When walkers and runners take part in the 22nd Annual Gatorade/Steelers 5K Race, Fitness Walk and Kids' Kickoff Run at Heinz Field on Sept. 4 they won't just be doing it for their own benefit. By taking part they are helping high school students get a college scholarship.
Each year a $10,000 scholarship in the name of Art Rooney Sr. is presented to a graduating senior from each of the three high schools on the North Side -- Oliver, Perry and North Catholic. Each school nominates students who have been accepted to college and are in need of financial aid.
"It's something I am happy we are able to do," said Steelers President Art Rooney II. "It grew out of the effort to build a statue for my grandfather. I said he is not going to like to have a statue, so we have to do more than just build a statue. We created a scholarship from the efforts. We have been able to help so many students. It's really been a great tribute to my grandfather. I am sure he would appreciate seeing how many kids it's helped."
The 2010 scholarship winners are John Dubensky from Perry, Michelle Roos from North Catholic and Shakir Wellons from Oliver. Dubensky and Wellons were honored before the Steelers-Lions preseason game at Heinz Field, while Roos, who will attended Robert Morris to study nursing, couldn't attend.
"It means a lot to me," said Dubensky, who will be taking premed classes at Juniata. "I wanted to go. My mom helped me looking for colleges. It costs a lot. The scholarship helps a lot. Without it, it might not have been possible for me to go.
"And to get a scholarship from the Steelers, I never would have thought this. I knew I would look into them, but never something like this."
Wellon will be majoring in Computer Science at Penn State and for him the scholarship means not having to go into debt.
"I have worked hard through high school so I didn't have to take out any loans," said Wellon. "This was the last thing that I needed. It's great too because I love the Steelers. To win it is awesome. It's a dream. I really appreciate everything. To see that my hard work in high school paid off, I know my hard work in college will pay off as well. "
For more information or to participate in the race, please click on Gatorade/Steelers 5K.