Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Individual Growth in Education Recipient - “TIGER”

The GFWC Tampa Junior Woman’s Club (TJWC) is proud to present The Ralph F. Schiller “TIGER” scholarship to our community.

Many individuals have a dream of going to college and continuing their education, however, with the rising costs of higher education; many cannot afford this luxury. The “TIGER” Scholarship was created in memory of Ralph F. Schiller. In 1926 his father abandoned the family and his mother realized that she could not handle the responsibility of a family. She dropped off the five children ranging in age from nine months to nine years old at the local orphanage. Being the oldest, Ralph was determined that his family would not be torn apart by these circumstances. He saved his food from his first meal, gathered up his four brothers and sisters and ran away to his grandparents’ home. His grandparents raised all five children as if they were their own. Because Ralph had made this decision, he also took on responsibility. He began a paper route before school and worked as a bag boy at the local grocery store after school. As his siblings grew Ralph saw that expenses were growing as well, so at 16 he dropped out of high school and joined the Army Air Corps.

Ralph had a successful career in the military. He served as a member of the American Volunteer Group (Flying Tigers, World War II, Korea and was an adviser during the Vietnam War. Throughout this time his goal was to eventually return to school to complete his education. In February 1962 he learned that he would soon be a father. He began to plan his dreams and realized that with a limited education he would have a difficult time helping his child to do simple homework. With this realization, he went back to high school and earned his diploma. He then applied to Merced College, California, began the curriculum, and in 1972 received his college degree. This all began at the age of 44.

The goal of this scholarship is to provide assistance for continuing education to a Tampa Bay Area male and female. This is not restricted to high school students, simply anyone seriously looking to further their education by attaining a college degree.