Congratulations to Valparaiso graduate Shelby Kucharyski as the 2016 recipient of the Gary Webster Memorial Scholarship.
Shelby, who will be attending Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, this fall, has received a $1,500 scholarship for her freshman year, with a $1,000 scholarship to be awarded prior to her sophomore year if she maintains a 2.0 GPA or better during her first year of college.
Shelby plans to study elementary education and become an elementary teacher.
Shelby had subject classes taught by Mr. Webster’s at Cooks Corners Elementary School, and he had known her for many years as a student, following her through her educational and sports career at VHS as a cross-country runner. Shelby’s mom, Deb, was Gary’s aide when he moved from fourth grade to first grade in 2012.
Shelby made the following comments when she accepted the scholarship award at VHS Awards Night:
“Mr. Webster made a great impact on my decision to go into elementary education. I had the pleasure of having him for my teacher in 4th grade for a couple of subjects every day.
“He definitely was one of my favorite teachers. He truly cared about all his students. Instead of taking his own personal lunch, he would come out for recess with us instead. I remember walking into school every morning and he would greet every single student with a ‘good morning.’ He always seemed to know everybody’s name.
“Mr. Webster loved all the kids. He made learning so much fun. Whether it was a sporting event or a play, Mr. Webster was there to support us. He was always inquiring how our Cross Country Girls team was doing and kept up with the stats in the paper. He was like our number one fan and truly one of a kind.
“When he moved down to teach 1st grade from being a 4th grade teacher, my mom had the privilege of being his aide, so I got the opportunity to decorate his classroom for him. He selected the theme he wanted and with my mom’s help, we got to use our creativity to decorate. After getting to do that, I knew deep down in my heart this is where I want to spend my days. I will be attending Central Michigan University and majoring in elementary education this fall. I am attending a Leadership Safari the week prior to classes starting. When I get to campus, I will then decide what clubs and activities I will be involved in.
“I am forever grateful for the impact Mr. Webster had on my life as a student and I can only hope I can be half the teacher he was. I am so honored to be the recipient of the Gary Webster Scholarship. It means so much to me. He is missed very much.”
Best of luck to Shelby as she continues her education at the next level. Make Mr. Webster proud!