BIG HORN — Two Big Horn Rams are taking full-ride scholarships beyond athletics.
Big Horn High School seniors Lucas Wollenman and Matthew Wigglesworth have been named as two of the 2013-14 recipients of the STARR Charitable Foundation Scholarship.
The scholarship, offered to students from Wyoming and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, pays for tuition, fees, room, board and books, going as far as “incidental expenses” for eight semesters of schooling at Michigan State University.
Folks have probably heard of the two Big Horn Rams from their accolades in sports. Even more, Wollenman’s brother, Colby, is on the Spartan basketball team.
But the little brother is getting out of Colby’s spotlight in a big way, even while joining him in East Lansing, Mich.
Friends since fourth grade, he and Wigglesworth are just the second and third recipients of the prestigious scholarship out of Sheridan County in the last 13 years.
“Mainly because of the opportunities that it offers,” Wollenman said of why he was interested in Michigan State. ”They excel in undergraduate almost everything. I was looking at it partly because of my brother, but also because of the opportunities it offers to set me up for med school.”
Wollenman said he will pursue a pre-med concentration at Michigan State and from there to go on to medical school with the intent of becoming an orthopedic surgeon.
Wigglesworth plans to enter the school of communication arts and science, specializing in public relations.
“I first found out about it when I was in middle school when Erika Stender received it,” Wigglesworth said. ”I didn’t really know anything about MSU back then, but I heard about this scholarship, that it’s even better than full-ride, that it pays for all your expenses, so I was interested even then in middle school.”
Erika Stender, a 2008 graduate of Sheridan High School, was the last Sheridan County resident to accept the STARR Scholarship.
The scholarship is provided by an anonymous private donor, with selection criteria focusing not only in academic performance but also taking into account involvement in extracurricular activities. Students must also demonstrate leadership, character and ethics.
“It was pretty cool,” Wollenman said. “We actually went together to the interviews. It was pretty cool to have him there all the way, working together on it.”
Only 14 Wyoming students were given an interview. The longtime friends will travel April 14 to meet the other STARR winners and take a campus tour.
Applicants wrote four 250-word essays with prompts including how they handled a moral dilemma, describing a special talent they had and how a specific experience furthered them in leadership, Wigglesworth explained.
“It was awesome to find out that we got it after we worked together the whole way,” Wigglesworth said.
It’s no secret that they’ve set themselves apart as prolific prep athletes — with football and basketball All-conference and All-State honors between them, plus soccer action for Wollenman and track for Wigglesworth in the spring.
“That’s always been a big thing is trying to balance it out,” Wigglesworth said of his experiences in being a student-athlete. ”I’ve known for a while that I didn’t necessarly want to be a scholarship athlete at a smaller school.
“I wanted a ‘D1 education.’ I wanted a big school education,” he said.