The Rotary Club of Westerville awarded Service Above Self Scholarships totaling $20,000 to four local students to continue their educations in college. The awards recognize the outstanding students for their active involvement in both school and in service to the community.
- Westerville North High School senior Bonnie Wu received the top award, a $10,000 scholarship.
Club Scholarship Committee Chairwoman Lisa Janszen said Wu was awarded the largest scholarship allotment because of her work as president of WNHS’ Interact club. She noted how Wu helped grow the club’s membership and lead meaningful events at school even during the COVID pandemic.
“That is incredible and demonstrates her high level of commitment to what she does for her community,” Janszen said. “Bonnie used (the COVID pandemic) as a time to be creative and even more committed to the world around her.”
In addition to her work with the Interact Club, Wu is a member of North’s In the Know team, Astronomy Club, National Honor Society, Environmental Club and YPCO (youth orchestra). She also volunteers for the Westerville Public Library. Among her honors and recognitions: AP Scholar with Distinction, OMEA solo and ensemble I for solo in class A, honor roll, academic letter, varsity letter in Diving and scholar athlete.
Wu said she is thankful to the Rotary Club as well as her parents for always pushing her to excel in school. “I wasn’t expecting to receive this and I know it will definitely help continue my education,” said Wu, who is planning to study biochemistry on a pre-Pharmacy track at Ohio State University.
- Francis DeSales senior Iris D’Costa was awarded a $5,000 scholarship.
D’Costa, an October 2021 Rotary Student of the Month, also has been involved in multiple school groups including Ski Club, Spanish Club, National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, the Evangelization Team, the World Cultures Club, the DeSales Asian and Pacific Islander Student Association and Math Club.
She volunteers at various organizations outside of school including Parents of Murdered Children (PMC), WARM (Westerville Area Resource Ministry), The Huckleberry House and Serving our Seniors (SOS). She received an AP Scholar Award, the Dick Stevens Excellence Award for Marketing and the Jim Schmall Memorial Scholarship.
D’Costa told the club she plans to study premed at Ohio State, then hope to then attend medical school at OSU and become a surgeon.
- Westerville South High School senior Elise Bennett received a Service Above Self Scholarship for $2,500.
Also a Rotary Club of Westerville Student of the Month for March, Bennett at South serves as a captain of the Cross Country team, a captain for Track and Field team, vice president of the Key Club and secretary of the National Honor Society. She is a scholar athlete and received four varsity letters for Cross Country and three for Track and Field. She plans to study business at Ohio University.
Bennett said she is thankful to be a Service Above Self Scholarship recipient.
“To win this scholarship, students must embody the values of the Rotary Club and I am honored that the club’s members saw those qualities in me through what I have done in the Westerville community and at Westerville South,” she said.
- DeSales senior Ryan Gustafson also was awarded a $2,500 Service Above Self Scholarship.
A November 2021 Rotary Student of the Month, Gustafson is a member of Student Council, National Honor Society and Spanish National Honor Society. He serves as a student ambassador and plays soccer and baseball. Among the honors he has received: Scholar Athlete of the Week, Buckeye Boys State graduate, AP Scholar Award, honor roll for three years and a 2021 2nd Team All-League in baseball.
Outside of school, Gustafson’s service work includes volunteering for St. James the Less Food Pantry, kids’ camps, Charity Newsies and Columbus Parks clean up. He has helped collect Christmas gifts for children in need, organized canned food drives and served as a volunteer scorekeeper for middle school volleyball and basketball games. He is interested in attending The Ohio State University, University of Dayton, Miami University or the University of Notre Dame to study finance.
About the Rotary Scholarship
The Rotary Club of Westerville has awarded more than $500,000 in college scholarships to Westerville high school graduates over the past five-plus decades. The program has grown to a community tradition since the first $500 scholarship for a single student to attend nursing school at Otterbein College was awarded in 1964.
In recent years, the club has awarded three smaller, four-year college scholarships. In 2020, the program went to a larger, single-year award, making it one of the largest local scholarships available to students graduating from Westerville Central, Westerville North, Westerville South, or DeSales high schools.
A single $10,000 scholarship was awarded in 2020, and a single $5,000 scholarship was awarded in 2021.
CAPTION: The Rotary Club of Westerville’s 2022 Service Above Scholarship winners include, from left, Bonnie Wu of Westerville North, Iris D’Costa of DeSales, Elise Bennett of Westerville South and Ryan Gustafson of DeSales.
Founded in 1959, the Rotary Club of Westerville is a service club of business professionals and leaders working to improve our community and larger world. We are part of Rotary International. Find out more at WestervilleRotary.com. Contact the Club and learn how to join at www.westervillerotary.com/contact-form.