Emily G. Bustillos Ruiz hopes to one day become a nurse, and as the latest recipient of the $5,000 Floyd Volker Memorial Scholarship she is one step closer.

Emily is a first-generation student who comes from a low-income Hispanic household. Through Pathways Innovation Center she obtained her CNA as a senior in high school.

She graduated from Midwest High as the class valedictorian.

Her teacher and former coach Daphne Vaughn wrote glowingly of Emily in a letter of recommendation, saying she "will make every dream come true as she truly never gives up and knows just how to grab a gear."

Another letter noted Emily's unwavering commitment to her academic pursuits despite the challenges she faced as a first-generation student from an immigrant background.

A retired Midwest Principal pointed out Emily's leadership skills in various capacities. She served as the Vice President of the Student Council her junior year and played a crucial role in planning and executing numerous school events. He went on: "As a three-sport athlete participating in volleyball, basketball, and track, Emily showcased her dedication to physical fitness, teamwork, and discipline."

This year there were several Volker Scholarship applications with at least one from each school.

The scholarship was funded by Taco Johns, owned by Lori Volker Stilwell (Floyd's daughter), Lisa and Dick Bratton (Floy'd daughter), Lindsay Stilwell (granddaughter) and husband John Haid along with Town Square Media.

Floyd Volker graduated from NCHS in 1940, a two-time-all-state selection and a player on the Mustang's first two state basketball championships in 1939 and 1940.

Floyd then went on to the University of Wyoming where he played 1941-43 and 1946-47. In 1943 the 6’4” Junior started for the Wyoming Cowboys as they won their first and only NCAA National Championship defeating Georgetown. Then went on to defeat St Johns who was the NIT winner in 1943 for the Mythical World Championship game in a charity event to raise funds for the American Red Cross.

At the height of WWII in 1944-45, Floyd joined the Marine Corps and was also selected to play on the Marine Corps team. All but one player on his teamed served during the war and fortunately all came home safely.

Floyd then enjoyed his professional basketball career where he played in Oshkosh Wisconsin with the National Basketball League and the Indianapolis Olympians on the Inaugural NBA season before being traded to Denver to play for what was the Charter Denver Nugget Team in 1952.

After his basketball career was over Floyd moved back to Casper with his wife Joanna where they had four children and many grandchildren. Floyd was employed with Western Distributing in Casper until retirement.

Throughout his life he made a hug impression on everyone he encountered. He was a character, a competitor, and a leader with a heart of gold.

This scholarship is given to a student/athlete every year who exemplifies these same characteristics as Floyd.

The Volker family said Emily is very deserving of this honor and wish her nothing but greatness as she launches into the future.

A traveling trophy will reside at Midwest Highs School for the upcoming year engraved with Emily's name. She was presented with a plaque to keep.

Emily Volker, Courtesy photo
Emily Volker, Courtesy photo

Natrona County School District Students Shine with Pathways Innovation Center

Gallery Credit: Kolby Fedore, TSM

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