HTH: WFISD Foundation asks for public support for student scholarships

Helping the Helpers

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Out of tragedy sometimes springs the best in human nature, and no better example can be found than when a parent loses a child but finds a way to keep their memory alive through helping others.

“It’s very humbling for me, but it has also given me my own personal therapy,” Amanda Bolding, creator of the Kaleb Honea Scholarship, said.

Living on for her son is how Amanda Bolding is keeping his legacy alive.

It’s been more than a year since Rider football player Kaleb Honea passed away from injuries suffered in a car accident. He was just 16 years old.

In her grief, Bolding found the strength to move on by creating a memorial scholarship with the WFISD Foundation in her son’s honor.

“It helps me to be able to look at it like maybe, because Kaleb is not here and able to go to school, that doing something as impactful as making a donation and me being able to reward that to someone who is going to further their education, it’s been overwhelming,” Bolding said.

Every student that applied for the first Kaleb Honea Memorial Scholarship walked away with money to help them go to college in a gesture that Bolding said should motivate others in the community.

“Because they’re investing in their community in a way of if you don’t have kids and you donate to a scholarship, that’s going to help someone later on who could be your doctor, could be your lawyer, could be your state representative or could be the person who changes your life,” Bolding said.

Being a driving force in the lives of students is what the WFISD Foundation is all about, but when the coronavirus pandemic upended the lives of students, the foundation had to step up to the unprecedented challenge of finding ways to raise funds in the midst of a donation downturn.

“We have some scholarships that are strictly where those funds are raised by golf tournaments and different fundraising events that they have, so those scholarships were either completely pulled back to the bare minimum of what they could give, or they weren’t given at all,” Community Partnerships Coordinator for the WFISD Foundation January Cadotte said.

The WFISD Foundation used the element of surprise last year for the scholarships that were available by going door-to-door, and the ripple effect is still having an impact.

“We have been very limited about the fundraising we do, like I said,” Cadotte said. “Our first one is going to be in March, so it’s been very challenging for us to continue to give our own scholarships, but also we give out grants to teachers.”

That’s something the school district has done for nearly 40 years — rewarding its teachers with idea grants so they can buy equipment normally outside of a teacher’s budget.

Due to funding shortfalls, the foundation will be giving out $5,000 less in grants to teachers this year, but there’s a way you can help that goes beyond just donating.

“Just spreading the word,” Cadotte said. “People love to help students and they love to help teachers, but it’s just about getting the word out there and knowing where they can support.”

Cadotte and Bolding believe championing for students can lead to a brighter future for young minds in Wichita Falls.

The WFISD Foundation is finding new ways to help students go to college through an alumni program.

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