By Rick Palsgrove
The legacy of the late educator and community leader Dr. John Bender lives on through a scholarship for local students that bears his name.
Canal Winchester City Council will award two $1,000 scholarships in honor of Bender, a former city council member, educator, and coach. Graduating seniors are encouraged to review eligibility requirements and submit applications online at www.canalwinchesterohio.gov. Applications are also available in the guidance offices at Canal Winchester High School and Bloom-Carroll High School. The deadline for applications and completed materials is April 1. Recipients of the Dr. John Bender scholarship will be recognized at the April 15 Canal Winchester City Council meeting.
Canal Winchester Finance Director Amanda Jackson said the first Bender scholarships were awarded in 2016 and that the scholarship is funded through the city’s bed tax collections. She said it is a one-time $1,000 scholarship.
“City Council created the scholarship in honor of long-time City Council member Dr. John Bender, who passed away in September 2013,” said Jackson. “Canal Winchester City Council is happy to support our local students seeking higher education.”
Past students who received the scholarship are: 2016 – Carson Clark, Lauren Agler; 2017 – Alicia Logue, Ashley Clubb; and 2018 – Hillary Counts, Paige Bormann.
“Scholarship applicants are asked to answer the following question in their essay: ‘How will you use your college education to make your community a better place to live?’” said Amanda Lemke, city of Canal Winchester events and communications coordinator. “Whether students return to Canal Winchester or move on to another community following college, it’s important that they understand that they can make a difference in their community.”
Lemke said that contemplating their future contributions gives students the opportunity to begin building a vision for the kind of world they can help create.
“Enriching their lives, and the lives of others, through volunteer service, special projects, or simply connecting with their community is profoundly important,” said Lemke. “Dr. Bender (who coached track and cross country) used to say, ‘Everyone can run.’ I like to think that we can take his words and apply them to our lives. Everyone can make a difference. Dr. Bender provided a great example through his many years of service to his neighbors and friends.”
Lemke said a PDF of the application can be found at: https://www.canalwinchesterohio.gov/DocumentCenter/View/2505/2019-Dr-Bender-Scholarship-Application-PDF.
“It gives a bit of info about Dr. Bender as well as some general information, such as the scholarship is a one-time award sent to the bursar of the students’ university following the students’ first semester achieving a GPA of 2.5 or higher,” said Lemke.
About Dr. John Bender
Dr. John Bender passed away on Sept. 14, 2013, at age 71 after a battle with leukemia. He was a member of Canal Winchester City Council for 17 years and also served as coach for the Canal Winchester High School boys track team and girls and boys cross country teams for more than 20 years where he earned several coach of the year awards.
His Canal Winchester cross country and girls track teams collected a total of 12 Mid-State League titles, 8 district titles, and 3 regional championships. The boys cross country team finished as state runner-up in 2006 and in 2007 finished third in the state.
A 1960 graduate of Canal Winchester High School who earned a doctorate degree from Ohio State University, Bender is also a member of the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame.