Oakdale High School senior Tanner Morgan had been to the Principal’s office before. He usually talked to Principal Mike Moore about leadership events, since Morgan is the Student Body President for the second year in a row.
This time was different, however. On April 15 there was a small crowd of about eight to 10 people waiting in Moore’s office with smiles on their faces.
“Mr. Moore was the first one to tell me, ‘Congratulations, you won the Leo Volz Scholarship,’” Morgan recalled. “It was amazing… It was a big moment.”
Tanner Morgan is the latest to be named to a selective “community” of OHS seniors who’ve won the special memorial scholarship. The Leo Volz Scholarship pays $25,000 per year for four years, for a maximum of $100,000 toward tuition and books at any accredited university for a well-rounded OHS student.
“They had me call my mom from the office,” he said. “The first thing she was thinking was that something was wrong because I usually don’t call from the school phone. Then I told her and she started crying.”
He confessed that his mom’s crying made him start to cry, too.
“I honestly didn’t think I’d win,” Morgan humbly stated. “All the other kids were so great.”
He also said that he’s thankful for the support of many people in the community and that winning the scholarship is really going to help out his family.
“It means the world to me. It’s tremendous that I’ve been given this opportunity,” he said gratefully. “I feel I’ve been blessed. It wasn’t my goal when I started high school to win the Leo Volz Scholarship. My goal was to grow as a person and create relationships with other people – my friends, teachers. Lasting relationships. And I feel I’ve done that. Even if I didn’t win this, I feel I’ve had a successful life so far…”
Principal Moore described Morgan as a great kid and a great leader, and added that he couldn’t think of a more well-rounded or deserving individual.
“He has definitely made OHS proud and I am sure that his accomplishments won’t stop once he graduates,” Moore said.
Morgan added that after he called his mom from the office, he then went straight to see coaches Trent Merzon and Tim Meyer, and leadership teacher Guy Fowler and thanked them for their support of him.
“Tanner is a wonderful young man who cares about his school, his community and his family,” Fowler said. “He is so well respected and has made a positive impact on many lives at Oakdale High School, including mine. He truly is deserving of this great honor; he has definitely put in the time. I wish I could have him for another year.”
Morgan reported that he’s currently deciding whether to attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo or UC Davis. He wants to major in Ag Business and possibly double major in Ag Business and Ag Communications. He added that he wants to pick the university to help him excel in academics and also leadership, noting that he really wants to be involved in leadership.
“I want to be a part of something in the school,” he said.
Morgan has been involved in numerous school and community activities. He’s been an Oakdale FFA officer for four years, has served as freshman class vice president, sophomore class president, and student body president for both his junior and senior years – all of which required various types of community service. He’s played baseball, football, and wrestled at OHS. He’s a member of Sierra 4-H club and has also been quite involved with Stanislaus County 4-H in that he’s set up the Farmyard Experience at the Stanislaus County Fair and has also served on staff at the county’s 4-H camp program. Further, he has many chores and duties associated with dealing with approximately 100 head of sheep and about 120 rabbits on his family’s ranch.
He is the son of Gina Bruederle and stepson of Cavan Bruederle of Oakdale, and is big brother to Madison and Blake Morgan.
For the Leo Volz Scholarship, which is exclusive to Oakdale High School seniors, students must meet certain criteria to apply for the scholarship such as having a GPA of 3.75 or higher, and obtaining certain scores on the SAT or ACT. Those students are then invited to apply for the scholarship, but not all do so.
Morgan explained that after applying, there’s a point system assigned to a student’s activities, offices held, and so on. Based on points, a “natural break” in scores occurs and then the finalists are selected from there.
The six finalists this year were required to write an essay about bullying in response to an article about it and then participate in an interview before a six-person panel.
Leo Volz was a farmer in the Oakdale area who, in his will, set up the scholarship fund to pay for tuition and books for a deserving OHS senior.