmer and an All American.  His passion for the sport was evident in everything that he did.  Brad believed that everyone could contribute to the team, regardless of their ability level.  He encouraged each swimmer to be the best that he/she could be and to contribute to the team both in and out of the water.  Brad also managed the lifeguards at Wagar Beach and supported his swimmers and employees in their other sporting activities by regularly attending their events.  Brad's passion, determination and character emulated in all that he did.  He touched the hearts of all with whom he worked.

In honor of Brad, the RRHS Swim Team Parents Association will present a scholarship annually to a swimmer who meets the following criteria:

1.  Four-year swim team member who has maintained a GPA of 3.0 or better

2.  Possesses a strong work ethic both in and out of the pool

3.  Strives to be the best they can be and who positively encourages his/her teammates to be the best they can be

4.  Understands and encourages a true team environment where everyone contributes and is included

5. Truly passionate about the sport of swimming and plans to swim in college.  If in any given year there are no students planning to swim in college, the award will be presented to a student who meets all other criteria and who wants to remain active in the swim community in some fashion beyond high school, either coaching or lifeguarding.

Nancy Mihocik Memorial Honorarium

Nancy Mihocik was a teacher at Rocky River High School for many years before retiring in 1999. Nancy created a popular course on women in literature and began the French language program at RRHS, including an honors course. She also initiated an overseas exchange program and led tours to France. This honorarium, created by her husband John, a former trustee of the Education Foundation, is given annually to the best student in French AP.

Christina Mueller, DDS, Scholarship

This award, sponsored by a Rocky River dentist, recognizes a senior with a 3.5 or higher GPA who participates in a competitive sport or competitive activity (e.g., chess club, speech and debate, solo & ensemble) all four years at RRHS. The student should also have volunteer experience in the schools or the community.

George A. Purdy, Jr. Memorial (Class of 1962) Scholarship

George attended the U.S. Naval Academy and graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in computer science. He had a successful career in computer management using innovative approaches to solve business and computer problems. An outstanding high school and college athlete, George was co-captain of the River football team and a class officer. He was known for his integrity, sense of humor, friendship and devotion to family. This scholarship is given to a student athlete who shows leadership, good sportsmanship, integrity, respect for his/her fellow classmates and plans to pursue studies in science, math or computers.

Rocky River Boosters Scholarship

The mission of the Rocky River Student Activities Boosters is to provide support to co-curricular activities at Rocky River Middle School and Rocky River High School, including academic and peer organizations, sports, music, and theater.  The Boosters Board is providing a scholarship for one girl and one boy who are well-rounded, involved,, and positively represent their high school to the community.  Candidates will have been involved in at least two activities or sports each year they attended Rocky River High School, and their parent is a member of Boosters.  Recipients will also have a GPA of at least 3.0 and plan to attend a four-year accredited college or university.

Rocky River Chamber of Commerce Business Scholarship

Business scholarships are awarded to graduating seniors who submitted an application and were chosen by the Local Scholarship Selection Committee.

Rocky River High School Alumni Association - Audrey Kremzier Memorial Scholarship

Audrey Kremzier was an alumnus of Rocky River High School.  This scholarship, established through her trust, is awarded annually in her memory to a graduating senior.

Rocky River High School Alumni Association - Rex Zirbes Memorial Scholarship

Rex L. Zirbes was an English teacher at Rocky River Middle School from 1959-1989.  He died suddenly in 2005.  This scholarship, established through his will, is awarded annually in his memory to a graduating senior.

Rocky River High School Class of 1965 Memorial Scholarship

After their 40th reunion in October 2005, the Class of 1965 established a scholarship fund in memory of their parents, teachers and classmates who have died. This scholarship is to be awarded to a senior who has contributed to the life of Rocky River High School and who deserves to be rewarded for their commitment to the school.

Rocky River High School Class of 1966 Scholarship

The Rocky River High School Class of 1966 is forever thankful for our excellent educational opportunities many decades ago. This scholarship is in remembrance of our classmates who have passed. It is also a tribute to the many parents, teachers, coaches, friends, civic leaders, and community members who influenced our lives in so many positive ways.

This scholarship is to be awarded to a senior student who intends to pursue a two-year or four-year degree, and who demonstrates sound educational abilities. Our goal is to assist a student on his or her journey to becoming a productive, positive contributor to society. The recipient of this award should possess the maturity, integrity, self-discipline, responsibility, and perseverance to stay focused on the achievement of their goals.

Rocky River High School Class of 1986 Scholarship

While planning their 25th reunion, the Class of 1986 decided to establish a  scholarship in honor of a graduate who has lineage or ties to Rocky River High School alumni and teachers (e.g., must have a relative who either attended or taught at RRHS.) We, as alumni, realize how fortunate we are to have graduated from RRHS and grown up in the Rocky River Community and how important it is to “give back." The recipient must possess a 3.0 or higher GPA and also participate in extracurricular and volunteer activities at Rocky River High School and in the community. 

Rocky River Masonic Lodge Scholarship

The members of Rocky River Lodge #703 are proud to provide this scholarship. As a fraternity dedicated to high moral standards and charitable deeds, they welcome this opportunity to support the future leaders of our community in this manner and wish the senior good luck in their future endeavors. Scholarship is awarded to a hard-working, energetic student who is actively involved in some kind of community service. Student must have at least a 3.0 GPA.

Lester C. Roig Jr. Memorial Scholarship

Established by Randy, Wendy and Reed Roig in memory of their father, Lester C. Roig, Jr. Lester C. Roig, Jr. grew up in Rocky River and graduated from Rocky River High School in 1941. He received his BA in economics from Baldwin-Wallace University and MA in economics from Bowling Green State University. He spent his career working for Cleveland-based companies - beginning as a staff economist for the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co. and then from 1953-1984 in the finance department of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad (now CSX). He died after a short battle with cancer in 2002. Although none of his children attended school in Rocky River, his grandson, Ben Roig, spent K-12 in the Rocky River School system - graduating in 2005 from Rocky River High School. The scholarship will be awarded to an RRHS senior who plans to major in finance or economics in college. Total scholarship will be distributed over four years of college.

Craig Saunders Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship is in honor of Craig Saunders who was diagnosed with cancer in 2012 and lost his battle in 2013.  Craig and Sandy Saunders' three sons attended Rocky River schools, and the family wishes to give back to the community which helped them during the difficult times.  This scholarship is given to a graduating senior whose immediate family has been affected by cancer and who is planning to continue their education at an accredited college or university.

The Stickney Family Language Abroad Award

The Stickney family wishes to encourage excellence in learning a foreign language.  The purpose of this scholarship is to positively influence recipients to use their language skills as they travel the world and enjoy foreign cultures.  Two award recipients shall be chosen:  one for the best student of the Spanish language and one for the best student of the German language.  The award recipient shall have studied the language all four years in high school, including the A.P. course, if available.

Susan Thibo Memorial Scholarship

Susan was a French teacher at Rocky River High School, but she earned her living by touching student's lives. Susan educated her students, but taught them about life. She wanted her students to expect a lot from others, to expect more from themselves, to be courageous and to be determined. Her life lessons were best taught when she battled cancer. She continued to help others when all they wanted was to help her. This scholarship is provided by family, friends and colleagues of Susan Thibo. It will be awarded to a RRHS senior who truly cares about people, has demonstrated a passion for learning, is willing to work hard to pursue his/her dreams and chooses an area of study that will provide them with a career where they can make a positive influence on children.

Mary Kay Wilhelmy Memorial Scholarship

Established by Albert Wilhelmy (RRHS Class of 1967) in memory of his wife, Mary Kay Wilhelmy, who fought a long battle with cancer and passed away in 2004. Mary Kay was a woman with a warm heart who quietly dedicated herself to her family and the community. This scholarship will be awarded to a RRHS senior student-athlete. The student-athlete must exhibit excellence in the classroom and hold a minimum grade point average of 3.2. The student must participate in a recognized varsity sport for a minimum of three years, including their senior year. The recipient demonstrates positive moral character in and out of the classroom.



All graduating seniors of RRHS are encouraged to apply for a scholarship administered by the Rocky River Education Foundation.  To do so, you must complete the scholarship application that is available from mid-March to mid-April through the RRHS Guidance Department.  Completing this application will allow you to be considered for all of the community scholarships for which you qualify that are being given that year.  The Rocky River Education Foundation administers scholarships on behalf of donors but plays no role in choosing scholarship recipients.  This is done by the RRHS scholarship selection committee per each scholarship's eligibility requirements.

More Information

For more information regarding the Rocky River Education Foundation, please contact Adam Nazette at Adam.Nazette@gmail.com or 216-401-6848.