Students from Wichita Southeast and Salina South were selected Thursday as the newest recipients of Wichita State University’s Harry Gore Memorial Scholarship.
Derick Holmes, a senior at Southeast High, said he found out he was a winner late Wednesday night while in drama practice at Southeast.
“I went out in the hallway where there is nobody, and I was pacing back and forth,” Holmes said Thursday after the recipients were announced. “I was asking, ‘Are you for real? Are you being serious?’
“I then told my drama teacher and a few friends. Word quickly spread then throughout the auditorium.”
Kevin Kraus, a senior at Salina South, said he was in a minivan traveling home from a Scholars Bowl tournament.
“I was a little excited,” he said. “I am pretty good about containing it.
“But the entire van – there was a lot of excitement once I hung up the phone.”
Each of the winners will receive $13,000 a year for four years to attend WSU, totaling $52,000 each. Both plan to major in engineering.
The scholarships, awarded annually since 1954, recognize leadership and academic skills, WSU said in a news release, and are two of the largest undergraduate scholarships in Kansas. Theodore and Ralph Gore established the scholarship in honor of their father, Harry.
While at Southeast, Holmes served as a student government representative before being elected as the senior class president. He is an Eagle Scout, serves on the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council and is a member of the National Honor Society and Students Against Destructive Decisions. He is also a state champion bowler and has been a volunteer at the YMCA, Robert J. Dole Va Medical Center and the Ronald McDonald House.
Kraus is a three-year varsity captain of the Scholars Bowl team at Salina South. He also is a member of the National Honor Society and Model UN, plays trumpet in his school’s jazz band and is on Junior Leadership Salina. He is a co-founder and co-chairman of the Youth Ministry Team and served as a drum major in the school’s marching band for three years.
“Anytime anyone worries about the future of the country, you have seen today the future,” WSU president John Bardo said after the winners were announced.
To be invited to compete for the scholarship, students had to have an ACT score of 24 or higher and a minimum 3.50 cumulative GPA. Once invited, students completed a packet of information, including essays and letters of recommendation, and competed in an on-campus leadership competition.
Other finalists this year included: Aisha Duggins, Wichita Northeast Magnet High School; Brissa Gallegos, Wichita North; Mary Henning, Wichita Northwest; Jennifer Mattar, Wichita Collegiate; Bridget McSorley, Kansas City, Kan., Bishop Miege; Meenakshi Natesan, Wichita Southeast; Jenny Nguyen, Kapaun Mount Carmel; Madison Ripperger, Wichita Trinity Academy; Amy Vuong, Wichita Southeast; and Jackson Wilborn, Wichita Northeast.