BVU scholarship music to band member’s ears

Friday, May 22, 2020
Storm Lake High School graduate Santiago Moral will play trumpet at Buena Vista University in the fall while studying elementary education. Moral is one of 15 recipients of BVU’s new Invest in Rural Iowa Scholarship.

Santiago Moral’s last semester at Storm Lake High School didn’t go as planned. COVID-19 disrupted classes, closed campus, canceled prom, and placed a question mark over commencement exercises.

The one that hurt Moral the most? The Iowa Jazz Championships, which were scheduled for early April in Des Moines. Storm Lake was one of the Class 4A competitors to earn a berth.

“Seeing the Iowa Jazz Championships cancelled was really disappointing,” says Moral, a senior and Outstanding Soloist honored for his trumpet performances during the jazz season. “We had worked so hard to make it there. That one hurt the most for me this spring.”

Moral’s season of disappointment received a lift recently, however, when Conner Ellinghuysen, Buena Vista University Director of Admissions, conducted a Zoom call to Moral, using the session to inform him of his qualification as one of BVU’s inaugural group of 15 Invest in Rural Iowa Scholarships. The $5,000 annual award Moral has earned (and may renew in subsequent years) is the result of a $1 million gift by an anonymous BVU benefactor. The aim of the program is to aid and encourage select BVU students from a 19-county region of Northwest Iowa. The hope is that students like Moral will use the scholarship, gain an education, and make a difference in their community.

“I want to be an elementary teacher,” Moral says.

When he took the great news about the Invest in Rural Iowa Scholarship, he sat in silence, a bit stunned. He couldn’t quite believe what he was hearing. When he told his mother, she shed tears of joy.

“My mom is proud of me,” he says.

This scholarship and BVU’s strong School of Education will keep Moral in Storm Lake for his collegiate experience. He’ll help his mother, Jennifer Moral, a registered nurse who is working toward her bachelor of science in nursing, care for his two younger brothers at home. He’ll also play in the growing BVU bands program headed by Tiff Wurth, Director of Athletic Bands.

“I’m excited to be able to continue playing trumpet in college,” says Moral.