Around this time, in 2022, Aaron Weinkauf received word that he was awarded the McGrady Family Scholarship. It was one of the most exciting moments in his educational journey, and one he sincerely appreciated. Earlier this month, Weinkauf was not only informed he was awarded the McGrady Family Scholarship for a second consecutive year, but he had also been named the recipient of The Lisa Pecora Scholarship for NPRC Students, The T.O. Fitch Memorial Scholarship, and The Helene K. Nawrocki Memorial Scholarship through the Elk County Community Foundation.
Weinkfauf was awarded the scholarships at the Community Education Center for Elk and Cameron Counties earlier this month and shared, “It means a lot and I’m super grateful. You can’t always count on opportunities like this to happen, but when they do, it’s mind blowing. Just thinking, ‘what did I do to deserve this?’ I appreciate that the community has support for students of all ages.”
The Lisa Pecora Scholarship for NPRC Students and The Helene K. Nawrocki Memorial Scholarships are specific awards given to NPRC students each year. These scholarships showcase the dedication from community members in helping to change lives and brighten futures for people like Weinkauf throughout the region. “It shows to me that people want to have things like education more accessible in this area. The communities are accepting of the school [NPRC] and people are catching on to the opportunities. It’s pretty terrific.”
A native of St. Marys, he began his time at NPRC in January 2022 and expects to finish his Associate of Science in Business Administration degree in the fall 2023 term. Weinkauf has extensive business experience, with years in retail and sales. He has owned Weinkauf’s Electric Guitars for almost 15 years.
With entrepreneurship and service often on his mind, he was a strong candidate for the T.O. Fitch Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to a student who is determined, charitable, and entrepreneurial in the Elk County area. During his life, Weinkauf has been just that. He notes, “For them to recognize me as someone worthwhile for their scholarship is awesome. T.O. (Fitch) was a very popular person in this area. I think he would have wanted people continuing to push in this direction as entrepreneurs to be kind of cared for because he was an entrepreneur himself. It’s really cool that it’s being passed on to people with that same sort of grit.”
Attending NPRC has been a life-changing experience for Weinkauf as the College has allowed him to discover so many potential directions he can go in his business career. With the help of these scholarships, Weinkauf expects that will finance his entire fall 2023 term. His dedication and the work of the Elk County Community Foundation made these scholarships possible.
“The Elk County Community Foundation really goes above and beyond to help with these scholarships. They are organized and ensure everything is in place and on time. It’s an amazing resource to have in this community,” says Weinkauf.
Over the last 18 months, Aaron has been a college student. But before NPRC, he did not think higher education would be possible. With a location within walking distance of his residence at an affordable price point, his future looks as bright as ever. “NPRC has been a great experience for me. They’ve been so willing to work with me to help me accomplish the things that I want to. It’s been a wonderful learning environment and people have been accepting of me and my personality. I think the College has a bright future and has been a great steppingstone for what’s next in my life. Whether that’s more schooling or in a job. There’s been so much that I’ve learned and that’s a great thing.”
With his time at NPRC scheduled to wrap up later this year, Weinkauf is hopeful to see the college grow and encourages people to check out the opportunities. “I’ve met a lot of great people at NPRC from different stages in life. It’s a lot more personable than an online school. I think more people should check out NPRC and take a class to see if it’s a good fit. It’s not just a College for older people or younger people. It’s really a college for everyone,” he said.
For more information about Northern Pennsylvania Regional College or scholarships, contact us or visit your local community foundation’s website.
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