By: Christie Baldwin/Junior Writer
William J. Clauson, a senior from Blue Ridge, is having a great year. After being turned away from the wrestling team last year for weighing over the PIAA weight limits, Clauson went on a major diet and lost one hundred and eighty pounds. His efforts led not only to a place on the wrestling team, but to a scholarship being named in his honor. The scholarship will be awarded to a Blue Ridge senior who shows the same spirit, character, and “Will Power.”
The scholarship was set up by former Blue Ridge assistant wrestling coach Joe Pipitone.
“William and I thought starting a scholarship would be a good way to honor the legacy of William’s achievement at the school. Setting up the fund with the community foundation is easy to do and several people wanted to donate to get it off of the ground,” says Pipitone.
“Joe brought up the idea,” says Clauson, “and then he called the Community Foundation and made it happen.”
Clauson says he is really humbled and appreciative of Pipitone’s involvement in his life.
“Joe has been a huge help with everything…losing weight, teaching me how to cook healthy foods and just being there,” says Clauson, “So, when Joe brought up the idea of naming a scholarship for me I was really honored and joyful.”
Pipitone says, “This scholarship will honor the spirit of the school community and the power we have as a group to uplift anyone who needs help.”
Clauson’s overwhelming success, Pipitone emphasizes, is connected to the support he has received.
“Sometimes people just need someone to believe in them. Initially I believed in William. Soon after everyone believed in him because he really is a tremendous person. I don’t know if this scholarship is the first of its kind at the school but I’m confident it is rare,” declares Pipitone.
To help fund the scholarship, Pipitone orchestrated a t-shirt sale featuring a silhouette of Clauson in a wrestler’s stance (see featured image). The shirts, which sold for twenty dollars each, included a play on words and capitalized on the theme of willpower, emphasizing Clauson’s name and paying tribute to his success. All proceeds went to the Community Foundation of the Endless Mountains.
The Community Foundation of the Endless Mountains is also accepting cash donations and checks on their website. https://www.community-foundation.org/
For more about William Clauson: