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Officers’ Spouses’ Club awards $15,000 in scholarships

The 2021 Wright-Patterson Officers’ Spouses’ Club scholarship winners are (front row, from left) Kathryn Ritschel, Amea Bretz, Aleah Pitney, Brooke Lanning and Tracie Navarra. (Back row, from left) Christian Greiner, Landen Stricker, Carson Rohan and Kaiden Delsing. Not pictured: Riley Gallegos and Ryan Massie. (Contributed photo)

The 2021 Wright-Patterson Officers’ Spouses’ Club scholarship winners are (front row, from left) Kathryn Ritschel, Amea Bretz, Aleah Pitney, Brooke Lanning and Tracie Navarra. (Back row, from left) Christian Greiner, Landen Stricker, Carson Rohan and Kaiden Delsing. Not pictured: Riley Gallegos and Ryan Massie. (Contributed photo)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio — The Wright-Patterson Officers’ Spouses’ Club awarded nearly a dozen scholarships to military dependents totaling $15,000 during a ceremony May 13 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Lorraine Bonavita, WPOSC scholarship committee chair, said 11 recipients were selected from the 41 applicants who competed for scholarships in three categories: current college students, graduating high school seniors and spouses.

Each recipient will be attending a different university and had a wide range of career goals, she added.

Winners of the 2021 WPOSC scholarships included military children and spouses who either lived within 100 miles of Wright-Patterson AFB or have a sponsor within that radius. Those awarded the scholarship also need to enroll as a full-time student for the upcoming academic year and have a current 3.0 GPA.

Scholarship recipients:

  •  Current college students:
    • Riley Gallegos, $1,000
  • Graduating high school seniors:
    • Amea Bretz, $1,750
    • Kaiden Delsing, $1,000
    • Christian Greiner, $2,250
    • Brooke Lanning, $1,000
    • Ryan Massie, $1,000
    • Aleah Pitney, $1,000
    • Kathryn Ritschel, $2,500
    • Carson Rohan, $1,000
    • Landen Stricker, $1,500
  • Spouses:
    • Tracie Navarra, $1,000

“I really am thankful that they selected me for this,” said Ritschel, who graduated from Oakwood High School on May 25. “All of the people were super sweet and respectful, and they were amazing. I really appreciate everything that went into it.”

Ritschel said she was excited to be selected because it will help with her educational goals at the University of Notre Dame. Her career goal is to eventually become a genetic and rare diseases researcher.

She hopes to help develop more diagnostic testing and therapeutic treatments for people with rare-genetic diseases.

“I was inspired to pursue this goal because my two cousins actually have a rare-genetic disease called Friedreich’s Ataxia,” Ritschel said. “I kind of want to help people like them because there isn’t as much money going toward rare diseases because they aren’t as profitable.”

So, for Ritschel and the other scholarship recipients, the WPOSC scholarships will help bring them closer financially to achieving their educational objectives.

New scholarships are awarded annually by WPOSC. That means Wright-Patterson AFB military family members have an opportunity to apply every year if they meet eligibility criteria.

Although the amount awarded changes, money is set aside each year to assist military dependents with their higher educational goals.

Bonavita said WPOSC scholarships are funded through the club’s thrift shop sales and Mah Jongg book sales. At the end of each fiscal year, money is set aside for scholarships. After the money has been designated, the number of scholarships is decided by the independent scholarship committee after judging and scoring applicants.

“People should apply because the time spent filling out the application may result in an award that can lessen the cost of their education,” Bonavita said.

Ritschel agreed and offered a little advice for future applicants — be vulnerable, even though that can be hard.

“I think that, maybe, the hardest part of the application was the essay,” she said. “It was a little bit open-ended. It was basically about how being a military dependent shaped you.

“You just got to look inward and be true to yourself and honest with yourself when you’re writing.”

For more information about WPOSC scholarships, go to http://wrightpattersonosc.org/scholarships.html or send an email to scholarship@wrightpattersonosc.org.