GREENVILLE — Matt Light awarded the top two students from Greenville High School’s class of 2014 with $1,000 scholarships from The Light Foundation on Monday.
Greenville’s valedictorian, Sarah Herzog, and salutatorian, Cole Ward, were chosen from more than 50 applicants across Darke County as the recipients of the foundation’s annual scholarships.
“We’re not looking for one and two, it just happened to be this way,” Light, a Greenville native and founder of The Light Foundation, said. “This year it was pretty evident that we have two really awesome examples of what this scholarship is intended.”
Herzog and Ward have known each other since the second grade and been friends as they progressed through school at Greenville.
“I just think it’s neat that these two have known each other pretty much their entire lives and competed kind of as far as ranking, maybe, and pushed each other, I’m sure, many times,” Light, who played professional football for the New England Patriots, said.
Herzog and Ward were selected as this year’s recipients through a scholarship application that was judged by members of The Light Foundation’s scholarship committee. Part of the application was an essay in which students wrote about difference makers locally, nationally and worldwide.
Both scholarship recipients said the local difference maker was easiest to write about with Herzog choosing her brother and Ward choosing Greenville calculus teacher Robert Batty.
Writing about the national and global figures took more effort, they said.
“That took awhile,” Herzog said. “That took some digging.”
Light met with Herzog and Ward on Monday at The Coffee Pot in downtown Greenville where they discussed high school experiences, summer jobs and future plans.
Herzog, the daughter of Steve and Kathy Herzog, will attend the University of Notre Dame and study chemical engineering. She plans to pursue a career in oncology research, studying cancer.
Ward, the son of Chris and Stacie Ward, will attend Indiana Wesleyan University and study interdisciplinary mathematics with a minor in actuarial science. He plans to work for an insurance company where he will calculate insurance rates using mathematics and statistics.
“Financially I’m not going to the cheapest college ever,” Ward said. “So every bit that I can get really helps. I really appreciate all the money that I can get like from this scholarship.”
Light said $1,000 doesn’t pay for much in colleges today and expressed a desire to increase the amount of the foundation’s scholarships in the future. But both Herzog and Ward said they appreciated any financial help they could get.
“But it’s $1,000 we don’t have to spend,” Herzog said.
“It’s $1,000 more than I had before,” Ward added.
In addition to thanking Light, both scholarship recipients expressed their gratitude to their parents and said they want to ease the financial burden on their families.
“Any money at all helps,” Herzog said. “My parents have been great. I’m taking out as much as I’m allowed to take out on student loans, and then they’re taking care of the rest, and it’s still a lot of money. So scholarships, I’m putting all the scholarships to what they have to pay because the amount I’m taking out is minimal. I can take care of it when I graduate.”