By Elizabeth Studebaker Special Correspondent
June 14, 2014
XENIA — The Rocky Thomas Scholarship will continue thanks to Greene Giving.
Through its generous contribution, the scholarship, named in honor of Xenia Central High School stand-out athlete Roger “Rocky” Thomas, will continue to exist.
Thomas was a basketball, football and track athlete. He was a member of the 1942 state championship basketball team and was a co-holder of the 100-yard dash record (10.2). The Xenia Sertoma Club established the Rocky Thomas Scholarship following his death in France during World II in 1944.
The scholarship was first presented in 1948 and recognizes outstanding efforts in academics, athletics and leadership. For a time, it was the only such memorial presented at Xenia High School.
The sertoma club disbanded in 2000, but the assets designated for the Rocky Thomas Scholarship continued for three more years. Connie and John Smith, former owners of Harley Davidson in Xenia, sustained the award for many additional years but had it not been for the Greene County Community Foundation/Greene Giving it may have disappeared with the Class of 2014.
Abigail Saner, a recent graduate of Xenia High School, is the 2014 Rocky Thomas Scholarship recipient. She also earned a number of other awards and scholarships. Saner is a four-year letterwinner in swimming and was a qualifier for state this year. She also was one of the “graduates with distinction,” which replaced the valedictorians and salutatorians at Xenia. Saner is said to have done an excellent job “balancing” swimming and academic demands. She will be attending Wright State University.
According to the recently deceased Wilfred Jones, the scholarship recognizes such qualities as academic commitment, leadership and teamwork, traits not only necessary on the athletic field and in school, but in the world beyond the walls of high school. A friend of Thomas, Jones added that Thomas’ dedication to athletics and school, and his leadership ability serve as reminders of the people graduating from Xenia High School. The commitment to the scholarship is a tribute not only to Thomas but also to the students of Xenia.
The continuation of the scholarship is to commemorate the sacrifices of World War II, as well as perpetuates the importance of striving for excellence and team effort in all phases of life.
Pat Marrinan, a Xenia High School instructor and Greene County history project coordinator said “Our goal is to build the account at Greene Giving, so someday that will allow the scholarship to continue without worry about financial barriers.”
To learn how to donate to the Rocky Thomas Scholarship at Greene Giving or contribute to another component related to public education, visit www.greengiving.org, or call 937-458-2063.