WATERLOO — West High School senior Sophia Dehl, a centerfielder on the Wahawk softball team, has been selected to receive the 2019 Shelly Brown Memorial Scholarship.
Dehl was a first-grader at the former Black Hawk Elementary School in 2008 when Brown, a first-grade teacher at the school, died six years after being diagnosed with cancer. That year, the annual scholarship was established in Brown’s memory.
She taught in the Waterloo Community Schools for 18 years and was a former Wahawk softball standout. Brown’s passion for teaching and students kept her in the classroom after being diagnosed with cancer in 2002.
The scholarship is awarded to a member of West’s softball team each year, and it’s particularly meaningful for Dehl to receive it this year.
“It was really special to me to see that someone that I worked closely with at a young age was making such a significant impact on the softball team,” she said in a news release. “This tradition not only helps carry on a loving teacher and softball player, but always helps honor those who put so much time and effort into the softball program. It makes me proud to be a Wahawk softball player and to see these things.”
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This will be the 12th time the Brown family awards the scholarship in memory of their loved one, which has resulted in a total of $12,000 given back to help students continue their education. It’s a special occasion for Brown’s father, Errol Brown, who not only coached his daughter but the entire Wahawk softball team as an assistant coach for 18 years.
“We are pleased to continue honoring Shelly by awarding this scholarship,” he said. “We had lots of great applications this year, but Sophia stood out for many reasons.
“We couldn’t overlook the fact that she had been a small part of our Shelly’s life. We know she’d be happy with our selection.”
The scholarship will be awarded between softball games tonight at West High School. Brown and Shelly’s son, Josh Wilson, will present the check this year along with retired Waterloo educators Denise Peterson and Mary Ann Noland, both of whom also taught Dehl at Black Hawk.
Dehl is continuing her education in Des Moines at Drake University where she plans to major in business administration and management.