‘Big Nut’ gives back off the field to area high school students
FREMONT, Ohio (WTVG) - The ‘Big Nut’ is best known as one of Ohio State’s biggest fans, but his scholarship work, supporting local high school students, largely goes unnoticed.
In his hometown of Fremont, he’s Jon Peters, during football season, he slaps on scarlet and gray face paint, and becomes the ‘Big Nut.’
“My first game was in 1976, my grandfather took me to it, it was a game of all games, and unfortunately we got beat by that team up north, twenty to nothing,” Peters said while standing in front of the entrance to Fremont High School, saying hello to residents prior to a high school volleyball match.
That loss didn’t deter Peters, now 62, he’s been attending just about every home and away game since then.
“We don’t spend money going on Nascar races or we don’t spend money on a boat, we don’t do a lot of that stuff, we save our money and go to Buckeye games,” Peters said.
Since 2011, through appearances and fundraising, the Big Nut Scholarship Foundation has given away over $250,000 dollars to area high school students wanting to attend Ohio State.
“You know, as the great head coach Woody Hayes always talked about paying forward, and that’s what we really need to do,” Peters said. “It’s not what you take with you when you leave this world, it’s what you leave behind, and we’re trying to leave something behind for these students for college who are going to attend Ohio State University.”
Along with schools in Sandusky County, Old Fort High School, and Port Clinton High School are the newest schools added to the scholarship list.
“In 2016 I was a senior at Woodmore High School, and the Big Nut offered his scholarship to us for the first time, and I was the first recipient there,” Kaitlin Gephart, who used the $500 dollar scholarship towards her psychology degree from Ohio State said. “It was really exciting to get the scholarship from him, just because he is such a figurehead for Ohio State.”
Now a consoler at Port Clinton High School, Gephart is helping students apply for that same scholarship.
“I know that my students, I have a few of them that I’ve talked to about going to Ohio State possibly, so I think they will be really excited when they hear that the Big Nut is now offering a scholarship to them,” Gephart said.
Peters said in 2024 Genoa High School and Danbury will be added to the scholarship list as well.
“It’s the happiest day of my life but it’s also the saddest day of my life knowing that there are other students that do not receive one. If I had it my way, I would give one to every student that applies,” Peters said.
See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Please include the title when you click here to report it.
Copyright 2023 WTVG. All rights reserved.