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Scholarships

For more information regarding the Rocky River Education Foundation Scholarship Program, please contact Mason Oatey, Scholarship Chairperson, at moatey@oatey.com.

Scholarships


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 William "Billy" Badstuber Scholarship is an annual award initiated by his classmates from the class of 1968.  Billy suffered from a severe case of diabetes that took his life far too soon. He chose to not pursue a traditional college degree. Instead he went to work at his family butcher shop at the West Side Market.  His spirit and courage to "take the road less travelled" is why we chose to award two scholarships of $2,000 each to graduating students with disabilities and special needs. We hope that these scholarships will allow these students the opportunity to pursue further development and training that fits their interests and needs.

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. 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.

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.

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.

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, 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.

This scholarship will be awarded to a female athlete who will further her education in an area that will benefit humanity.

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.

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.

This scholarship memorializes Vince Dooley's love, commitment, and dedication to teaching and coaching.  Vince Dooley received his bachelor's degree in 1957 from the University of Notre Dame, graduating with honors. From 1957-1960, he served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps, retiring as a Captain.  He then returned to Notre Dame and in 1961 earned a master's degree in education.  Vince began his teaching and coaching career at Cleveland's West Tech High School, where he taught physical education and coached JV football.  The 1964 senior class dedicated its yearbook to him as West Tech's outstanding teacher.  In 1964 Vince started teaching in the Rocky River School System, where he taught physical education in the elementary schools and junior high, and then at the high school, where he also taught biology and health.  Vince was the head hockey coach from 1972 to 1978 and coached JV baseball and football for many years.  He also served as Athletic Director and Athletic Trainer.  He retired in 1989 and passed away in 2017.  To memorialize Vince's passion for character, athletics, and education, a scholarship is available to both a senior girl and boy who exemplify outstanding character as both a varsity athlete and as a student.  To graduating seniors with a grade point average above 3.50 who will pursue a bachelor's degree. 

Drew "Big Daddy" Ferguson graduated from Rocky River High School in 2004.  While at Rocky River, Drew built lifelong friendships and developed his talent for football.  His football skills earned him a 4-year scholarship to West Liberty University where he met his wife, Heather.  Drew lived his life with passion and kindness.  Passionate about sports, coaching, reading, learning, uplifting others, but, most of all, passionate about his family - especially his wife and three children, Charlie, Max, and Nora.  Go on to live life with passion.  Do good in this world.  And remember "Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.  Moderation is for cowards."

This scholarship is in memory of Jerry Gifford, who was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2013.  He fought for six years before losing his battle in 2019.  One of Jerry's greatest joys in life was going to our son Joe's school events and socializing with both students and parents.  He was one of the kindest people I have ever known, and he loved Joe and Rocky River with all his heart.  I can't think of anything that Jerry would love more than to be able to help kids and families of Rocky River.  This scholarship is awarded to a graduating senior who has a GPA of at least 3.2, has been personally affected by cancer in his or her family, and plans to attend an accredited college or university.

This scholarship honors the memory of Gavin Gill and is awarded to an academic scholar with Type 1 diabetes.  This individual exudes positive energy in any area including, but not limited to, high academic achievements and participation in athletics or extracurricular experiences at Rocky River High School.

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.)

The Gourash Family Sports Scholarship, established in memory of Frank and Dorothy Gourash, is awarded to two students (male and female) that play one of the following sports at RRHS: soccer or softball (female student) and soccer, track, or baseball (male student).  This award is intended for college-bound students to recognize the value of their hard work, tenacity, and teamwork as an athlete and a student, as these are qualities that lead to success in life.

The scholarship will be awarded to a graduating senior who best exhibits the characteristics that Patrick stood for, including generosity of spirit, inclusiveness, and friendship to all.  Most of all, the student will have demonstrated a willingness to embrace all staff and students at RRHS with a caring and loving attitude.

Thomas Oak Hardington spent his adult life as a businessman working between Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Cleveland.  In 1991 at the age of 48 he experienced a massive life-changing stroke.  At that time, he was told that his life expectancy was maybe five years.  His persistance and determination to live to see his family grow up led him to go above and beyond whatever was required.  As a result, he lived for thirty years, not five years, and not only defied the odds, but lived a very independent life.

This scholarship has been established in his memory by his family.  His three daughters, Wendy Hardington Fitzgerald (1983), Suzanne Hardington Klym (1988), and Meredith Hardington Brady (1993) along with his wife Gloria, want this scholarship to go to a student who shows those same qualities of determination and persistence to succeed above and beyond what is required that were so important in Tom's life.

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.

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.

Established by donations from family and friends, this scholarship was founded following the sudden passing of Dr. Jeffrey D. Kovesdy in 2019.  Jeff grew up in Rocky River and graduated from Rocky River High School in 1983.  Jeff's children, Max and Grace, are also graduates of RRHS from the Class of 2018 and 2020.  Jeff was undoubtedly dedicated to his studies and athletics both in high school and college.  He attended Indiana University where he received his Bachelor's degree in biology to later earn his Doctorate of Optometry at The Ohio State University.  He owned and operated his own optometry practice, Kovesdy Family Eyecare, for 25 years.  Due to Jeff's loving and dedicated character, he coached youth sports for many years in Rocky River.  Jeff was devoted to his family, friends, and profession.  This scholarship shall be given to a student athlete maintaining a GPA of 3.5 or above who demonstrates high moral character, dedication, and kindness and is one who "does things the right way."

The William "Bill" G. Kraft (Class of 1954) Scholarship is awarded to a graduating RRHS student. Bill served in both the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force after graduation. After leaving the service, he was an air traffic controller with the FAA. The scholarship is intended to provide financial assistance to a student desiring to further their education, skills, and knowledge at a college, technical, trade, vocational, or similar program. The student will be chosen by their high school and extracurricular achievements in the field of their choice. The chosen recipient will receive a certificate with the scholarship money going directly to their accepted program to help cover the tuition or program costs.

This scholarship is awarded in memory of Patrick "Bear" Lazzaro.  It shall be awarded to a student who has overcome great adversity battling physical, cognitive, or learning disabilities in pursuit of knowledge.

Bear, in whose honor this scholarship exists, overcame severe dyslexia to learn to read.  He later went on to obtain a Bachelor's degree from East Carolina University and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Master's degree from Edgewood College.  Many loving educators from the Rocky River School System believed in him and encouraged him throughout his education.  They served as inspiration to him as he went on to become an educator of others with various cognitive or learning disabilities.

This scholarship is for a graduating senior at RRHS.  The recipient will have been active in some sport or activity at RRHS.  This scholarship is in honor and memory of all the dedicated teachers and coaches that have impacted our family.

The Lovely Paperie and Gifts Young Entrepreneur Scholarship is awarded to a Rocky River High School senior who wishes to further their education at a four-year college.  The selected individual should have demonstrated leadership throughout their high school career and showed pride for the local community.  The scholarship will be awarded to a student who plans to major in a business-related field.

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 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.

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.

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 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.

This scholarship was established in memory of Donna Miller by her husband Mike, both long term residents of Rocky River.  The scholarship recognizes a member of the girls lacrosse or soccer program who demonstrates a high degree of academic aptitude, athletic success, kindness, and leadership.  Preference will be given towards students succeeding through adversity.    

Donna loved to help other people and did so as a radiology technician at Elyria Memorial Hospital. Donna’s life ambition was to raise children, and she had very strong maternal instincts that other children were drawn to - Donna was always the special aunt, godmother, or friend that children loved to be around.  Donna built a strong foundation based on love and patience with her children who always were the priority in her life in the time she had with them.   Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with cancer about 3 months after giving birth to her daughter, Samantha.  She fought the illness with so much strength and grace that she will always be an inspiration to us during periods of adversity. She passed away at the age of 34. 

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.

Dr. Lisa Renee Newman was born and raised in Rocky River.  She graduated from Rocky River High School in 2002.  Lisa attended The Ohio State University where she completed both her undergraduate degree in social work and her master’s degree in school counseling.  In 2020, Lisa earned her PhD in Psychology.  Lisa's sister, Julie (Newman) Morriss, is a 1988 graduate of Rocky River High School and is a school counselor in the Rocky River City School District.  Lisa’s mother, Marie Newman, was employed as a school counselor in the district from 1976-2011.

This scholarship memorializes Lisa's boundless energy to leave a positive impact on everyone around her, especially the students and families she supported throughout her career.  It is in her spirit and memory that this annual scholarship was created to aid students in their quest for higher education. The award is designated for a student with a financial need who demonstrates leadership through kindness and caring towards others. Preference will be given to an individual intending to pursue a major in social work or counseling.  

This scholarship was established by The Newman Family and is funded by contributions from family members and friends to honor and remember Lisa.  

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

This scholarship should be given to a student with a GPA of 2.5 or higher with the intent of pursuing a career in public health or medicine after graduation.  Additionally, the person who receives this award must demonstrate resilience when faced with adversity and possess an optimistic attitude.

The RRHS Class of 2023 would like to award a scholarship to a RRHS senior who will serve in the military, pursue a trade, or attend a two- or four-year college after graduation. The recipient will be a sibling of a member of the RRHS Class of 2023.

The scholarship will be awarded to an active RRHS hockey player in good academic standing with a minimum GPA throughout high school of 3.0 or higher and who demonstrates exceptional skills and performance in the sport of hockey. The recipient will also have demonstrated leadership qualities, commitment to fair play, good sportsmanship and ethical conduct both on and off the ice, and engaged in community service or other extracurricular activities.

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.

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 ability to communicate in a foreign language is a valuable asset, and its study makes one more aware of the world around us.  The Stevens Family World Language Scholarship is designed to aid a deserving college-bound student who has completed a four-year study of a foreign language, is a member of the National World Language Honor Society, and plans to continue language study.

The Stickney family wishes to encourage excellence in learning a different language.  The purpose of this scholarship is to positively influence recipients to use their language skills beyond the classroom.  Two award recipients shall be chosen.  One award recipient shall have studied the Spanish language all four years in high school, including the A.P. course, and shall be selected by the head of the RRHS Spanish Department as a student who excelled in their coursework.  The other award recipient shall have studied Computer Science languages at least two years in high school, including the A.P. CSA course, and shall be selected by the head of the RRHS Computer Science Department as a student who excelled in their coursework.

The Rocky River Music Backers are excited to support one graduating musician in furthering their development, growing their musical network, and strengthening their musical impact on our community and beyond by offering the Kirk Taylor Music Scholarship. This scholarship recognizes a graduating senior who has  participated in the instrumental music program the last two consecutive years and who will be furthering their musical studies in college.

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.

The members of West Shore Lodge #804 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.

Established by Albert Wilhelmy IV (Class of 1991), Tracy Wilhelmy Stevens (Class of 1995), and Kylie Wilhelmy Karpel (Class of 2004) in memory of their parents, Albert R. Wilhelmy III (Class of 1967) and Mary K Wilhelmy. Mr. and Mrs. Wilhelmy dedicated their time to their children and grandchildren, to the community, and to the Rocky River City Schools. This scholarship will be awarded to a RRHS senior who exhibits excellence in the classroom and holds a minimum grade point average of 3.5. The student must participate in an extra-curricular activity, demonstrate positive moral character in and out of the classroom, and volunteer within the community or a non-profit organization.

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.

For more information regarding the Rocky River Education Foundation, please contact Stacey Clevenger at theclevs08@gmail.com.