Donor Stories

The Worthington Family

We are highlighting a family who turned a tragedy into something positive to help others.  Meet the Worthington family.  Don Worthington has lived in Bucyrus his entire life.  He married Roberta in 1979.  They are hardworking famers who raised six children on their family farm in the Louisburg community (Kim, Jason, Jarrod, Jeff, Jodi, and Jake).  Monday, November 9, 2015, is a date that changed their family forever.  The youngest brother, Jake, passed away at the very young age of 28.

Jeff told us that Jake was the best brother they could ever ask for. He always wanted to have fun, laugh, joke around, and just make others happy. He loved almost every kind of sport.  His favorites were watching college basketball and playing basketball himself.  Jake was a member of the LHS basketball team that made it to the state tournament in 2005, his senior year.  Jake was named to the 1st-Team All-Frontier League that season.  Jake also loved farming and was always a huge help to his dad while working on the farm.

Jake, who was always willing to help others, was taken from his family and friends’ way too soon.  In the middle of their grief, the family decided they wanted to honor Jake’s memory by creating a scholarship in his name.  This scholarship would be a way to keep his memory alive while helping students at Louisburg High School.

The family uses fun and creative ways to fundraise for their scholarship.  For the first fundraiser, they tapped into Jake’s love for college basketball and created the March Madness Bracket Challenge.  Every year, people meet at Timbercreek to donate money and fill out a men’s NCAA college basketball tournament bracket for a chance to win prizes. Often, winners donate their prizes back to the scholarship fund because they just want to participate and support their fundraising efforts.

For the other fundraiser, they use an event that Jake and a few friends created for a baby shower.  They called it the Worth-O-Witch Annual Washer Invitational (WAWI) held at the Worthington family farm.  After Jake’s passing, the family carried on this event as an additional way to support these scholarship efforts.  Participants pay an entry fee and sign up in teams of two to reserve their spot.  The day of the event, the teams compete in pool play first.  The bracket is created based on seeding from pool play.  Bracket play begins with double elimination.  Teams compete in the match best two out of three to 21 winning by 2.  At the end of the tournament, prize money is given to the top four teams.

Both the March Madness fundraiser and the Washers Tournament have taken place every year since 2016 (the 2020 tournament was canceled due to Covid concerns). One awesome fact about the March Madness fundraiser in 2020; they had just finished signing people up for the tournament and collected money, then a few days later the tournament was cancelled due to Covid. Jeff contacted everyone that signed up to try and get them a refund, and almost everyone told them to keep the money for the scholarship fund. It was amazing that our community stepped up like that.

To be a part of the fun this year, join the Jake Worthington Memorial Scholarship Fund on Facebook.  They use this page to post everything related to their fundraising efforts.

The Worthington Family believes the Endowment Association is a great organization that benefits our community in a huge way. They provide lots of opportunities for young people that want to pursue the next level of education. They highly recommend working with the Endowment Association as they are a huge asset to our school district and community. 

Jenny Diederich

In our ongoing effort to connect the past with the present for a brighter future, we wanted to highlight a donor who works hard every year to bless a number of students with scholarships - meet Jenny Diederich.

Jenny moved with her husband Derek and their three daughters to Louisburg 18 years ago.  Derek works for KC Bobcat, Brecken is a Physician’s Assistant student at Wichita State University, Brooklyn is a sophomore at Neosho County Community College playing softball and Brylee is a senior at Louisburg High School.  All three girls attended school in the Louisburg school district.

Jenny has always believed in giving back to her community and the students within it.  Time is just as valuable as money resonates in her.  Because of these ideals, she diligently works every year as leader of the Louisburg Holiday Mart and the Louisburg High School Booster Club (LHS Cat Backers).

The Louisburg Holiday Mart began in 2006 as the Louisburg Middle School Holiday Mart.  Jenny has always enjoyed going to craft shows and decided in 2008 to take the lead role.  She felt the Holiday Mart could be a great way to bring commerce to the Louisburg community as well as get kids involved in a community service project, so she changed things.  In 2011 she renamed it to the Louisburg Holiday Mart with all proceeds going to the Louisburg Holiday Mart Scholarship Fund through the USD 416 Endowment Association.  The Holiday Mart has gone from 60 vendors to 120+.  The last two years the event has been held outside and earlier in the year.  They have great attendance and many of vendors have been participating since Jenny took over.

Jenny decided to have Louisburg High School students volunteer their time each year to help unload and load the vendors items.  Many of the vendors attend alone or they are elderly, so they are truly thankful for the student’s time and efforts.  The students also help with whatever is needed throughout the day of the Holiday Mart.  The students who volunteer their time are then eligible to apply for the Holiday Mart scholarship during their senior year.  Many scholarships require high GPA’s, high ACT scores and student who plan to attend a four-year college.  She wanted to give all the kids an opportunity to apply for a scholarship based primarily on community service.  There is no prerequisite to how many years you plan to further your education.  A student can attend trade school, community college or a four year to be eligible.  In the last 10 years, they have provided 44 scholarships totaling $44,500.00.  The LHS students who volunteer their time average 125 hours of community service a year for the Louisburg Holiday Mart.

Jenny was introduced to LHS Cat Backers in 2009 by Anita Cook.  This organization (Jenny, Susan Caldwell and wonderful volunteers) supports the LHS staff, students and LHS Post Prom.  They work the concession stand during varsity football games to acquire their funds.  LHS Cat-Backers awards four $500 scholarships every year, fulfill two to three grant requests for teachers and coaches, as well as coming up with ways to treat the LHS staff during teacher appreciation week.  The biggest contribution is the purchase of caps and gowns for all graduating seniors of LHS each year.  Senior year can be expensive, so they enjoy taking some of the burden off a family’s shoulders.  Every little bit helps!

Jenny encourages everyone to get involved and support the USD 416 Endowment Association.  She believes it is a wonderful organization.  They do all the financial work behind the scenes with donated scholarship money.  Not only do they award scholarships to our students, they also award grants for our teachers.  Their scholarship awards ceremony is amazing, and she encourages everyone to attend.  She feels we are fortunate to have so many giving people and organizations in our community.