SDS Walter Ely Scholarship Winner Announced for 2018


Josie Cook Presented with Walter Ely SDS Scholarship


David Jones of Southeast Developmental Services announced that Josie Cook, graduating Holly High School senior, is this year’s recipient of the 8th Annual Walter Ely Scholarship. Cook was presented the scholarship award by several SDS board members this past Monday, May 21st in Lamar.Over the past several years, the selection of the winner has been based on a student’s career or education goals, experience with someone who is intellectually and/or developmentally disabled as well as a brief description of how the scholarship will be applied.

The following is the submission made to the SDS board by Josie Cook.

  1. After high school, I plan to attend Colby Community College and complete their Physical Therapy Assistant Program. From there, God willing, I plan to continue my education at Fort Hays State University and graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Management and a minor in Business. At the conclusion of my time at Hays, I plan to work towards and earn my Doctorate of Physical Therapy through Wichita State University.
  2. After I complete my Doctorate Degree, I want to start off my career working at a St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. I long to one day work with children one-on-one and provide the care they desperately need throughout their rehabilitation journey. I want to bring hope, encouragement, and lots of laughter into the lives of the children I work with.  My people-orientated, serving heart is eager to reach out and touch the lives of those around me, and there is no better way to do so than by caring for the children who lives need it most. Working in this type of environment will bless me the opportunity to witness miracles every day.  If I can inspire, encourage, and provide the right care to help my patients overcome whatever injury or illness they may have, then I will have made a positive impact.
  3. My cousin, Dakota Beason, was diagnosed with Down Syndrome when he was born. It was devastating to our family. Despite Dakota’s inability to speak, he always found a way to communicate his love for his family and friends. His genuine, ear-to-ear smile would light his whole face up. He was always such a happy soul. Dakota faced so many health issues as a child. After his third birthday, Dakota underwent surgery to have a pacemaker implanted into his cardiovascular system. Dakota was slowly dying, and we all knew it. We were sure to savor every moment with him. I did not understand it at the time the day I was told Dakota went to Heaven, because I was a few years younger than he was. He died when only twelve. One of my best friends who always made me laugh was gone. Dakota might be gone, but he left behind memories and lessons on happiness.
  4. I live on a small farm that lies on the borders of Western Kansas and Eastern Colorado. My father owns a small amount of land which our family raises crops on. I partake in the crop production process by working the fields during the summer. Though my family does own land and machinery to produce crops on that land, we do not make enough money to fully support the demands of a college education. The Walter Ely Memorial Scholarship would bring peace of mind to myself and to my family. The burden of trying to pay for the furtherment of my education would dramatically lessen. I also have a little brother who will be attending college as well in the next two years. Aside from this, our family farm also supports my older brother and his family of three. To receive the Walter Ely Scholarship would be a huge blessing and answer a lot of prayers for my family and I.

Thank you for your time in reviewing my application! I greatly appreciate it. Blessings!

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