Thomas Foundation helps at-risk students

Guidance Counselor Tawnya Teter and Principal Scott O’Tremba speak to Susan Thomas, widow of the late U.S. Senator Craig Thomas, during her recent visit to Lovell High School. David Peck

Guidance Counselor Tawnya Teter and Principal Scott O’Tremba speak to Susan Thomas, widow of the late U.S. Senator Craig Thomas, during her recent visit to Lovell High School.
David Peck

At-risk students are the focus of programs offered through the Craig and Susan Thomas Foundation, founder Susan Thomas told officials at Lovell and Rocky Mountain high schools last Thursday, April 10.

Susan Thomas, widow of the late U.S. Senator Craig Thomas, told Principal Scott O’Tremba and Guidance Counselor Tawnya Teter at LHS and Principal Tim Winland and Guidance Counselor Tim Jones at RMHS that she first worked with at risk students while teaching in Natrona County and later in the Washington, D.C., area.

“Everyone laughs and cries in the same language,” Thomas told the Lovell school officials.

The foundation provides grants for “groups that think like we do,” she said, adding, “Everybody deserves a second chance.”

Some of the programs funded by the foundation include a breakfast club in one school district and a nursing CNA program in another.

The foundation also honors an adult who has inspired and challenged young people to reach their full potential, Thomas said, noting, “People don’t get thanked for the work they do.” The leadership award comes with a $2,500 cash prize.

But the main focus of the foundation is a scholarship program for students who can’t receive a Hathaway Scholarship that includes personal mentoring with Thomas. The scholarship provides $1,300 per semester for a “learner at risk,” she said. The scholarships are for all Wyoming community colleges and the University of Wyoming.

Thomas works personally with the students who receive the scholarship, noting, “Whoever gets the scholarship gets me.” She said she has received calls from students in the middle of the night and is glad to help.

For more information on the programs, contact principals O’Tremba and Winland or counselors Teter and Jones.

Traveling with Thomas was assistant Ally Sanders.

By David Peck

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