Grandmother establishes largest scholarship program in Hamilton history
Marjorie Wrezic says grandchildren inspired her donation
Hamilton High School will be offering 50 scholarships worth $4,000 each, renewable for a second year, beginning in the spring of 2014 thanks to a sizable donation from a local grandmother.
Marjorie Wrezic, grandmother to two Hamilton graduates and one current high school student, told teachers attending a back-to-school breakfast on Aug. 29 that they "touch lives every day."
"I have hopes that this scholarship will give children that don't have the opportunities that others do the chance to succeed," she said.
Kathleen Cooke said that Wrezic's grandchildren, including attendees Ashley and Lauren LaFond, would tell their grandmother what they were studying every day after school.
"They were always bragging about this teacher or that teacher," Wrezic said.
Cooke asked the girl's teachers to stand up and be recognized for inspiring the donation.
"The core of our work will continue to be the powerful relationships our teachers develop with their students," she said.
The scholarship will be available to Hamilton seniors who plan on enrolling in post-secondary education as a full-time student with a demonstrated financial need. Students must have at least a 3.5 grade point average, be a U.S. citizen and demonstrate community service through extracurricular activities, religious activities, work or volunteerism.
Wrezic was born in Arcadia, Wis. in 1927. The youngest of six children, she said it was a hard scrabble life; the family farmhouse had no electricity or running water.
She said that two teachers inspired her in her youth. An Arcadia teacher bought her brother shoes when he was young so that he could continue to attend class.
Later, after the family moved to Milwaukee, she met Sister Mary Constantine, the actual sister of that teacher in Arcadia. Wrezic spoke of the Constantine's generosity and kindness.
"Hopefully this scholarship will help others achieve their goals," Wrezic said. "Keep the faith and have faith in yourself."
Wrezic took a moment during her speech to remember her husband Ralph, a self-made businessman who made the scholarship possible through his hard work and determination.
Hamilton Education Foundation (HEF) Chairman George Semrad said the scholarship program started with Wrezic's donation will complement the foundation's more than 20 years of fundraising efforts.
"We will be good stewards of this, and I know it will really help students' lives here," he said.
The HEF will be hosting the Charger Challenge fundraiser on Sept. 15 at Lisbon Park and a dinner and auction on March 22.
Over 40 teachers were recognized at the back-to-school breakfast for serving 15 years or more in the school district.
Woodside Elementary teacher Mary Weigel-Smith was recognized for having served the district for 35 years. Hamilton High School teacher P.K. Mamerow was recognized for 30 years of service.
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