Shults Ford owner awards $5,000 scholarships to Steel Valley High School students

When Richard Bazzy’s children were born, he opened bank accounts for them.

He deposited $50 per week for 20 years.

“I wanted them to have the money to be able to go to college or technical school or whatever school they wanted,” said Bazzy, president and owner of Shults Ford in Pine. “I realized not every child has the money to continue their education after high school.”

So in 2020, Bazzy created a $5,000 Richard Bazzy Shults Ford Scholarship Fund at his alma mater, Steel Valley High School in Munhall. He wanted to give back to the community where he was raised and help students have access to higher education.

Students were asked to write a one-page essay on how Steel Valley has prepared them for success beyond high school, and what skills have they developed to ensure that success.

That first year, he chose one awardee.

In 2021, as he read the submissions from 11 applicants, he said he could not select just one.

He presented all with a $5,000 check.

“The essays were mailed to me and when I read the first one, I declared them the winner,” Bazzy said. “However, I didn’t realize there were 10 more attached. All 11 were such compelling stories, I could not pick one. So, we picked all 11 students to receive the scholarship.”

With everything that was endured during the pandemic, Bazzy said he thought that year more than any the assistance was needed.

“To see the look on the kids’ faces was truly priceless,” Bazzy said. “The amount of excitement that beamed from the auditorium was a sight to be seen.”

In 2022, 18 applicants applied.

Bazzy was going to pick one but after reading them he thought, “how could I possibly pick just one?” He once again, decided to award each $5,000, which was announced at a ceremony on Thursday at St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Cathedral in Munhall.

Courtesy of Primetime Shots, Inc.

Riley Furrick, a senior at Steel Valley High School, is one of 18 students awarded a $5,000 scholarship from Richard Bazzy, who owns Shults Ford.

Steel Valley senior Riley Furrick said the gesture shows how generous Bazzy is and it will make paying for college less stressful.

“The amount of pressure to pay for college was intense and he made that just go away,” Furrick said. “I can’t even express how much that means to me. I could never repay him for that, and I really appreciate it so much.”

Classmate Soraya Gibbs, a senior, said it was very kind of Bazzy to reward everybody.

“He was being very thoughtful towards everybody, and he knows how stressful it is for seniors to get scholarships and to pay for college,” Gibbs said. “I think he just wanted to relieve that stress a little bit, so that was very generous of him. Receiving this money means a lot to me personally because my family isn’t the most financially advanced, so this is really nice of him. I’m beyond grateful to have received it.”

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Courtesy of Primetime Shots, Inc.

Soraya Gibbs, a senior at Steel Valley High School, is one of 18 students awarded a $5,000 scholarship from Richard Bazzy, who owns Shults Ford.

Bazzy said if he only gave one, then what about the others who also need the money?

“I want to make sure these kids have an education,” Bazzy said. “They are all deserving of the money.”

He chose his alma mater as a way to continue to be part of the community where he grew up.

“I hope I can change their lives,” said Bazzy, whose children are now 25 and 22 years old. “Our main goal at Shults Ford isn’t to just sell cars, but to make a difference in the city of Pittsburgh. I can’t tell you how honored I am to be able to provide opportunity, and my only regret is that I cannot help everybody.”

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 724-853-5062, jharrop@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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