By Chris Chaney
Melissa Woermann was much more than just a school nurse.
She was a mother to her three children, a wife to her husband, Bernie, a caretaker to students at Clermont Northeastern High School and a friend never hesitant to lend an ear or helping hand to someone in need.
Woermann lost her battle with liver cancer on July 18, just one month after being diagnosed with the disease.
With Woermann having touched the lives of so many at the school, her close friend and junior varsity volleyball coach Katie Freeman spearheaded an effort to begin a scholarship fund in Woermann’s name.
“She was one of my best friends at the school and I felt like something had to be done in her honor, commemorating her,” Freeman said. “I kept thinking about what I could do, so I went to (athletic director) Mike (Kirk) and said we need to do something to honor her and I was thinking a scholarship.”
Kirk agreed and asked Freeman, as Woermann’s closest friend at the school, to take the lead on getting the scholarship approved by the school board. Freeman also garnered approval from CNE High School principal John Eckert before getting approval from the Board of Education.
With the Melissa K. Woermann Scholarship established, Freeman’s next task was to acquire the funds to support the scholarship. The venue for fundraising was a natural fit for Freeman.
“I kept thinking, the only thing that I can think of is to do a volleyball game because I coach volleyball,” Freeman said. “I said (to Kirk) that we could do Split the Pot and auction off baskets.”
The Sept. 23 match against Indian Hill was pegged as a perfect night for the fundraiser beings that Senior Night was the following week and no other sporting events were scheduled for that day with the exception of a tennis match earlier in the afternoon.
Freeman headed up a group of parents and coaches that put together the fundraiser, selling Split the Pot tickets, making custom t-shirts, arranging baskets and floral wreaths designed and made by Freeman’s aunt for silent auction.
A friend of Freeman’s and a CNE graduate designed and produced the shirts that were sold and also worn by the CNE volleyball team for their match. Freeman said that around 400 shirts were sold.
“We had a great turnout from our fans, community members and other (volleyball) teams,” AD Kirk said. “A lot of people got involved and came in with donations of baskets and all kinds of stuff. I want to thank Katie. All the work she did was unbelievable. Her and the other coaches deserve all the credit.”
Kirk was able to get permission from the board to donate $250 of the admission gate to the scholarship fund.
The actual tribute took place between the JV and varsity games with Freeman thanking those who helped make the tribute possible. After that, a letter from Woermann’s daughter, Brittney, to her mother was read and an award from a state senator was presented to the Woermann family.
As for the criteria of the scholarship, Freeman said they are still ironing out the details.
“We don’t really have any requirements yet,” Freeman said. “All I have written up is that it will go to a deserving student.”
Freeman said there are a lot of possibilities for the scholarship, which will be a minimum of $500 dollars, including how and to whom the scholarship will be awarded. Options that Freeman mentioned included making it a nursing scholarship, or perhaps a GPA-related scholarship. She would like to have an essay contest to determine a winner, but as of now, the criteria is fluid.
Freeman expects that the regulations should be nailed down sometime in February or March of 2014 with a graduating senior in the Class of 2014 to be the first recipient.
CNE also plans to have an annual volleyball game to honor Woermann and hopes to make new shirts each year, along with other auctions and fundraising options to pay for the scholarship.
If you would like to donate to the scholarship fund or learn more about how you can help with future fundraising efforts, contact athletic director Mike Kirk at firstname.lastname@example.org.