Matthew Shepard Scholarships total almost $200,000 for Iowa students

Thirteen scholarships totaling up to $190,000 will be presented at the seventh annual Matthew Shepard Scholarship Awards Dinner, Friday, June 4, 2010, at 7:45 p.m. at the Hy-Vee Conference Center in West Des Moines.

Three Iowa high school graduates, Dane Buchholz of Waverly, Katie Grassi of Anamosa and Molly Richardson of Norwalk will receive Gold Matthew Shepard Scholarships worth approximately $35,000 each. Ten others, Zachary Bird of Dubuque, Jesse Clemen of New Vienna, Allyssa Driscoll of Clinton, Clarissa Herrick of Logan, Damon Jarecki of Waukee, Matthew McCarty of Carroll, Stormy O’Brink of Waterloo, David Pope of Clear Lake, Crystal Smith of Clinton and Lucas Strombeck of Davenport will receive Silver Matthew Shepard Scholarships worth up to $8,500 each.

Governor Chet Culver will headline the Awards Dinner. Chet Culver became Iowa’s 40th Governor in January of 2007. Governor Culver honored his 2006 campaign promise in 2007 by signing into law Iowa’s Safe Schools Law and the amended Iowa Civil Rights Act. In April 2009, Governor Culver supported the unanimous Supreme Court decision making Iowa the third state to allow same-sex marriage.

US Congressman Bruce Braley will present the keynote address. Bruce Braley and his wife Carolyn moved to Waterloo in 1983, where he practiced law for 23 years. First elected in November of 2006, Congressman Braley is now serving his second term representing the First District of Iowa in the US Congress. Congressman Braley lives in Waterloo with his wife Carolyn, who teaches at West High School in Waterloo where she is the Gay-Straight Alliance Advisor.

Brad Clark will be honored for his successful efforts working for LGBT equality in Iowa. Beginning as a half-time Project Coordinator for the GLBT Youth in Iowa Schools Task Force (Iowa Safe Schools) Brad also co-founded the Iowa Pride Network in 2003. As the Executive Director of Iowa Safe Schools. In 2007, he led a coalition of education leaders and civil rights advocates helping pass the statewide Safe Schools Law protecting all students, including those that are LGBT, from bullying and harassment. That led to a Civil Rights Law protecting Iowans from discrimination in employment, housing, education, credit, and public accommodation based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Brad next served as Outreach & Advocacy Director with the Matthew Shepard Foundation in Denver, Colorado before returning to Iowa to serve as Campaign Director for One Iowa where he worked to protect marriage equality for all Iowans. He has just been hired to lead similar efforts as Executive Director of One Colorado based in Denver.

The Matthew Shepard Scholarship is named in memory of Matthew Shepard. The Scholarship honors openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Iowa high school students who work to promote tolerance and non-discrimination in their schools and communities. Scholarship awards are based on academic aptitude, academic achievement, community service and financial need.

For tickets and more information, visit The Eychaner Foundation.