Inaugural scholarship to honor fallen classmate
By David Yarger
This past spring, the Niagara-Wheatfield High School community endured a heartbreaking loss. Michael Ziegler - son, student, athlete and friend -- tragically passed away in March.
To honor Ziegler, a member of the football, wrestling and lacrosse teams, a scholarships were put in place by donations from the Ziegler family and friends, as well as the Niagara-Wheatfield Sports Alliance, to carry on Ziegler's passion for athletics.
The scholarships, each for $750, were awarded to one male and female senior student-athlete at N-WHS. Each honoree had been accepted into a college or trade school for the fall of 2018 and had earned an N-W red varsity letter or had been a three-sport athlete for a minimum of three high school years.
The inaugural scholarships were awarded to Zack Belter and Callista Zayatz.
Belter will attend St. Bonaventure University studying criminal justice and business this fall, along with playing Division 1 lacrosse for the Bonnies. While at N-WHS, Belter played four years of varsity hockey and three years of varsity lacrosse.
Zayatz will attend the University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine this fall, studying biomedical sciences. While at N-WHS, she played varsity volleyball, basketball and competed in varsity track and field, for four years each.
Of the award, Belter said, "It's impossible to describe what it meant to me when Mrs. Ziegler called me to say I had won Mike's scholarship. Mike was an unbelievable athlete and even better kid, and it's truly an honor."
Zayatz said, "When I was told that I won the scholarship, I felt very honored knowing that it was in his name. It means so much to know that it is in memory of him and I know that he will not be forgotten any time soon after seeing how Wheatfield students came together to host a vigil for him. I am so grateful to be one of the first recipients of this scholarship."