University of Saint Francis awards Pay It Forward Scholarship to Huntington’s Alexia Ramirez

FORT WAYNE, Ind.—The University of Saint Francis congratulates Huntington North High School senior Alexia Ramirez as the winner of the full-tuition Pay It Forward Scholarship for 2023.

Saint Francis Interim President Dr. Lance Richey and WANE-TV’s Emily Dwire honored Ramirez with the scholarship in a ceremony on Thursday at Huntington North. Saint Francis partners with WANE-TV to promote the annual Pay It Forward Scholarship. Alexia was joined by her parents Refugio and Alejandra Ramirez at the ceremony.

The Pay It Forward Scholarship has a four-year value of more than $140,000, covering tuition and fees, and is awarded to an incoming Saint Francis student who goes above and beyond to serve others and “pay it forward.” Saint Francis selected Ramirez after she submitted an essay and shared her story in a WANE-TV feature video. Ramirez will enter Saint Francis in the 2024-25 academic year.

The other Pay It Forward finalists—Bella VanNatter of Kokomo, Indiana, and Levi Wisler of Greenwood, Indiana—will receive half-tuition scholarships.

Ramirez’s entry explained how she started a Spanish club at the Boys & Girls Club of Huntington County to help Spanish-speaking children who are having trouble with English, and to help other students learning Spanish.

Ramirez was motivated by her struggles with language as a child.

“Knowing that I was able to make a difference in a child’s life was all the motivation I needed to go on with it,” she wrote in her submitted essay. “I was determined to help even if one child in my community did not go through the same struggles I had faced.”

Ramirez recruited two other students to help her, and the club continues to grow and assist children with Spanish and English.

“Service to others is one of the responsibilities each person should do and has a meaningful aspect in my life,” Ramirez wrote. “The value of service to others has not only shaped my perspective but has also been a principle in the choices I make in my life. I believe service is how you build stronger, more compassionate and closeknit communities.”

Ramirez plans to study nursing at Saint Francis and will continue to work with the Spanish Club.

Ramirez is the second Huntington North student to win the full-tuition scholarship, following in the footsteps of last year’s winner, Audrie Bowman. Other previous winners and their high schools: Crystal Grunawalt (Concordia Lutheran), Kevin Brown (Adams Central), Maria Solis (Bishop Luers), Alexis Treesh (Prairie Heights) and Mary Jones (Adams Central).

For more information on the Pay It Forward Scholarship, contact the Office of Admissions at 260-399-8000 or

Founded in 1890 in the Catholic Franciscan tradition, the University of Saint Francis offers more than 60 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs through the College of Health Sciences and the College of Arts, Sciences and Business. In addition to its traditional programs, Saint Francis designs focused curricula for working adults in Fort Wayne, Crown Point and online. USF Downtown houses the music technology program while offering enhanced internship and networking opportunities for students. The University of Saint Francis, recognized as an NAIA Five-Star Champion of Character institution, has 18 athletic programs boasting two individual and four team NAIA national championships. Approximately 1,900 students from a broad geographic region attend Saint Francis.