Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Virtual Pew Wrestling Essay Scholarships

Please Note, this year, 2008, we are trying to raise $500 for the Essay Scholarship, and additional funds for a camp as mentioned below. Also note, this year the contest requires a 300 Word Essay that meets all of the following rules.

I am pleased to announce the first annual The Virtual Pew Wrestling Scholarship Essay Winners. The Virtual Pew is a ministry that seeks to serve The Lost, The Last, and The Least. We are also actively involved in the wrestling community by providing Church on the Mat Worship Services for various tournaments. One of the presentations we provide is Wrestling With God, a presentation that has been published internationally and used on various web sites around the world. To learn more about The Virtual Pew, visit our web site at http://www.thevirtualpew.com/.

The Virtual Pew Wrestling Scholarship Essay was based on the following rules: The scholarships will be determined by an independent group of judges. Qualified candidates will be a resident of Kansas, and be of any ages who are wrestling in summer events. Candidates will write a maximum 300 word essay that describes their need and the impact and benefit of wrestling on their life. Contestants will release the use of the essays for The Virtual Pew to possibly use all or part on various blogs, articles, and on various wrestling forums. Essays can be mailed, to The Virtual Pew, P.O. Box 17731 Wichita Kansas 67217, or emailed to mike@thevirtualpew.com with wrestling scholarship essay in the subject line. Scholarships will be awarded as follows. 1s place $150, 2nd place $100, 3rd place $50. Anyone desiring more information can contact Mike Furches at mike@thevirtualpew.com or phone contact at 316-258-3952 or 620-545-7029. The deadline for receipt of the scholarship application essays is June 1, with prizes being awarded June 5. (note if amount received is more than $300 we will break down the financial awards accordingly. 100% of all money received will go to the wrestling essay scholarship winners plus the possible camp this year. Also note the following was added for this year.

This Year The Virtual Pew will once again be having a essay contest to help wrestlers who summer wrestle. A link to last years essay contest follows: http://thevirtualpew.blogspot.com/2007/06/virtual-pew-wrestling-essay.html

The hope this year is to offer $500 in scholarships, plus hopefully have several coaches and wrestlers to assist with a mini camp for wrestlers based on financial ability. If enough support, and to help defray costs, we will offer this camp on a sliding scale. We will still need some to help with some costs associated.

If we don’t raise the $500, then we will guarantee awards in the amount of $300 or up to $500 which ever is on hand for this award.

Please note, wrestlers applying for the essay scholarship, will need to write a 300 Word Essay (last year was only 250 words), note, as we did last year, anything over 300 words will be penalized in the judging. Also, see the link provided above for other detailed rules. Rules will be the same with the exception of if money coming in is more than $300.

This scholarship is offered by The Virtual Pew in memory of Tyler Graebner and is intended to help promote Kansas Summer Wrestling for low income or needy youth involved in wrestling. To learn more about Tyler you can click on one of the following links:




Individuals or organizations willing to help with scholarship funds or camp funds can contact me at mike@thevirtualpew.com or make contributions to:

The Virtual Pew

Mail to:

The Virtual Pew
P.O. Box 17731
Wichita KS 67217

You can also call to (316) 545-7029 or (316) 258-3952

Remember 100% of funds coming in designated for this goes directly to the wrestling scholarships and wrestling camp.

Wrestlers and Coaches willing to volunteer with the camp, please contact me as well.

The Virtual Pew Wrestling Scholarships, and ministry and support of individuals in the wrestling community is something we plan on doing on a regular basis, any individual that would like to designate gifts to The Virtual Pew for these purposes may do so at the above addresses. Annual scholarships and ministry opportunities will go out to various individuals based on funds through the year that have been donated and designated for these specific purposes. Our hope and desire for the moment is to provide additional opportunities for Kansas Wrestlers. The Essay Scholarship program is done in memory of Tyler Graebner, a 8-year-old from Hutchinson Kansas who lost his life to cancer. Tyler through his love and dedication to wrestling inspired thousands across America as he battled and ultimately lost his challenge with cancer. In memory of Tyler the scholarship will be an annual award to remember the benefits and hopes that can come through the sport of wrestling. Anyone interested in contributing to this award or for other wrestling related ministry may make contact at the above addresses or give online by clicking on any of the photographs or the giving link below. If giving on line, please indicate in the text message what the gift is for and designated for.

The Virtual Pew in this award sought out the assistance of various individuals in the wrestling community coming from various walks of life. From Internationally Recognized Gold Medal Winners, NCAA All-Americans, Professional Business Persons, Professional Publications, Public Speakers, International Ministry Directors and Wrestling Enthusiasts across the country. No person from Kansas, no one directly associated with The Virtual Pew, was involved with the judging. All essays were presented to the Judges with all names removed from the essay. Essays were judged by the directive, a maximum of 250 words, and the essay inclusion of their need and the impact and benefit of wrestling on their life. Age was not a restriction, and unless age was mentioned in the essay, the judges were not aware of the age of the contributor. Penalties were assessed by the judges based on the essays ability to follow the rules and guidelines.

The essay contestants involved a 1st – 3rd place cash award to be applied toward summer wrestling expenses. There was a tie for 3rd so the $50 award for that prize will be split among the two which tied. The following are the winners of the essay awards from 3rd place through 1st. Congrats to all winners and thanks to those who contributed essays to this competition, and a special thanks to those who contributed the financial funds to fund these scholarships.

Third Place Winners,

James Fox - $25, Hunter Roberts - $25.

Wrestling, College, and Me
James Fox

Wrestling has had a major impact in my life. I believe I am a better person and in a better position in life because of wrestling. I have wrestled one year in college and plan to continue wrestling in college for at least the next three years.

I started wrestling in the second grade for the YMCA. Since then I have wrestled for Douglass kid’s club, Central Kansas, The Kansas Wizzers and Douglass High School. I was headed down the wrong path in life during high school. Wrestling is what got me out of that rut and I will always love wrestling and be grateful for what it has done for me.

I followed my passion for wrestling into college at Pratt Community College. I was on the NJCAA All-Academic team having a accumulative GPA of 3.11. I was also a NJCAA national qualifier and once ranked 6th overall in JUCO at 133.

My love for wrestling is still strong. Unlike many guys who have been giving their heart to wrestling for ten years, I have only been giving mine for only two. I m still very hungry and so far from being burnt out that I think it gives me an advantage. I am continuing my college education and love for wrestling at Newman University. At Newman I plan to keep at least a 3.0 GPA and eventually become a Division II All-American in wrestling. The toughest part of this essay was to write about something I am passionate about in only 250 words.

Thank You,

Hunter Roberts

Hey, my name is Hunter I live in Hiawatha KS. I am 11 years old. I wrestle all styles of wrestling and have placed 1st, 4th, 4th, 5th, and 8th nationally. I have won Kansas Freestyle State 2 times and 2 times in Greco. I got third in freestyle 1 time .I have been wrestling freestyle and Greco for 4 years. I think wrestling will someday get me into a major college I would like to go to either OSU or ISU. Wrestling makes me spend a lot of time with my dad I don’t think I would spend half as much time with my dad if I didn’t wrestle. I also think I am a whole lot healthier than I would be. Wrestling helps me pay attention to what I’m doing because in wrestling you get yelled at for goofing off or spacing out. It has really helped me in the classroom because wrestling gets you disciplined. Wrestling in my opinion is the toughest sport there is and I’m not a wimp because of how tough wrestling has made me. I think wrestling has taught me to eat healthy.

If I would qualify for one of the scholarships I will use the money you give me to go to national tournaments this summer like the Southern Plains and the Kids Freestyle/Greco Nationals in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Thank You,

Second Place Winner
Nathan Furches - $100

I am writing to be considered for one of the summer wrestling scholarships. Wrestling has opened many doors for me in life. It is a great sport which teaches a lot of valuable lessons, such as discipline, courage, respect, honor, and friendship. Wrestlers are disciplined in the areas of maintaining weight, tough practices, and never giving up. Through this discipline I have gained courage to face hardships and opposition. I have learned that respect is very important to make it anywhere in life, from the wrestling mat to getting a job. I honor my sport because of all the things it has taught me. Throughout my wrestling career, it has opened many doors to travel around the country where I have made many good friends, and hopefully someday to make friends all over the world.

My overall dream for wrestling is to some day make the Olympic wrestling team, and hopefully win. Wrestling has opened the door for me to have the honor of getting to go to the Olympic Training Center. My ultimate dream is to wrestle in the Olympics one day. Wrestling has taught me great discipline and helped prepare me for life in general. I’ve learned a great deal of respect for opponents.

It cost approximately $900 to participate in these summer wrestling events. I am unable to work due to practice schedules, camps, and tournaments. My family does not have the money to pay for all the expenses. I would appreciate any scholarship money that I could receive.

Thank You,

First Place Winner
Gage Deere - $150

Hello, I am Gage. I would like to apply for consideration for a Virtual Pew Wrestling Scholarship.

Wrestling has been in my life even before I was born. My dad was a high school wrestling coach and many of my earliest memories are of hanging out on the mat. I looked up to these guys and thought they were the toughest, strongest and coolest boys on the planet.

Many times the team seemed to be a magnet for kids who struggling in many aspects of their lives. Often, I saw my dad stay after practice and work with any of the boys needing some extra work. These weren’t always the stud wrestlers, in fact, quite the opposite. These were the guys who were struggling, sometimes with wrestling, sometimes with personal problems or homework.

I started competing at age 4, I had no idea what I was doing, but I was with the cool guys and having fun. I realized a couple years later that I had not won a single match for two seasons. I did not feel like a “loser” though and looking back now, it was being part of a team, being with my family and truly having fun that was important.

When I was 8, my parents both changed careers to work with at-risk kids in group homes. We have been able to incorporate wrestling in to other kids lives. Sometimes this is supported, but often it is not. My old shoes and singlets are handed down and around and we fund-raise and work tournaments to allow me and any others to do national events or go to camps. I have seen many of my “other-brothers” impacted positively by being associated with wrestling. I would appreciate your consideration.

Thank you!

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The Virtual Pew
P.O. Box 17731
Wichita, KS 67217

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