Deyton Love, a 2020 Waterloo West High School graduate, is the recipient of Wartburg College’s Harry and Polly Slife Full Tuition Minority Scholarship.
Love is majoring in environmental studies and sciences. He is the son of David Love Sr. and Vanessa Epps.
“Deyton is an intelligent man who possesses many of the characteristics of a successful student. He is personable, flexible, open-minded and has a natural desire to help others. These attributes have allowed him to succeed in my classroom, and I have no doubt that they will allow him to excel in his future,” said Jenna Hansen, English teacher at Waterloo West High School.
When Love was younger, he would go fishing and hunting with his father. This time spent outdoors grew into a fascination with conservation. He studied lakes and renovation projects across Iowa to learn more about how to preserve the land and protect the wildlife.
“I want to become a water resources engineer, which is water sampling, surveying and testing the water,” Love said.
He also plans to run track and field at Wartburg, and hopes to run professionally after college.
In addition to his passion for conservation, Love also tries to positively impact those around him.
“I want to show people that no matter where you come from you, no matter who you are, no matter what anyone has ever said about you or what anyone has ever put on you to weigh you down, you can still make it, no matter what. You’ve just got to stay true to yourself, and you’ve just got to find that passion in yourself to really push through when times get tough,” Love said.
Nathan Nebbe, Love’s biology teacher at West High, saw that passion on the track and in the classroom.
“Deyton shows a zest for learning and is not afraid of hard work. He is the best short and long hurdler in the entire state of Iowa – a result of year-round dedication to his craft, and has a decidedly positive impact on his fellow classmates. I can always count on Deyton to handle difficult topics; he is self-motivated and an ideal candidate for your scholarship,” Nebbe wrote in his nomination.
The scholarship is named for Harry and Polly Slife, Cedar Falls residents who died Jan. 2, 1994, in a car accident east of Decorah. The couple was honored in 1988 as Eastern Iowa’s “Outstanding Philanthropists.” Harry Slife had been president of Rath Packing Co. and Black Hawk Broadcasting (KWWL), was a state senator, served on the state Board of Regents (1973-79), and was a Wartburg regent (1980 until his death). Their memory lives on through the Polly and Harry Slife Family Fund. The college annually partners with the organization to award a full-tuition scholarship to one African-American student from the Waterloo Community School District. Awards are renewable up to four years.
“When I got interviewed for this scholarship, I knew that it would be a huge deal, and I took it very seriously. I prepped myself for months just for that one moment,” Love said. “It means a lot, and I’m not going to take it for granted.”