Local graduate receives full-ride scholarship for college

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published June 18, 2019

 Grace Rost learned she obtained the Robert A. Schuele Scholarship June 3, the day of her graduation from Ferndale High School.

Grace Rost learned she obtained the Robert A. Schuele Scholarship June 3, the day of her graduation from Ferndale High School.

Photo by Brian Sevald

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FERNDALE — Grace Rost already thought June 3 was going to be a big day for her, as she was preparing to graduate from Ferndale High School that night.

What Rost didn’t know that day was that she would be receiving a life-altering gift: a full-ride scholarship for college.

Rost, 18, was awarded the Robert A. Schuele Scholarship, which is a full-ride, four-year scholarship given to a local student to attend a university or college in Michigan. The Ferndale native, chosen from more than 240 applicants, will study at Michigan State University in the fall.

Several months before that fateful day, Rost had never even heard of the scholarship. It wasn’t until she met Brett Tillander, the chief executive officer of Metro Detroit Youth Clubs, which administers the scholarship, at a church where she was volunteering, and he told her to apply.

Outside of school, where she participates in various bands and other extracurricular activities, Rost is at home helping out around her house doing chores or taking care of the pets, and also helping her mother, Yvonne.

Yvonne Rost has multiple sclerosis and has used a wheelchair since Grace Rost was 7 years old.

“I’ve had to put in a lot more work than most kids would at my age at home,” she said. “I also have seven or eight extracurriculars that I do throughout the year, and a lot of the time they overlap. So I’m generally not home a lot. So when I am, I’m doing a lot of work.”

Rost’s hard work has not gone unnoticed by the people around her. Her band director at Ferndale High for the last five years, Elon Jamison, said he thinks the world of his now-former student and what she’s been able to accomplish.

“She’s just an incredibly hard worker,” he said. “She does everything to the point that she probably overextends herself, but she ends up doing really well. She plays ... in concert band and marching band; she does really well there. She takes private lessons on trumpet. She’s in the winter guard. She does lights and sound for the musical … and yet somehow, Grace still manages to be a great student and take care of herself and take care of her friends and get good grades and do all of these things. I mean, it’s just really a credit to her straight-up work ethic that she succeeds in all these things.”

On the day of her high school graduation, Rost was asked by Principal Lisa Williams if she could come in and help with setting up an assembly. After Rost arrived, Williams led her to a conference room, where she walked in to find Ferndale Schools Superintendent Dania Bazzi, Mayor Dave Coulter and a host of people who had interviewed her for the scholarship.

They were there to surprise her with the news that she had been selected to receive the scholarship and take the weight of paying for college and financial uncertainty off her shoulders.

“I was completely surprised,” she said. “I had no idea.

“My brain didn’t really comprehend what was going on until one of the people who interviewed me started talking about my interviews and how, based off my interviews, they knew they should pick me,” she continued. “I was just completely blown away, and I was just filled with this really big sense of gratitude and relief, and I was so overjoyed that I started crying. It was just a really amazing experience.”

One of the first people Rost told after she got the scholarship was Jamison, who said he couldn’t be prouder of all that she’s achieved.

“It’s a huge deal for her,” he said. “It’s a game changer as it relates to her college expenses, but I’ve just been proud of her all the way through. So from my perspective, this is proof of what an awesome kid she is.”

But before telling Jamison, Rost was able to call her mother on the phone to share the news with her.

“She was really overjoyed as well,” she said of Yvonne’s reaction. “She was just really relieved because money’s always been tight for us, and she was really worried about how her, my dad and I would be able to figure out ways to pay for Michigan State, and this was just a really big weight off of all of our shoulders.”

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