La Crosse Boys & Girls Club members earn scholarships to Viterbo University

Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 5:08 PM CDT
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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) - A pair of high school students are having their college careers secured thanks to the La Crosse Boys & Girls Club.

Joe Brenner and Madysen Ryan are the 2022 recipients of the club’s pathway scholarships, which offer four years of free tuition to Viterbo University.

Both Brenner and Ryan are very active with the organization, starting out as members before volunteering and working with other children.

The two say their experience with the Boys & Girls Club (BGC) has had a significant impact on their lives.

“BGC is family to me,” Brenner said. “I’ve been here since I was in 2nd grade, and a bunch of staff has affected me in a really positive way.”

“I was originally a very anxious person, and I made so many connections with not just kids my age, but adults who were there because they cared,” Ryan expressed.

Sticking with the club has now earned the students an opportunity to fulfill their goals through a college education.

“I’m pursuing an engineering degree, but I’m also looking forward to exploring some other classes and seeing what I like,” Brenner explained.

“I want to pursue theatre and music education, and Viterbo is known for that kind of thing,” Ryan added.

Viterbo President Rick Trietley says the university is working to expand its partnership with the Boys & Girls Club through different initiatives.

“We created and made available a number of academic services, support services that would help the students,” Trietley detailed. “We also have a summer bridge program, which allows Boys & Girls Club students, juniors and senior, to actually take college courses during the summer at Viterbo.”

Ryan calls the scholarship a dream come true, and encourages future club members to take advantage of the same opportunity she’s receiving.

“It’s definitely something that’s achievable and attainable, you just have to put your mind to it, even when it’s hard,” Ryan said.

The first pathway scholarship was awarded in 2019.

Trietley says to date, more than $300,000 has been raised in support of the program.

Scholarship recipients are required to work or volunteer at a Boys & Girls Club branch for at least 150 hours per year while at Viterbo.

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