Nearly two years later, Staley grad still hasn’t seen a dime of college scholarship

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UPDATE: The woman behind this college scholarship kept her promise and made sure both Staley grads got their money. Read more about this "problem solved" here.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Nearly two years ago, two Staley grads were awarded a special college scholarship, but they still haven't gotten it.

Mark and Joan Brauninger showed a photo of their daughter Jillian smiling, holding a plaque proclaiming her a winner of a $500 college scholarship – she was one of two young women from Staley High School in Kansas City to win the award in 2017.

“It was a wonderful evening, gala evening,” Mark said. "They announced the winners and brought them up.”

The Brauningers paid $35 a piece to attend the banquet to watch Jillian be honored. She planned to use the $500 to help pay for her first semester at Creighton University.

Jillian Brauninger

There was just one problem. Jillian and the other honoree that evening never saw a dime.

Jillian even tried calling the woman in charge of the scholarship who promised her it was just an oversight and she’d soon receive a check in the mail. She never did.

Even Jillian’s parents tried contacting the woman, multiple times over the last two years, and couldn’t get answers.

“She doesn't answer phones, doesn't answer emails,” Mark said. "Up to the point of us sitting here today, we never heard another word.”

That’s something that baffles the Brauningers because the scholarship had special meaning. It was in memory of Ashton L. O’Guinn, a Staley High School graduate murdered seven years ago.

Dewanna O’Guinn, Ashton’s mother, created the scholarship and is in charge of giving it out.

According to the scholarship’s Facebook page, it has been offered since 2013. The page includes the photos of multiple recipients from throughout the years, but no winners are shown for 2017 – the year Jillian and her classmate won.

“To have a memorial scholarship set up for your son and then to renege on the reward,” Mark said, shaking his head in disbelief.

But the Brauningers said they would have forgotten the whole episode if O’Guinn had just called them to let them know there was some type of problem and she wouldn’t be able to make good on the $500 promise.

“We would have been fine with that,” said Mark, though he and his wife had to scramble to make up for the missing funds.

The Brauningers, however, decided to share their story with FOX4 Problem Solvers after they noticed that O’Guinn was again offering the scholarship this year.
They don’t want another family to have the same experience.

FOX4 Problem Solvers paid a visit to O’Guinn’s Kansas City home. But no one answered the door. We later reached O’Guinn by phone. She blamed the missing scholarship money on what she referred to as a “staffing issue.” She said the woman in charge of delivering the money no longer worked for her.

She promised FOX4 the two girls would have their money before the end of March. That’s good news, but two years too late.

Also concerning to Problem Solvers is that we couldn’t find a catering license for O’Guinn who runs a catering business and caters the scholarship banquet. We also couldn’t find a business license for the event space where this year’s banquet is supposed to be held.

We’ll be checking back on that promise to pay the scholarship money. So for now, this is a Problem Solvers in the works.

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