YME students are already beginning to reap the enormous benefits of the generous financial donation given to the Granite Falls community by the Bush Foundation. When the Bush donation was first unveiled, it was announced that a $600,000 portion of their total $1.8 million contribution was set aside for use as a scholarship, which was named the Archie Bush Legacy Scholarship. The scholarship has now received it’s first batch of recipients.

Anna McCosh, Chelsey Niemeyer, Kaitlyn Mathiowetz, Rebecca Lieser, and Victoria Ims were each awarded $16,000, which they can use over a four year period for their educational expenses.

YME has partnered with Wallin Education Partners, a college completion program based in the Twin Cities. Wallin will help students along during their college experience, and will offer assistance and counseling for whatever challenge the students may encounter. The scholarship winners will also work with a Wallin Adviser, who will partner with the group throughout their time at school.

To be eligible for the award, students had to come from Yellow Medicine East and had to apply to non-profit four-year college in Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, or Wisconsin. Candidates submitted their applications to a committee composed of various school administrators and local civic leaders. Top candidates were then sent to Wallin, who made the final decision.

The students seemed immensely grateful to receive the scholarship. Several said that the money will help them realize their educational goals, while easing the financial burden and worry for their families.

Students are also looking forward to working with their Scholar Adviser, Samara Gaitan. Gaitan described the support students would receive as “holistic,” adding that she would work with them on issues ranging from financial questions, academic development, extracurricular concerns, and career planning. Gaitan explained that she would serve as an auxiliary support, and expressed her excitement for getting to know the students better.

This is the first year that YME and Wallin are awarding the scholarship. According to Yellow Medicine Integration Collaborative Coordinator and YME Success Coach Robin Henderson, the partners are exploring expanding the scholarship to include 2-year colleges.