Since its start in 2017, the WoodmenLife Focus Forward Scholarship® program has recognized nearly 4,000 young members1 across the United States and awarded more than $2 million in scholarships2. This year, WoodmenLife awarded 497 scholarships, ranging from $500 to $25,000. The total awards, determined by a qualified third-party provider, amounted to $307,000.
WoodmenLife has played an important role in Grace F.’s life. She and her family members have been a part of the WoodmenLife family for 12 years, nearly three-quarters of the 17-year-old’s life.
So, when her sister, Sarah, recommended that Grace apply for the WoodmenLife Focus Forward Scholarship, it seemed like a natural fit. “I’m so happy she did,” she said.
Grace, who lives in Carmichael, CA, is the recipient of the $25,000 scholarship for 2021.
“I was excited to apply and am such a proud WoodmenLife member,” she said. The Del Campo High School senior was “overjoyed” when she found out she had received the top scholarship amount.
“The president of WoodmenLife himself called me,” Grace said. “It was truly a memorable moment. When he called, I was actually out the door on my way to a water polo practice. He had texted me beforehand to make sure I had time to talk, and I told him I had about 10 minutes before practice started. When he called, promising to make it short, I thought he was going to tell me there had been a problem with my application. Instead, he told me he was about to make my day a whole lot better. And he definitely didn’t come up short on that promise after he told me I had won $25,000.”
The scholarship is important for Grace’s college education and future, she said.
“My education is a huge part of my identity, and going off to college has been my main focus for a long time,” Grace said. “The extra money means that I can tackle all my dreams head-on, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to do so.”
Hard work and dedication run deep in this recipient’s family, and her parents have been supportive and encouraging. Her mother is an elementary school teacher and has always placed an emphasis on the importance of a good education. Grace’s sister also has had a big impact on her life, and she was a scholarship winner, too.
“My sister is the smartest and most incredible student I know,” Grace said. “Sarah is currently a junior at UCLA and is the president of her sorority, Chi-Omega. She just landed an internship with Amazon, and we are all so proud. Sarah has set the standard for me on what being a good student and good person look like. She, too, enjoys community work and giving back to others whenever she can.”
Grace is very involved in her school and participates in extracurricular activities. She is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the nonprofit Kids Helping Kids Sacramento organization, an editor for her high school yearbook and the varsity water polo captain. She also has been involved in student government and served as a play director and choreographer for elementary school musicals.
“I’m really dedicated to making my community a better place,” Grace said. “I love trying new things and being involved in various clubs.”
Grace, a member of WoodmenLife Chapter 339 in Sacramento, plans to attend the University of California, Santa Barbara or the University of California, Los Angeles in the fall of 2021.
“Thank you for this opportunity,” she said. “My family is so grateful for all of the support.”
Gracie C. was selected as the recipient of the $20,000 scholarship.
“I am honored to receive this scholarship,” Gracie said. “It is just another example of how WoodmenLife continues to give back to the community.”
The Paducah, KY, student is a senior at McCracken County High School and plans to attend Murray State University in the fall of 2021 to major in pre-veterinary medicine.
“My love for animals and hopes of being a veterinarian have always been a huge part of my life,” Gracie said. “Last year, I finally reached the age where I could volunteer at my local humane society. This experience was emotionally difficult, but it had a huge impact on me.”
She spent time at the humane society walking, training and playing with the animals. As a volunteer, Gracie noticed there was a need for more people to donate their time at the organization and realized how important it is to volunteer.
“Witnessing the impact that I was able to have on all the animals motivated me to volunteer at this organization whenever I possibly can,” she said.
Courtney L., 17, hopes to return to the school district she attended as a student to teach advanced placement high school history classes and coach women’s varsity golf and basketball.
Courtney, of Waxhaw, NC, is a senior at Parkwood High School, Union County Public Schools, and the recipient of the $10,000 scholarship for 2021. She plans to attend the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in the fall of 2021 to major in history and minor in secondary education.
“I’ve always had a passion for public speaking and have always manifested a love for history. I want to give back to the community and make a difference in society,” she said. “My long-term goals consist of going back to get a master’s degree in education administration — after getting some classroom experience under my belt — and becoming a school administrator.”
Courtney, a member of WoodmenLife Chapter 310 in Waxhaw, is the student body president at her school, secretary of the National Honor Society and captain of the women’s varsity basketball and golf teams.
She was a candidate for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Student of the Year in the greater Charlotte area. As a candidate for this philanthropic leadership development program, Courtney was responsible for running a campaign to raise funds for the organization. She raised $47,000. “It was such a great experience, and not many 17-year-olds can say they have raised that much money,” Courtney said.
The scholarship “means the absolute world” to Courtney.
“After Patrick Dees called to tell me I had won, I could not stop smiling,” Courtney said. “I can’t thank WoodmenLife enough for helping me further my education. My goal is to impact my community just as WoodmenLife has impacted our nation.”
Katie C. SC
Jacie J. SC
Goeun L. CA
Jesse L. OH
Sydney L. KY
Kendall M. VA
Wyatt P. AL
Sofia S. KY
Emilie W. AR
Madi W. VA
We’ve been helping to protect the financial future of families like yours, making a difference in hometowns across America and honoring our country since 1890. As a not-for-profit life insurance company, we put money back into the community. We’re here when you need us most.
We’ve been helping to protect the financial future of families like yours, making a difference in hometowns across America and honoring our country since 1890. As a not-for-profit life insurance company, we put money back into the community. We’re here when you need us most.Learn More About WoodmenLife