Abigail Loch was the recipient of the Buffalo Soldier Chapter of ROCKS Inc. $2,500 scholarship. Command and General Staff Officer Course members of the nonprofit professional military officers' organization and other supporters raised most of the money by working the food stands at Kansas City Chiefs games. Submitted photo

Katie Peterson | Staff Writer

“It is hard to pick just one failure because humans in general, especially me, fail so many times in their life. However, I can recall a big moment of failure in my life where I learned the true power of communication.”

This was the beginning of Leavenworth High School senior Abby Loch’s essay that won her the 2020 Buffalo Soldier Chapter ROCKS Inc. scholarship worth $2,500. Loch said she is grateful for the scholarship as she prepares for college at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she plans to study to become a dental hygienist.

“Personally, this scholarship brings a peace of mind to the ever-rising cost of college,” Loch said. “This scholarship will help pay for textbooks, so I can be fully prepared for class.

“This scholarship will help pay for living in the dorms, so I can fully experience college life,” she said. “Lastly, this scholarship will help pay for food, so I am not a starving college student. I feel blessed to be granted this peace of mind provided by this scholarship.”

The Buffalo Soldier Chapter of ROCKS Inc. was founded in the mid 1960s when a group of black officers at the Command and General Staff College informally came together to provide each other with academic support and get to know each other better. As the group grew, the need to formalize it became apparent.

“Brigadier General Roscoe Cartwright, along with Colonel Robert B. Burke, led an initiative to formally organize the growing network. It was, at the time, called ‘the no name group,’” said Maj. Roy George, CGSC student and student president of the Buffalo Soldier Chapter. “In December of 1974, the club decided to vote on a name and The ROCKS Inc. became the name and also established the Roscoe C. Cartwright Scholarship Fund in the namesake’s honor.”

Though the scholarship began at the national level, the local chapters quickly followed suit, George said.

The Buffalo Soldiers Chapter has been awarding academic scholarships for more than 20 years. This year’s scholarship money, a total of $2,850, was raised by CGSC students working in food concession stands at Kansas City Chiefs football games, gift wrapping at the Post Exchange during the holidays and other fundraising efforts.

The scholarship opportunity was sent to nine area high schools and several applications were received. Applicants were required to provide academic information, accomplishments and awards, leadership roles, community service activities, extracurricular activities, a letter of recommendation and an essay about any of the topics provided.

“Abigail’s drive, ambition and essay, which explained how she learned from her failures, stood out the most,” George said.

Loch said she applied for the scholarship because of the values the organization stands for.

“I really admire how the Buffalo Soldier ROCKS Inc. engages in the community and provides mentorship to guide future generations to become the next leaders of America,” Loch said. “It is these kinds of characteristics and standards that the Buffalo Soldier ROCKS Inc. has that motivated me to apply for their scholarship.

“Education allows for people to find and pursue their dreams in life. Education allows people to look at others with a new perspective and help build our own opinions. Most of all, education allows people the power to change the world for the better,” she said. “Without education, our society would not be where it is today. …This power granted by education has changed so many lives and will continue to change so many because it is the stepping stone for creating passionate, future leaders.”

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