Mar 10, 2020

Two Great Bend High School seniors named Rudd Scholars; receive 4-year scholarships

Posted Mar 10, 2020 6:39 PM
Rudd Scholars Bayle Sandy and Mayra Ramirez from Great Bend High School.
Rudd Scholars Bayle Sandy and Mayra Ramirez from Great Bend High School.

Mayra Ramirez and Bayle Sandy from Great Bend High School were two of 30 students statewide named as Rudd Scholars in the Class of 2020. The winners were announced Monday, March 9 with a ceremony at Wichita State University.

The press ceremony was attended by family and friends of the award recipients and was live streamed on the internet for those that couldn’t be there.

Bayle Sandy said, “Finally being able to tell family and friends really helped make it a reality. At first I was in denial about it because this scholarship has always been a dream of mine. I remember when one of the first Rudd scholarships was awarded to Aaron Clark at Great Bend. Since then I have been following the Rudd foundation and dreaming about gaining this scholarship.”

Winners each will each receive a four-year scholarship that provides all remaining tuition, fees, books, supplies, and on-campus room and board after all other aid, grants and scholarships are received. By removing financial barriers to a college education, chosen scholars are expected to achieve a high level of excellence on campus in preparing themselves to be leaders in their professions and in their communities after graduation. Rudd scholars may choose to attend either Emporia State University, Fort Hays State University or Wichita State University.

Along with half of the 2020 Rudd Scholarship class, both Ramirez and Sandy have chosen to take their scholarship to Wichita State University.

The Rudd Scholarship is earned through a competitive selection process that requires grades, test scores, essays, letters of recommendation and a personal interview. Only 30 students were chosen from the more than 1,300 students who applied.

The motto of the Rudd Foundation is “helping those with grit and determination to help themselves achieve their long term goals.” The program believes in “the Midwestern values of humility, hard work and integrity that make this state and its people great.” The goal is to keep our high-achieving and determined youth in Kansas in order to build our communities.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the exceptionally high-caliber, well-rounded students that were chosen for this year’s Rudd Scholarship,” said Peter Najera, President of the Rudd Foundation during Monday’s ceremony. “By removing the financial burden of a college education, we expect these go-getters to be actively involved on campus, maintain good grades, and graduate in four years debt free.”

Mayra Ramirez is going to use her scholarship to major in Biomedical Engineering. To her, the Rudd Scholarship “means the opportunity to attend college and be able to focus on my classes, research, and helping others without the concern of not being able to pay for my education. This scholarship opens an opportunity for a future that my parents and I will forever be grateful for.”

Bayle Sandy will begin her studies at Wichita State majoring in Political Science and minoring in Psychology. To Sandy, the Rudd Scholarship means that “I don’t have to worry about the financial burden of college and I can focus on getting an education.”

Both ladies appreciate the networking and support that is built into the Rudd program.

Ramirez noted that she is looking forward to “meeting other Rudd Scholars and making lifelong friends that want a better future and are willing to work hard for it.”

Sandy expressed that it would be like a family. She said, “As a first generation college student, having these scholars to support me through the process means a lot to me. I am already having past Rudd scholars contact me to congratulate me and telling me to feel free to ask for their help. With this support, I will succeed no matter the obstacles in my way.”

The Rudd Foundation is unique in the type of students it supports and how it nurtures and empowers those students on their path to a college degree. The Rudd Scholarship is a not-for-profit Kansas program founded by Mr. Leslie Rudd in 2017. Mr. Rudd, an entrepreneur and philanthropist, created the Rudd Scholarship Program to fund educational opportunities for Pell-eligible Kansans seeking to complete a four-year college education in the state of Kansas. In his letter to the scholars, he wrote, “We pick the smartest, strongest, most driven kids we can find, then we hold them to very high performance standards.”

In addition to living on campus and carrying a full load of classes toward their college degree, Ramirez and Sandy will receive mentoring and success coaching to help them graduate in four years. They will also participate in many developmental activities outside the classroom, network with leaders in their future professions, build strong relationships among themselves and serve to help the next generation of scholars through an active and connected alumni association after graduation.