Darla Winnefeld Memorial Scholarship

Darla Ann (Bender) Winnefeld passed away on October 10, 2020 but left a legacy of volunteerism in which her family and her community benefitted. It is in this spirit that the scholarship was created.

Darla began her journey as a volunteer at the age of 16 when she served as a Candy Striper at the Akron Peoples Hospital (now Cleveland Clinic/Akron General). This is where her life-long joy in volunteering developed. Darla had several jobs, before working at Kent State University where she met her husband Bill. She spent 25 years volunteering and working for the Rootstown School System.

In addition to her work with the school, Darla volunteered with the Rootstown Volunteer Fire Company. She also volunteered at the following medical related facilities: Altercare in Brimfield (4 years), Access to Independence (10 years), and University Hospitals (15 years). Darla was a member of the Rootstown First Congregational UCC.

Darla also enjoyed reading and traveling. Darla traveled to almost every state and many European countries. It was through these travels that inspired her writing. Darla wrote a Rootstown column for the Record-Courier.


The Darla Winnefeld Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to a senior student preparing to graduate from Rootstown High School. The student must be enrolled at Rootstown HS for at least one (1) full academic year. The student must intend to enroll full-time at a University, College, Technical, or Trade school following graduation.  The applicant must submit an essay (not to exceed 1,000 words) describing their volunteer service within the community. The essay may contain photos and web links to illustrate volunteer service. The number of scholarships vary. The approximate annual scholarship award is: $1,000.

Applicants must submit two (2) letters of recommendation. One (1) letter from a Rootstown High School faculty member and one (1) letter from a community representative. The Donor reserves the right to not award the scholarship in any given year. The Scholarship is not renewable.

Application Open January 1 – March 1