McClain High School/Great Oaks senior MacKenzie Kay is this year’s winner of the Wilfred R. Konneker Cutler Scholarship, a full, four-year scholarship to Ohio University that is enriched with additional opportunities.
The prestigious scholarship at OU is based on the student’s academic standing, leadership potential, physical vigor, personal integrity, and extracurricular achievements, according to the university.
Konneker was a McClain graduate and founder of the Manasseh Cutler Scholar program, and he wanted to reward scholarship among students at his high school alma mater and encourage them to attend Ohio University.
Over her four years of undergraduate study, Kay will join other Cutler scholars who live together, have weekly colloquium, and take part in four enrichment experiences. The enrichment experiences are made up of outdoor leadership, public service, international travel and internships. The scholarship also provides financial support and other learning opportunities.
Kay is the first Oaks student to receive the scholarship, and said she is very excited and still in disbelief.
“Great Oaks opens many doors for students to do extraordinary things, and I am proud to be given this opportunity and honor,” Kay said.
When asked why she applied for the scholarship, Kay expressed her ambition to go away from home and “spread [her] wings.” She also mentioned that her family has never been in the best position financially, and with recent growth in the household, she worried how she was going to afford to continue her education.
“Receiving this scholarship really gave me and my family peace of mind and has allowed me to dream of an even bigger future,” she said. “Being awarded this scholarship means so much to me and my family. It means that at the very least, these next four years are secured for me. It means that my mom doesn’t have to worry about me, and that I don’t have to compromise for my future.”
Kay mentioned how Oaks has given her the opportunity to start her career before graduation.
“Through my lab at Laurel Oaks, I have become an STNA, patient care technician, and will become a medical assistant before graduation,” she said, while adding that she plans to major in nursing throughout her college career.
Kay said she has always known the Konneker Scholarship to be important, but until receiving it, she was unaware of how it affected others around her.
“My friends, family and teachers all have a sense of pride knowing that they all played a small part in who I am today, and the benefactor’s legacy lives on through me,” Kay said.
Konneker passed away on Jan. 7, 2016 at age 93. He was born Feb. 20, 1922, and grew up in Greenfield, graduating from McClain High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Ohio University. Since the Manasseh Cutler Scholar program’s founding in 1995, Konneker has funded scholarships to McClain High School students pursuing higher education at OU.
Tiffany Morris is a journalism student at McClain High School in Greenfield.