Thomas F. Walls Youth Hockey Scholarship Fund
Thomas Walls began playing hockey at the age of six. He grew to love his new sport and soon joined the Evansville's Thunder travel program. He was instrumental in starting Evansville's high school hockey league in 2002. Thomas played hockey for twelve years, and his teams won numerous tournaments and state titles.
An excellent student, Thomas received the Indiana High School Hockey Association Academic All-State Award in 2005 at what would be his final state tournament. Thomas also played varsity soccer for North High School, was a member of the National Honor Society, played the trumpet, guitar and drums, was active in his church, and was voted "Most Photogenic" by his high school classmates.
Tragically, his years of athletic and academic prowess ended abruptly on August 10, 2007 when the 20-year-old Purdue engineering student was fatally stabbed in the neck. To honor his memory, his parents, Lee Ann Shafer and Dennis Walls, established the Thomas F. Walls Youth Hockey Scholarship with the Vanderburgh Community Foundation. Thomas's family, teammates, friends and many members of the community contributed to the scholarship fund. His former teammates have established an annual alumni game and fundraiser, and commissioned a large wooden sculpture depicting their sport. This piece, created by local wood sculptor John McNaughton, now hangs in the atrium of Swonder Ice Arena.
Lee Ann Shafer said, "This scholarship is established to honor my son, to thank the Evansville Youth Hockey Association for providing him with the opportunity and challenge to work hard and succeed, and to recognize future hockey players who achieve success as students and as athletes."
The Thomas F. Walls Youth Hockey Scholarship Fund will be awarded to a graduating high school senior who participate in the Evansville Youth Hockey Association, have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.7 (on a 4.0 scale), and provided that the high school ranks its students, be in the top 20% of their graduating class. Applicants must be planning to pursue post-secondary education at any accredited college, university or technical/vocational school. Selection will be based on academic achievement, level of participation in the EYHA and/or other high school sports, and evidence of excellent character and leadership skills. If there are no qualified EYHA applicants, the scholarship may be made available to other graduating high school seniors who are involved in any sport.