When New Richmond senior Ethan Thompson found out he had been selected as one of 200 graduating high school students to receive a $10,000 Herb Kohl Educational Foundation 2019 Initiative Scholarship, he was shocked and felt like he was on cloud nine.
"It's by far one of the highlights of my life thus far. Being that this scholarship only gets to New Richmond once every seven years, I am the only person in my entire family who will accept this scholarship, past and present. Because of this, it meant so unbelievably much. I still can't believe it," Thompson said.
Thompson received the scholarship during a recognition luncheon on March 31 in Chippewa Falls, which was hosted by Wisconsin philanthropist, businessman, and former Sen.Herb Kohl.
"I had a very good experience at the luncheon where Herb Kohl said a few words and just seeing the other people who had accepted the same honor as me was amazing," Thompson said.
The Herb Kohl Initiative Scholarship recognizes students who have demonstrated a high level of motivation, have shown strong promise for achieving success in college and beyond, and have overcome significant personal obstacles or adversity.
"We are proud of Ethan for earning this scholarship. While we have several deserving seniors, Ethan really stood out because he has overcome challenges throughout his life with a positive attitude, hard work, extraordinary effort and strong character," said high school principal Tom Wissink. "He will use this opportunity to continue his education and success, and most importantly, to make a difference for others."
The Herb Kohl Educational Foundation has been recognizing educational excellence since 1990 by annually awarding scholarships to 200 graduating high school students throughout Wisconsin. Since it was established in 1990, the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation has awarded $17.8 million to Wisconsin students, teachers, principals and schools.
"I feel like I was chosen for this scholarship because I have been through so much throughout high school. Ranging from family trouble and situations to school losses and have always tried to keep my head up and just focus on the future," Thompson said.
Thompson plans on majoring in accounting, with a minor in business administration, while attending the University of Wisconsin - River Falls this fall.
"I'm looking toward meeting new people and just getting a great experience and education while trying to figure out life," Thompson said. "To start out from college, I would love to start out as a financial planner on my way to a chief financial officer as my dream job within 10-15 years from now."
During his high school career, Thompson enjoyed his business classes with Mrs. Huber and was involved in a multitude of activities, sports and clubs.
"I was in choir up until my senior year, earning conference honors recognition as well as a leader of the tenor section. I was also in baseball up until my junior season as a pitcher. As far as clubs, I was in student council my junior year and half of my senior year as I started getting busier and had to unenroll from student council due to responsibilities," Thompson said. "Outside of high school, I am pretty active in my church, as I am a lead singer in the youth band at First Lutheran Church in New Richmond. I also have gone on two mission trips. One to Niagara Falls and another to Houston the following summer."
Thompson said he will remember his first high school prom, which was "by far an amazing night with a lot of my friends."
"Being selected for the scholarship was a huge honor and will always be a good memory for me," Thompson said. "The success that I have had I owe completely to my teachers, my family, and my friends who have stuck by me and supported me throughout a few rough times in high school."