Apr 6, 2021 - News
Des Moines' North High School establishes $560,000 scholarship fund for students of color
Siblings Paul and Catherine Williams graduated from North High School in th 1930s. Photos courtesy of DMPS

A brother and sister who graduated from North High School in the 1930s left an estate of nearly $560,000 for a new scholarship for students of color, school officials announced last week.

Why it matters: Minority and low-income students in Iowa are less likely to earn a college degree. This will help close financial barriers for students at North.

The backdrop: Paul Williams was a psychiatrist and World War II veteran who died in 2017.

  • Catherine Williams had a dance career early in her life and ultimately retired as the deputy commissioner for the Iowa Department of Social Services. She died last year at 105.
  • Paul left his estate to Catherine, who used their combined assets to create the scholarship.

The bottom line: "The gift will absolutely and undeniably change the lives of current and future Polar Bears,” principal Ben Graeber said.

This story first appeared in the Axios Des Moines newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.


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