My name is Derek Fox. I’m 24 years old and live/work in DeWitt. As a high school senior at Central DeWitt Community High School in 2013, I was the recipient of the Dennis Barr Scholarship. I could not be more thankful of the positive impact it has had on my life. The scholarship was awarded by the Central DeWitt Community Educational Foundation who partners with The LincolnWay Community Foundation to fund the scholarship, facilitate the evaluation process, and send the money to the school. 

As a senior in high school, you normally have a good idea about what you want to do in life. For me, I didn’t quite know what was in store for me. I knew I wanted to go into business but that was it.

Before receiving this scholarship, my plans were to go get my two-year degree and be done. I told myself, I’ll find a job, work for a paycheck and be content with life. My mindset changed when I found out I was the recipient of this scholarship. I thought to myself, here are people who believe in me. Believe I will use this money to better myself and my education so that I can go on and do bigger and better things, and not just take it for granted.

After this, I buckled down. I realized my passion was in accounting because numbers really interested me. When I had that figured out, I started working on my two-year degree from Scott Community College. During this time, my two seasonal jobs were no longer cutting it anymore and I thought I needed to get more steady employment. I applied for a teller position with First Central State Bank in DeWitt and got hired. It was the perfect scenario.  I could work in that position for a few years while I finished school, and then find a job with an accounting firm and move on. I’m happy to say, that didn’t go through as planned. As soon as I got my job at First Central State Bank, I fell in love with the organization. Fast forwarding a year, I started a career with them as a personal banker and love what I do. Working in a community filled with so many great people is extremely rewarding and something I cherish. In the midst of all this, I graduated from Scott Community College with an associate degree, transferred to St. Ambrose University, where I then graduated with my bachelor of business administration in accounting!

You can start to see how this scholarship helped shape my attitude on life. I realize I have many more years ahead of me and it’s probably not as exciting as some others’ lives, but for me it has been a blessing. A blessing that could have ended a few years ago if I had stopped my education at two years. It all stemmed around one thing, and that was when others believed in me. I was given a financial commitment that encouraged me to continue and finish my education. This scholarship presented me with a new opportunity to go on and earn that four-year degree and figure out what I wanted to do in life. I am forever thankful for everything I have been granted so far and look forward to my future with First Central State Bank and this community!

Thank you to the LincolnWay Community Foundation for everything you do. Thank you for being one of the positive factors that helped me realize I needed to continue my education and go out and find something that I enjoy doing, rather than accepting what life threw at me. The affects you have on the schools and community is much more appreciated than you could ever imagine.

The LincolnWay Community Foundation is the vehicle for rural Clinton County that provides administrative services and the 25 percent Iowa Tax Credit for endowments. This makes it possible for local businesses, nonprofit organizations, schools and individuals to fund grants, scholarships, charitable projects and programs that contribute to quality of life throughout the county.

Thank you!

Derek Fox