Concert, ‘Run for Wayne’ meet $10K goal for Burlison scholarship

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 April 2015 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The Albion High School Alumni Foundation will offer a new scholarship this year in memory of Wayne Burlison, the district’s elementary band teacher who died at age 36 from colon cancer on March 26, 2014.

Burlison also served as assistant marching band director, assistant jazz band director and was active in many community musical groups. He also was co-founder of the Albion Running Club and spearheaded a fitness program through the Albion Free Methodist Church that helped many people run their first 5-kilometer race.

A concert on Jan. 30 included 20 musical acts and raised about $7,000. A “Run for Wayne” on March 28 raised another $3,000 towards the scholarship. The proceeds from the events met the $10,000 goal for an endowed scholarship in honor of Burlison.

Some of the leaders of the Albion Running Club met with Burlison’s family and Chris Haines, president of the Alumni Foundation, for a check presentation today.

The group includes, from left: Thom Jennings, Running Club communications director; Brian Krieger, Running Club executive director, Adam Burlison; Lisa Burlison; Mark Moore, Run for Wayne race director; Chris Haines from the Alumni Foundation; and Shannon Brett, board member for Running Club.

The first scholarship for $500 will be awarded in June at Class Night. It will be presented to a graduate with a passion for the arts, who demonstrates perseverance and overcame challenges, said Mrs. Burlison. She and her son Adam will be on the selection committee with members of the Alumni Foundation’s Scholarship Committee.

The scholarship winner doesn’t have to be majoring in music or the performing arts, but needs to participate in the fine arts in college.

“Wayne believed anyone could be a life-long musician,” his wife said.

She is grateful the community responded to the concert and the “Run for Wayne” and raised the money for the scholarship. She thanked the Running Club for organizing the run and walk on March 28 and Mike Thaine, the high school band teacher, for taking the lead in the concert on Jan. 30.

“I’m very grateful for how it all came together,” Mrs. Burlison said. “I couldn’t have done it by myself. They’ve turned into beautiful community events.”