Local scholarship program continues to benefit area students

Posted on Mar 31, 2017 in News

MANISTEE — The opportunity to get a good job increases with each level of education that is completed by a student.

Bill and Marty Paine present a Manistee Commitment Scholarship to a county student back in September as West Shore Community College president Dr. Kenneth Urban looks on.

Local schools are getting ready to nominate the second group of students that could qualify for a free college education in a program that is made possible through the generosity of the Paines.

For some area middle school students the opportunity to gain a college education improved last fall with the Manistee Commitment Scholarship Program. Thirty-three county freshmen students were selected in the spring of 2016 as the first class to take part in it that will hopefully result in them obtaining a free education from West Shore Community College.

Students were nominated by teachers and principals who were looking for lower income and first-time college students during the application process. Manistee Commitment Scholarship scholars will receive a full tuition scholarship for up to three years and/or 60 credits at West Shore Community College.

The program was put together thanks to the generosity of Manistee residents Bill and Marty Paine, who are financially supporting it and through the coordination of Launch Manistee. It is also a joint effort of West Shore Community College, Manistee County Community Foundation (MCCF) and six local school districts: Manistee, Manistee Catholic, Bear Lake, Onekama, CASMAN and Kaleva Norman Dickson.

Launch Manistee program director Mary Ann Behm said they are in the process of recruiting the next class of students.

“We are talking with the counselors and people at the schools about what students might be good for the program,”  Behm said this week.

Last fall at the induction ceremony, for the first class, Bill and Marty Paine explained why the program is important to them.

Marty Paine told those in attendance this is another step in the educational process. She and her husband became interested in it after getting acquainted with the Launch Manistee program.

“The success of the Launch Manistee program excited Bill and me, and we decided it needed a carrot to keep students going and climb even higher on that education ladder,” said Marty.

Her husband Bill echoed those sentiments at the time.

“As a Manistee scholar you will be needed for many things … a teacher, a doctor, nurse or a pilot, a builder, policeman or a tech person,” said Paine. “All these interesting professions are going to be there for you folks who complete this program. There are so many possibilities for you.”

Manistee Commitment Scholarship Program coordinator Beth Wallace has been working with the first class  of students during the 2016-17 school year making sure they maintain their grades and stay focused on their ultimate goal of moving on to get a college education. Students receive continued support, guidance and assistance as well as making visits to the college to become acquainted with the college.

Students and their parents will be required to “buy in” to the program by doing several things, including demonstrating good citizenship, completing high school and maintaining at least a 2.33 grade point average.

Wallace is currently on a leave from her position for two months and Behm has been making sure the program keeps moving forward as they prepare for the next step.

Posted by Ken Grabowski, Manistee News Advocate on March 31st, 2017