Like many high school graduates, Haley Hesselberg found herself struggling to finance a college education. And while she applied for and received several scholarships, she was especially proud to be awarded a 2012 scholarship from the Coulee Region Professional Women.
“Knowing the scholarship came from a group that represents powerful and compassionate women was really special to me,” Hesselberg said. “The money helped me focus on what I was going to school for and not how I was going to pay for it.”
Hesselberg is one of 50 women who have received scholarships totaling $25,000 from the CRPW during the past eight years, funded in large part by the group’s annual fundraiser. This year, the group hopes to hand out seven $1,000 awards with the help of its upcoming Holler for Scholars event, to be held March 24 at Pettibone Resort. The evening will feature trivia, appetizers, music by Pick 6 and raffles, with a $1,000 grand prize.
The event and is sponsored by area businesses including City Auto Sales, Maplewood Dental, La Crosse Loggers and Optical Fashions. Proceeds go entirely toward the scholarships, and Wells Fargo, Maplewood Dental and RSM US have each donated up to $1,000 in scholarship funding.
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“We put all our energy and time in this event,” said CRPW vice president and event co-chair Shelli Kult. “Our focus is helping women feel heard and validated, and hopefully this event helps people get excited about the things we value. It’s wonderful to see (past) scholarship winners come back and join our group.”
Hesselberg, who attended UW-Stout and is now a marketing teacher and DECA adviser at Holmen High School, joined herself last fall, hoping to give back to the organization that helped make her college experience possible.
“CRPW gave so much to me,” Hesselberg shared. “These scholarships are a source of empowerment, given by successful women who want you to be successful too. Historically women have not been given the same opportunities as men, and this is specifically for them to achieve their goals.”
Any local woman entering or enrolled in college, regardless of age, is eligible to apply, and must submit letters of recommendation, an essay, GPA and class rank, with winners selected by a committee of 10 and one chairperson. Recipients will be selected next week and honored during a banquet on April 25.
While the banquet will be all about the students, Kult assures that Holler for Scholars is a celebration for everyone.
“Its a great way to make friends, the food is awesome, hopefully you’ll win some prizes,” Kult enthused, “and it’s a great cause.”