White Lake graduate receives $16,000 scholarshipAli Haines plans to use money for medical biology education at USD
By: Frannie Sprouls, The Daily Republic
WHITE LAKE — Every day, Ali Haines checked the mail to see if there was anything for her.
Then came a letter from the Modern Woodmen of America notifying her of a $16,000 scholarship.
“I just hung it up on the bulletin board, waited for mom to get home from work,” Haines said. “Then I handed it to her, and she was like, Oh! This is great!’ ”
Haines, of White Lake, is one of three in the nation to receive the College Fraternal Scholarship. The funds are distributed equally over four years of $4,000 per year for undergraduate study at the accredited college or university of the student’s choice.
Haines thought she might not receive any scholarships from the organization.
“I had a chance, since they give out quite a few,” she said. “There’s some one-time, $500 ones. So I knew there was a chance that I’d at least get something. But the big one I wasn’t expecting.”
Her dad, Wayne Haines, was equally surprised.
“I thought maybe it was three from every community,” he said with a laugh. “We went past that point pretty fast. It was exciting to see we reached that level.”
The requirements for the scholarship are simple: be a secondary school senior, a beneficial member of Modern Woodmen for at least two years and be in the upper half of the graduating class. Modern Woodmen of America is a fraternal benefit society based in Rock Island, Ill., that serves 760,000 members nationwide, offering life insurance, annuity, investment and banking products, along with fraternal member benefits for families and their communities.
Haines had no trouble with the requirements or the essays that went along with the application.
“I’m a decent writer,” Haines said. “That helped me out a lot, since a lot of it was how your essays are and what you wrote about.”
She was also aided by her volunteer hours and extracurricular activities, like coaching basketball and helping out in the community.
Haines is also a state champion in the triple jump, and excelling at athletics is nothing new for the Haines family.
Haines has four older brothers and one older sister, all who went on to college sports. Wyatt and Jesse Haines played football for the University of South Dakota and Oakly played football at South Dakota State University before transferring to USD. Colte was on the USD track team during his college years.
Tia participated in the USD men’s and women’s track team as well. She will graduate in December as a physician’s assistant.
“We’ve got a lot of gold medals in the family, so it was only right that I keep up the tradition,” she said. “Athletics were always huge.”
Her older brothers and sister helped her set the standard to be a champion. Haines’ brother Colte came back in the spring to help her train during track season.
“He worked my tail off,” she said. “I would never be as good as I am now without him.”
Through her high school career, Haines participated in volleyball and basketball as well. Her favorite of the three is track.
“It was always nice to do it because you hold yourself accountable,” she said. “There’s nobody else you can place the blame on if something goes wrong.”
Haines worked hard at her schoolwork, too. She graduated top of her class, alongside her best friend. They had the same GPA, took the same classes, same everything, Haines said. After competing for scholarships and in the classroom, the pair shared a valedictorian speech.
She said one of the reasons she was able to balance school and athletics was her parents.
“My parents really kept me grounded,” Haines said. “You have curfew and you’re going to meet that curfew, if not early. That’s one of the main reasons that I was able to be top of my class and not spending too much time going out late at night.”
Wayne Haines said his daughter works hard at what she does and laughed when she said he kept a pretty tight leash on her during high school.
Of her five older siblings, Haines said she is following in the footsteps of her sister Tia, who was a state champion in track with a good volleyball career and went on to participate in college track.
Haines will use her scholarship to attend USD to earn a degree in medical biology.
In mid-June, she traveled to USD with her dad to talk to the financial aid office. There she found out she had more scholarship money than was needed for that year.
“And he’s like, ‘Whoa, OK! This will be fun!’ ” she said with a laugh.
Haines will also be competing on the USD track team, which wasn’t in her initial plans. But her dad and siblings talked her into it, telling her to give it a chance and if she doesn’t like it, she doesn’t have to continue.
“I think it’ll keep me in shape, it’ll be an easy way to make friends and it’ll keep me the same way I was in high school,” Haines said. “I had my sports and I had my school. So why not stay the same in college?”
After graduating from USD, Haines plans to return to White Lake. The scholarship she earned from the medical school aims for recipients to settle in rural areas after graduation.
“I’d like to stay local,” she said. “I think giving back to my community who helped me would be a huge thing for me.”