Scholarship and success: Tanner Deist to receive Living with Loss award

We announced the creation of our Living with Loss scholarship in February of this year, and we are pleased to present Tanner Deist of Wild Rose, Wis. with the $1,500 award.

We considered several key elements when selecting our recipient: academic record, letters of recommendation, and an essay on how living with a personal loss has affected the student’s plans. And while we were fortunate —rather, we were honored— to receive applications from numerous talented scholars with endorsements from mentors and stories of persevering through loss, everything about Tanner Deist’s profile served to identify him as the exact candidate we had in mind when planning this scholarship.

“Tanner is an active member of the Wild Rose High School community. He is a hardworking, intelligent, and highly motivated student leader,” said football coach and social studies teacher Steve Yeska. “Tanner’s motivation and drive in the classroom show on his transcripts.”

And indeed, Tanner’s academic and extracurricular records truly speak for themselves: he’s maintained a 3.94 GPA while lettering in three sports and maintaining a part-time job. All of these things established him as viable candidate for the award, but it was the nature of his personal essay that resulted in his selection.

Tanner lost his mother in a car crash at an early age. His mother didn’t see him walk at graduation. She never saw his first steps. The burden of raising him fell to his father, to whom Tanner knows he owes a great debt, recounting how his father never missed one of his (many) games despite having to work extra hours as a single parent.

“Somehow he still found time for me,” Tanner said. “I know that raising me all by himself was not easy.” And indeed it wasn’t easy for Tanner either, who finds himself unable to completely afford college in spite of saving income earned from summer and odd jobs.

Tanner will attend the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire this fall where he plans to major in Kinesiology, preparing him for a degree in physical therapy. Recounting how his physical therapist was able to help him mend from a severe football injury, saying that he wants to “be able to help them focus on their recovery.” It is our pleasure to assist a student whose perseverance through tragedy, trauma, and financial difficulty can serve as inspiration for us all.

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