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The program is designed for Ripon High School (RHS) juniors and seniors who enter their junior year with a GPA of 2.0 or less. The program is voluntary, with monthly meetings, some held at RHS and some offsite trips. We have had many of our members participate in the programs. During the course of the time they are in the program we lose some students for various reasons, but this past year our retention rate (of those who remained in RHS) was very good.

Individual amounts are determined by looking at GPA (from the end of the sophomore year going forward), Strive attendance (although if students asked out to go to their regular class they were excused), and overall school attendance, which was weighted the heaviest since all GPAs had increased slightly. In addition we looked at the category we call “getting it.”

Ripon Rotary started the Strive program four years ago after Peter Sensenbrenner became aware of the program while doing a make-up at Neenah Rotary. (Another benefit of doing make-ups.) Neenah was very willing to share information about its program, and even sent members down to provide us with information. Ripon Rotarians involved in start-up included Sue Finch Brown, Peter Sensenbrenner, Kathy Schwandt, Jane Schueler, Karen Geisler, Doug Bradley (who ran the program for its first two years), Dan Tjernagel, Nita Krenz and Lee Prellwitz. Steve Hazell, guidance counselor for Ripon High School joined Mr. Tjernagel from RHS in the planning process. Nita Krenz led the fundraising effort the first year, and thanks to generosity of one of our members, the Webster Foundation, the Green Lake Foundation, a District Simplified Grant (DSG), and other generous donations from members and local businesses nearly $12,000 was raised. We are spending (depending on whether we maximize scholarship payouts or not) approximately $4500 per year on the program. We have made no more general fundraising efforts, but with another DSG, this year’s $5000 from the Webster Foundation, and the club treasury paying a portion each year ($1700 last year because of the decline in the Rotary Foundation balance) we are still in a black position, but another fundraising effort will need to be planned in the near future.