Wednesday, September 20, 2017


Coop Kohli, AU Lakes Zone Director                         September 18, 2017


The AU Ladies National Auxiliary for years made the AU Scholarship Fund a principle part of its program, and for years the AU made an annual donation to the fund to support it. However, as the sport aged, it became increasingly difficult for NLA to maintain its own membership, and in 2014, the group approached AU President Tom Coletti seeking a commitment from the AU to take over the scholarship program, as the group had plans to disband. Funds for scholarship in past years came from bird sales, auctions, and other functions organized by the ladies themselves, but with its declining membership, staffers were being over-worked,volunteers were hard to find, and contributions were declining. At the same time, a number of regional groups began organizing their own auxiliaries and scholarships, cutting into funding sources.

$12000 in Scholarship assistance 
has been passed out by the AU since 2014.

Clearly committed to the mission of ensuring that the AU assists AU youth as they pursue their educational and professional goals, AU President Tom Coletti assured the officers of the NLA that while he was President he would see to it that the AU managed the Scholarship program and its mission of making financial contributions to deserving youth.

To that end, a new AU committee was formed, and Ron Pairan eagerly agreed to lead as Chairman, falling back on his professional expertise for 34 years as an Educator and Youth Guidance Counselor. It was decided that three (3) scholarships would be awarded each year. An application process was put in place, criteria was developed, and the first applications were received in 2016, when a total of 16 applications were received by the June 1 deadline. Educational interests ranged from attending medical school, traveling nursing, veterinary medicine to forensic accounting.

Applications are weighted, based on need, a demonstration of youth giving back to their
Chairman Ron Pairan uses his
34 year as a youth guidance
counselor to supervise the
awarding of AU scholarships.
communities, and leadership. Applicants must be 23 years of age or younger, and must be pigeon flyers, or relatives of pigeon flyers.  Applicants must provide proof of having at least a B average, must provide a personal biography, a photo, and a resume that explains their goals, community involvement and achievements.

In 2017, twenty-four applications have been received, a fifty (50%) increase in participation. To date, the AU is proud to say that the good work of the AU NLA is being continued, and that a total of six (6) scholarships have been awarded, each in the amount of $2000, to applicants from Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Kansas and Massachusetts.

The scholarship application and criteria are featured each quarter in the AU Updates and annual Yearbook. Applications are due each year by June 1, and all applications are given careful consideration. Winners are selected and announced in the Fall of each year. Checks are sent to recipients upon proof of enrollment.

Scholarships mean everything to students struggling to pay for higher education. In my own case, I have a daughter that recently graduated from Northwestern University with a Phd. She got very little help from me, but worked very hard, risked everything, secured every scholarship she had access to, and found a way to make her dream come to fruition. Although she did not participate in this program, these small scholarships may help some struggling student, like my daughter, bide their time in the pursuit of a dream.  I am glad the AU feels a need to be there for students.