With the 15th annual Ruby Rutnik Memorial Softball Tournament now a memory – the Tortola All Stars won – the tournament’s scholarship fund is looking for applicants.
“It helps pay for your college education,” said Janet Cook-Rutnik, the late Ruby Rutnik’s mother.
To date, the scholarship fund has paid out over $110,000 to about 40 students, Cook-Rutnik said.
The money for the scholarships is raised at the annual tournament held to celebrate the life of Ruby Rutnik. The young St. Johnian, a pitcher on Antilles School softball team, died 15 years ago at age 21 in a car crash in Washington, D.C., while attending American University. The tournament is held around the time of her April 9 birthday.
This year’s two-year renewable $2,500 annual award is offered to a qualifying St. John female who has lived on St. John for five years or more or whose family has resided on the island for the same amount of time. The student must plan to attend or is attending an accredited college or university.
A one-year, $2,500 scholarship award is available to a qualifying student from Elmore Stout High School on Tortola. Players from that school were on the Tortola All Stars team.
Additionally, an annual one-year scholarship is offered to a St. John student to attend Gifft Hill School’s lower school. Ruby Rutnik attended that school when it was called Pine Peace School.
A special one-time one-year scholarship will be given this year to a qualifying boy or girl attending Gifft Hill School for the first time. It honors former Royal Sisters team member, Alice O’Connor. The St. John women’s softball team was founded over 50 years ago and O’Connor is the most senior alumna.
The first Ruby Rutnik tournament was hosted by the Royal Sisters, who had drafted Rutnik to pitch for them one summer while she was still in high school. O’Connor is one of St. John’s original Royal Sisters and has attended all the games since the tournament began in 1997.
Scholarship applications may be picked up at Connections in Cruz Bay or Coral Bay or by contacting the Rutniks at 693-8069.
Applications for Gifft Hill School students are available at Gifft Hill School or by calling Beth Knight at 776-6595 or Beth Jones at 776-1730.