Jaychele Nicole Schenck was counting on a scholarship to further her education, but she wasn’t sure how to go about securing the funding to follow her dreams. Should she blanket the field, filling out multiple applications and hoping for the best or dig deeper into what funders were looking for and see if there was a match?
She doesn’t know what to chalk it up to — intuition? — but she settled on the Rhode Island Foundation PBS Journalism Scholarship. She didn’t know what to expect. And, in fact, she only learned that her application was incomplete when contacted by the foundation that she was a finalist. She submitted a video to meet the requirement.
Then came the news that she won the scholarship, worth up to $60,000 over four years. It is given to high school seniors or college students pursuing a career in broadcasting, communications or journalism.
Her dreams suddenly seemed within reach.
“The leadership and initiative she demonstrated in and out of school reveal the kind of passion and courage it takes to achieve success,” said David W. Piccerelli, president of WSBE Rhode Island PBS in a release. “In a strong field of impressive candidates, Jaychele’s application rose to the top.”
Schenck, who lives in the Norwood section of Warwick, currently writes for SEScoops, an online paper that covers pro-wrestling news. Her most recent project is the documentary video “Wrestling With Whiteness,” which focuses on sharing the stories of Black wrestlers and Black content creators and their experience in the wrestling community. Schenck also associates with Late Night Grin and speaks on multiple podcasts.
“I originally was so nervous to get into the field where so many of my idols were,” said Schenck. “I am now peers with many of the wrestling journalists I look up to. Within the first two weeks, I was breaking exclusives, hosting interviews, writing editorials, and starting my own podcasts.”
Schenck is the co-founder and the executive director of the national youth organization “Gen Z: We Want To Live.” Schenck has also joined forces with Young Voices, Sunrise Providence, Zero Hour, Planned Parenthood, March for Our Lives and the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence, among other organizations.
Schenck is a 2022 graduate of the Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical Center. She plans to attend Bentley University where she will pursue all of her passions and major in both Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Media & Culture.
After she began receiving acclamation and praise for her commentary about professional wrestling on social media she began to consider a career in journalism.
“I began to engage in Twitter groups that were focused on wrestling. It felt so amazing to be in a community, even online, where people were enjoying this form of entertainment as much as I was. After about a year or so of being in the internet wrestling community, I became a wrestling correspondent and personality,” said Schenck.
Schenck was selected by a review committee coordinated by the Rhode Island Foundation. This is the fifth year the Rhode Island PBS Foundation has awarded scholarships of up to $15,000 through a $1 million scholarship fund created at the Rhode Island Foundation.
“We are honored to partner with donors like Rhode Island PBS that appreciate the value of investing in young people and we encourage others to consider this type of support for future students,” said Neil D. Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO. “The impact of their generosity will be felt for decades as the recipients begin their careers and contribute to the civic life of their communities.”
In order to be considered for the scholarship students were required to submit an essay, a current academic transcript, a financial aid worksheet, proof of residency and a letter of recommendation from a teacher or professional attesting to the applicant’s merit toward a successful career in broadcasting, communications or journalism.
“I am so incredibly honored to be receiving the Rhode Island PBS Scholarship,” said Schenck. “This is such a relief for my family and me, now that I will be attending my dream school debt-free. I am so grateful that I am already being recognized for my work in journalism.”
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