Spartan Legacy Scholarship – Honoring Dr. James Spelhaug

Dr. James Spelhaug closed a 41 year career in education, the last 29 of which were dedicated to Pleasant Valley, after the 2018-19 academic year.  Upon the May 2018 announcement of his retirement plans, leadership of the Pleasant Valley Education Foundation secretly collected donations from friends and colleagues sufficient to endow a scholarship in his honor and surprised Dr. Spelhaug with the announcement at the annual Friends of the Foundation event in November, 2018.

Criteria for the scholarship reflect beliefs important to Dr. Spelhaug throughout his career.  The first is how much education can change a person’s life and the importance of pursuing some form of post-secondary education in order to achieve economic self-sufficiency.  Because cost is one of the barriers to starting post-secondary work, Dr. Spelhaug established the first criteria:   a PV graduating senior planning to pursue a vocational, certification, or pre-baccalaureate degree from Scott Community College.  The college offers excellent educational opportunities in a highly cost effective manner.

Across his career, Dr. Spelhaug served on numerous local boards, including United Way, Scott County YMCA, QC Arts, Junior Achievement of the Heartland, Bettendorf Rotary, Bettendorf Chamber of Commerce, QC Health Initiative, Scott County Kids, Pleasant Valley Education Foundation, Asbury Methodist Church Foundation, along with active membership in others.  He believed deeply in the responsibility we each have to make our communities a better place, and so the second criteria is a student who has stood out in his/her service to others.

The final criteria reflects Dr. Spelhaug’s deep pride in Pleasant Valley. The final criteria is only a tie breaker after the first two criteria.   The tie is broken by the student who has been a PV student the longest.

Dr. Spelhaug received his BA in Economics from Luther College and his MA and Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from The University of Iowa.  His wife Julie is on the math faculty at Pleasant Valley High School and they have four children who are PV graduates:  Lexi (’13), Ryan (’15), Ellie (’18) and Carli (’19).

Criteria to Apply:

  • Stand out in his/her service to others and the community
  • Plan to pursue education at Scott Community College
  • Strong work ethic and dedication to education, even in tough circumstances

Scholarship Personal Statement/Essay:

  • Explain why you decided to apply for this scholarship, and why you believe you deserve to be selected. Be sure to add any factors not mentioned on this application that you would like considered, including your post-secondary action plan.