The Les & Barb Licklider Scholarship

A wise man once told Don Draper to “Do your givin’ while you’re livin’ so you’re knowin’ where it is goin.’”  Don passed that wisdom on to me.  I have been blessed, and get great joy from giving back.  I thought long and hard about how to honor my husband Les, whom very few of you knew.  Les was a lifetime educator, outdoorsman, and a man of faith.  He never met a stranger, and he had the blessed ability to make every one with whom he interacted feel like the most important person in the world.  In fact, even on his deathbed, when hearing from one of his former students, he would always tell a story about him/her and say, “You know, Hon, I think he/she was one of my very favorites.”  You would have liked him, and there is no doubt in my mind each of you would have been one of his very favorites.

I am funding an on-going scholarship for students pursuing any type of post-secondary education who are/were active members of Gilbert Lutheran Church when they graduated from high school.  The eligibility for the scholarship will support the values Les and I hold dear.  Therefore, it will be non-competitive.  Everyone who meets the criteria will receive a scholarship of $750. Recipients are then able to apply for a renewal the next year, also for $750.

Apprenticeships, community college, and four-year undergraduate post-secondary pursuits are equally important.  We value hard work and commitment.  Therefore, recipients will be eligible after evidence of successful completion of the first term of post-secondary education.  We value supporting oneself.  Therefore, recipients must show evidence of holding a part-time job, either during the summer or the school year, to help support their own education.  In addition, applicants will be asked to submit a thoughtful, reflective essay about their education.

Applicants should send the following to Jeri Saltzman at Gilbert Lutheran Church:

  1. Cover letter with contact information so we know where to send the check.
  2. Evidence of successful completion of at least one term of post-secondary work.
  3. Evidence of working a part-time or summer job to support one’s own education.
  4. Description of involvement with Gilbert Lutheran Church as a high school student.
  5. An essay responding to the question “What advice would you now give to a high school senior and why?”
  6. A statement about whether we would have permission to use any part of your essay, with or without your name, in a future GLC bulletin or newsletter.  (Denying permission is not a disqualifier.)
  7. A statement giving us permission to honor you by letting the congregation know you received the scholarship.

The scholarship is available for any current student who was active in GLC in high school regardless of where he/she is in the process of completing post-secondary education.  For those beyond one semester, the criteria and application process are the same as above, except current post-secondary undergraduate students should write the essay in response to this question: “What have you learned in your post-secondary education that will give you a firm foundation to make a living, make a life and make a difference?”  (This was always what I tried to get my students to internalize as their obligation for having the privilege of becoming a highly-educated American.)

Over the past six years, we have been blessed to award many scholarships and renewal scholarships to GLC college students. All first-time recipients are eligible for a one-time renewal.  This renewal is for anyone still in their program as well as those in their first year of working as a professional.  The essay for these applicants is:

“The world faces many serious challenges that must be addressed by our new young professionals if the earth and civilization are to survive.  Among these challenges are climate change, migration, poverty, hunger, water shortages, health care, and civility to name only a few.  Choose a challenge about which you are passionate.  Tell us what you chose, why you chose it, and, most importantly, what you will do during your life to address it in your small corner of the world.”

For those who have received one renewal and would like to apply for a final renewal, please answer the following questions: “What values do you hold that will provide a firm foundation for the rest of your life?  Where did they come from, and how will you use them?”

A recent recipient of the Les and Barb Licklider Gilbert Lutheran Church Scholarship is Inga Rotto, a sophomore math and economics major at the University of Northern Iowa where she is also a scholarship volleyball player. Inga was very involved in GLC. She was active in Youth Group and assisted with worship, serving as an usher, greeter and reader.

I would like to share Inga’s essay in response to the prompt: “What advice would you give to a high school senior?”

Though I feel completely unqualified to give advice to anyone, I can share that the best advice I received during my senior year, and something that I have tried to keep in mind since then, was actually my senior quote. “If you have integrity, nothing else matters.  If you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters.” (Alan K. Simpson).  As a current math major, I find it interesting that the word integrity comes from the same root word as integer, meaning whole and complete and not fractionated.

Being honest, my memories of high school now seem like those of childhood – vague yet emotional and slightly nostalgic.  It was four years of tedious normalcy punctuated by moments of extremes.  As I look back now, I don’t precisely recall the specifics such as the tests I studied for, the outfits I wore, the plays we ran on the volleyball court, or the random disagreements, celebrations, and small talk I experienced with my friends, peers, and classmates.  I do remember how I treated others and how others made me feel.  I remember the times when I knew I made the wrong choice – and how good it felt to make the right choice.  Honesty is a large part of integrity, and in my opinion, it’s honesty with yourself that is most important.  Sincerely identify what standards and morals are necessary in your life and confirm that they are of value to you and your relationships.  Then hold up decisions and choices against these standards to confirm that you are trying to live in an authentic and consistent fashion.  In this way, I find that integrity also wraps up every other piece of somewhat sentimental advice I could’ve written about: be yourself, live in the moment, relax, try new things, enjoy it all.  Integrity says to do what you think is right for you and those around you even when it is difficult or you have to make a sacrifice of time or effort.  High school is a time of significant growth when many people begin to figure out the person they want to be, how they want to treat others, and how they want to live their life.  So my advice for a high school senior is to practice having integrity – strive to do the right thing and learn from when you do the wrong thing.  It will set you apart and reward you in a way that nothing else can.

There is no doubt that Inga is going to continue to make a positive impact on our world. Her essay is a great example of the thoughtful young people that GLC is sending out into the world.  All of us at GLC are very proud of Inga.

I want this process to be a learning process.  Thus, applicants are encouraged to call me at 515-432-6405 to discuss preparing a professional application packet and to talk about the appropriate essay.

So Moms and Dads, if you have a son or daughter currently in post-secondary work or within one year of completing the work, let him/her know of this opportunity.  I look forward to hearing from them.

To the GLC family, thank you for all you have given me, and thank you for this opportunity to do some “givin.’”

Barb Licklider