For DonorsFor Applicants

Heather Rylie Memorial Scholarship

Funded by
Picture of the donor
Dawn Lunn
1st winner$5,000
2nd winner$2,500
Application Deadline
Mar 25, 2024
Winners Announced
Apr 20, 2024
Education Level
High School, Undergraduate
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school senior or undergraduate
Field of Study:
Arts, including music

Art allows individuals to express themselves uniquely and creatively, enabling personal growth and self-discovery. Education in the arts is an integral part of a well-rounded education, promoting critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity. 

Heather Rylie had a deep passion for art and creativity. In June of 2022, she tragically passed away at twenty-four years old. 

In honor of Heather Rylie, the Heather Rylie Memorial Scholarship aims to assist aspiring artists in pursuing their dreams. 

High school seniors and undergraduate students pursuing an arts program, including music, may apply. 

To apply, please explain why the arts are important and how you got started, including any influences or life events that impacted your decision.

Selection Criteria:
Art, Passion, Creativity
Published December 7, 2023
Essay Topic

Why are the arts important to you? How did you get started? What influences, life events, etc., impacted your decision to pursue the arts?

400–600 words

Winning Applications

Ethan Hamilton
Chapman HighCHAPMAN, KS
Ever since I was 6 years old, my life has been surrounded by music. Growing up, my family always moved from place to place. I never really had friends or schools to relate to and to call home. The only time I was ever able to relate to someone closely was through music. When I started my education in second grade, I was told what a great voice I had. At the time I attended a smaller school in Missouri, but still stood out from the crowd of kids. I was given the stage to sing the Star Spangled Banner for the first time, that year. After elementary school, I moved yet again to Kansas where I have found my home. It was here where I struggled with my mental health and was unable to make new friends, for it was halfway through middle school in a small town. The first person I ever connected with was my choral teacher. Angeline McGuffin. At the time, I was dealing with another military move, and I was living in an RV with the rest of my 5 siblings and parents. We were unable to afford a house at the time, and I was bullied for it. Mrs. McGuffin led me to a place of hopefulness and strength in my voice and allowed me to sing my first concert solo. What Child Is This? That Christmas solo changed my life and transformed me into the person I am today. Since then I have made the KMEA State Honor Choir 6 years in a row, and have even gotten medals for it. Music allowed me to be outgoing and gave me the courage to believe in myself. Throughout my musical career, I have experienced the change my voice can make for people. At one of my recent concerts, a man suffering from stage four lung cancer told me I was the last voice he wanted to hear, this information changed my interpretation of music forever. As a music educator and performance major, I vow to change people's lives for the good. I want to help students find their path on the musical trail, and guide the lost to where they belong. Being a music educator also gives me leadership skills and allows me to guide students, who are in bad situations like I was, to salvation. My love and drive for music will never die, and I want the world to know.
Madeleine Boardman
Emmanuel CollegeTaunton, MA
Throughout my life, I have battled with anxiety. One of the ways I have been able to work through my anxiety is through art. The year that I came out was one of the hardest battles that I had with my anxiety. One of the pieces that I painted around the time that I was battling with my sexual identity is a piece that I call “Fear of Imperfections”. The painting is made up of of pale skin hang down from the edge of the canvas. They stick to the tar-colored background. Distorted, the dead expression on the face looking back at me was comforting in a twisted sense of the word. Viewing this canvas was like looking into a mirror. Although twisted, this person that I saw was me. A shell of a person too scared to admit to herself the obvious. Too scared to come out to the world. This fear shattered me; broke me into small little pieces. Like this painting I felt misshapen and didn’t truly understand how my identity fit into the rest of my life, but I knew one thing for sure, I preferred women. I was uncomfortable fitting within the boundaries of the canvas. I wanted the paint to flow outside of these guidelines. And when I finally did paint how I truly wanted, I was given the chance to do so with open arms. In high school, I was the head of my GSA (Gender Sexuality Alliance). I was often asked by the Access Center to meet with students who were questioning or struggling with their identity. My experience with the aforementioned painting and other artwork along with my time working with other LGBTQ+ youth, has set me on a course for my future career. I want to become an art therapist. I want to show others who are struggling various ways that they can work through their mental health issues or their struggles with their identities using art expression. For years it has helped me, and I know I can make a difference helping youth in this way. Art is such an important part of society. Especially for those struggling with mental health issues. I am currently enrolled at Emmanuel College in Boston as a fine arts/ art therapy major with a minor in psychology. I feel this is perfect way to marry my love of creating art and helping others through their problems.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Mar 25, 2024. Winners will be announced on Apr 20, 2024.

This scholarship has been awarded, but we have hundreds more!
Find a perfect scholarship now