On June 11, the Michigan Pagan Scholarship Fund announced its 2016 Scholarship Winner Pete Ryland Shoda, III. An intelligent and thoughtful young person, his essay was just what the board looks for when making their decision. It was reasoned, expressive, and genuine. He, and his Father, were there to accept the check at the Magical Education Council’s annual Pagan Picnic. The check was presented by Rev. Gerrybrete Leonard-Whitcomb and Paula Ireland.
Hailing from Grand Rapids, Pete recently completed his studies at the West Michigan Aviation Academy. He intends on continuing his education at Grand Rapids Community College and Northwestern College. His studies in Michigan offer the best education for flying, since our weather has sudden climate changes. His ultimate goal is a degree in Bachelors Degree Aviation Operations.
His winning essay:
WHAT BEING PAGAN MEANS TO ME
What being Pagan means to me, it means I have the ability to walk in the woods, talk to the Divine, become part of Nature, and most of all, it gives me the choice to worship where, when and how I want.
Most people would say that being Pagan means they worship the Goddess. While this is something that I do as well, it also has allowed me to worship much, much more. People that go to church go one time a week, a couple hours, then that’s it, they go home. Not Pagan’s, not me. Being Pagan means that I have a lot to live up to. The God’s and Goddesses are watching me, Mother Nature is watching me, and the wind is listening to me, carrying my spells, chants and requests to the Universe. Always helping, always taking care to leave a small mark, always being a good person to others, taking care of the Earth, giving back when I can. These are some of the things that being Pagan means to me…… (you can see the complete essay by going to the MPSF Winner’s Page.
The MPSF gave its heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the sponsors of the fund this year. Every year the list seems to grow. This year, they are Universal Society of Ancient Ministry, Magical Educational Council, Witches Of Michigan, Candle Wick Shoppe, Coventry Creations, Midwest Witches’ Ball, and a first time donation by the Ancient Faiths Alliance. Also included are the many shops, individuals, and organizations that each contributed to the future of our young Pagan scholars here in Michigan.
A surprise announcement was also made this year. The MPSF has been under the masterful guidance and administration of Gordon Ireland since its beginnings. Through his leadership, he and Paula have seen it grow, thrive, and ensure that the money is there for our young Pagan students. However, he announced last year he would be stepping down and search was on for someone to step into the position, not his place (no one can fill those shoes).
The new administrator was announced to be Kenya Coviak. Yes, that’s right. That is me. So here is your full disclosure, I am the new administrator for the Michigan Pagan Scholarship Fund.
It is time to plan for a new year and a new season of financial aid will be upon us soon. I urge all who read this to contribute to our children’s future by supporting the fund in any way you can.
There should always be a Pagan Scholarship Fund in Michigan. 2017 is coming.