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Rockwall Women’s League Ball April 18 raises thousands of dollars for local scholarships, service projects

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By J.J. Smith

ROCKWALL-Denitra Wheeler is a college student majoring in elementary education and minoring in child psychology at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls TX.

But had it not been for the college scholarship that the 2007 Rockwall High School graduate received from the Rockwall Women’s League, it’s doubtful that she would be in college.

Growing up in Rockwall as the oldest of four children, Wheeler always wanted to go. She studied hard and earned mostly As and Bs throughout her high school years.

She also participated in the “Make It Rockwall” club and a mentorship program in which she mentored elementary age school children.

But during her senior year, her mother told her that her parents wouldn’t be able to afford to send her to college, so the situation looked bleak.

Since neither of her parents had gone to college, Wheeler said they didn’t know much about college financial aid programs, such as grants and loans. She didn’t recall hearing much either in high school about anything other than scholarships.

So after learning the bad news from her mother, Wheeler decided to take matters into her own hands. She began applying for as many scholarships as she could with the help of high school counselors, although she said she never really expected to obtain one.

Then she came across a Rockwall Women’s League scholarship application, filled it out and crossed her fingers.

“I have never wanted anything more in my life then to go to college, to better my life,” she said.

Soon Wheeler received an invitation to meet with Rockwall Women’s League members. Before long she received the wonderful news that she’d been awarded a $12,000 college scholarship.

“I was so surprised,” said the daughter of Rockwall residents Terrence and Dorothy Nickerson. “Actually shocked and ecstatic would better describe my feelings. I was so excited!”

Wheeler said she is so thankful to the members of the Rockwall Women’s League for the potential they saw in her and the scholarship.

“I can not begin to tell you how much the RWL scholarship has helped me,” she explained. “This scholarship has made it much easier for me to continue my education, and I can never express enough how thankful I am.”

“I’m trying to better my life, and the wonderful women of the RWL saw potential in me, and that just makes me so much more motivated. I can not wait when I get older and can donate money back to this particular scholarship.”

Wheeler is just one of dozens of former Rockwall County high school students who have received and benefited from scholarships provided during the past many years by the Rockwall Women’s League.

Many local non-profits also benefit every year from donations provided by the Rockwall Women’s League’s fundraising efforts.

The primary source of funds for the scholarships and grants for local non-profits comes from event sponsors, silent and live auctions – featuring hundreds of donations from supporters – plus tickets purchased to the annual Rockwall Women’s League Black Tie Charity Ball, according to 2009 Charity Ball Chair Kendra Jones.

Anyone who wishes to purchase a ticket and help them to raise funds for the community is welcome, she explained. Women who are interested in joining the League are also invited to call Jones for information at 214-918-5745.

“Last year we raised and gave away over $130,000 for scholarships for Rockwall County high school seniors, plus thousands more to local non-profit groups and service projects.”

“That will be tough to repeat this year with the economy down, but we’re still trying our best!” Jones said.

The 30th Annual “Mystique”Black Tie Charity Ball will be held April 18 at the Hilton Anatole Dallas Hotel, 2201 Stemmons Freeway, Dallas 75207. Room reservations can be obtained by calling 800-955-4281 (Ask for the RWL group rate).

Cocktails and the silent auction will begin at 6 p.m. Dinner begins at 7:30 p.m. Entertainment and dance music will be provided by well-known Dallas show group Vince Vance and the Valiants (hits: “All I Want For Christmas” & “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran”).

Some of RWL’s sponsors include: Presbyterian Hospital of Rockwall, Inwood National Bank, Genesis Team, Mr. & Mrs. Greg Alexander, Alliance Bank, CiCi’s Pizza, Flyajet.org and Southwest Securities, FSB.

Featured live auction items are: “The Patio of Your Dreams” by Walton Garden Center; “Live Surprise – Tay Panchalk, Genesis Auto Group; A dining experience for 10 from “Prestige Wine” and Culpepper’s Steak House; an 18-carat white gold/diamond locket, from Willis Fine Jewelers; a “Groovy Kind of Night” from Groovy’s, Ava restaurant and Limousine Service; plus a “Golden Beryl 13.5-carat pendant from Shanks Jewelers.

To purchase tickets and for more information, call Kendra Jones, 214-918-5745 or visit www.rockwallwomensleague.com.

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