Thank you Superior Scholarship Foundation

The following is another "Have Fun or Get Out of the Way" column by Don Leighton and Mike Granlund and their alter egos, Lance Boyle and Billy Pirkola, which runs occasionally in The Superior Telegram.

The following is another "Have Fun or Get Out of the Way" column by Don Leighton and Mike Granlund and their alter egos, Lance Boyle and Billy Pirkola, which runs occasionally in The Superior Telegram.

Beginning in 1993 with modest goals and finances, the Superior Scholarship Foundation has blossomed into something that is the cornerstone of an educational philosophy at Superior High School.

SHS feels its job is not completed with commencement but continues with the secondary education opportunities of its graduates. In 2009, the School District of Superior Scholarship Foundation awarded $409,140 to deserving graduates of SHS who were looking to continue their education at either a two-year, four-year, or technical school.

The foundation would not exist were it not for the generosity of former SHS students, others who did not even attend high school in Superior and those who wish to remain anonymous.

Until 1992, donations and scholarship monies were collected by SHS and the awards were distributed by the school. In 1993, Superintendent of Schools Ben Kanninen and school-district attorney Ken Knudson organized the foundation as it exists today. The foundation has given millions to graduates of SHS. Many of the students receiving scholarships would not have been able to take advantage of higher education opportunities to pursue their dreams of a better life.


This past year, 117 scholarships were presented to 102 recipients. All of the scholarships have criteria established by the donor, and those applying must meet the criteria. While the scholarship committees analyze the hundreds of applications, the names of the students are withheld to make sure the awards are based on the criteria set forth, and personal bias cannot enter into any decision.

The foundation currently has $6.2 million, managed by an independent bank. Checks and balances are in place throughout to ensure the fairest distribution of the scholarships and the greatest return on the principal involved. The scholarships are paid by the interest accrued annually and, barring more damage in the economy, will continue in perpetuity.

Other than the scholarships awarded, the foundation also provides funding for special events and needs of the high school and various student activities. While the scholarship program is the primary service, the entire picture involves more involvement and consideration.

Since our economy is suffering and cutbacks throughout our schools are taking place, there are other needs to address. During the summer of 2008, 2009 graduate Lucas Geissler took a trip to Argentina to study the differences between the Argentinean university and the United States university systems.

He documented many of his findings through pictures taken with a camera that the foundation had purchased for the school's use. Geissler was thankful to the foundation for its help.

In a letter written to the foundation, he said, "I would like to extend my thanks to the scholarship foundation for the donation of the camera. It will now be available for other students to use, and I hope that they can find as much value in it as I did."

Nancy Pedersen has been involved with the foundation for more than 12 years, 10 as a board member and the past two and a half as executive director. Pedersen spoke of the need to help in other ways than just the scholarships.

"Superior is not a wealthy community," Pedersen said. "If we are able to send a student or group to leadership conferences or other events around the country to show them what possibilities exist, we will help those who need the assistance. One of the foundation's goals is to make the world smaller by showing students what is out there and to help them realize their full potential. We want kids to be excited by learning and hunger to know more. We want them to be the most successful adults possible."


Prior to Friday's homecoming football game against Menomonie, the foundation is sponsoring a tailgate party from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Ole Haugsrud. Paul Zollver and his DECA organization will be serving as co-hosts.

A post-game celebration will be held at Ace's with Mark Carlson donating part of the evening's profits to the organization. Everyone is invited to Ace's to have fun and to have your questions answered about how you can help the students of SHS.

To learn more about the School District of Superior Foundation, visit or write to Superior Scholarship Foundation, 3025 Tower Ave., Superior, Wis. 54880.

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