Berrien Community Foundation awards over $500,000 in scholarships to 86 students

BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. -- The Berrien Community Foundation (BCF) announced it awarded 91 scholarships to 86 college-bound students, totaling $533,000 this year.

BCF hosted its “Knowledge Is Sweet” Scholarship Celebration on Thursday, June 13, at Grand Upton Hall at Lake Michigan College, where the scholarships were awarded.

“For the first time ever, we are sending more than half a million dollars out to students chasing their academic goals,” said BCF President Lisa Cripps-Downey. “That is $500,000 in student loans that they collectively don’t have to worry about. It’s because of our wonderful and generous donors that we have reached this milestone.”

BCF offers scholarships for graduating high school seniors, students currently in college, students going into the trades, and even adults returning to the classroom.

BCF officials say four new scholarships were added for the 2023-2024 school year, including the David and Kathleen Bradley Scholarship, the Jon and Chenai Gillispie Trades Scholarship, New Futures Scholarship, and the Ruth Ann and Louis Harvey Benton Harbor Youth HBCU Scholarship.

“It’s because of families like the Bradleys, Gillispies and Harveys that we are able to say that, to date, Berrien Community Foundation has awarded more than $4.3 million to local students,” said Berrien Community Foundation Program Director Susan Matheny. “There’s so much to experience at college or trade school. These scholarships allow students to learn and explore all that higher education has to offer.”

The scholarships were established by donors to support students who excel in academics, community service, the arts, or are pursuing a certain career path.

Community volunteers sit on review committees to make award recommendations to the BCF Board of Directors.

The 2024 Berrien Community Foundation Scholars are:

  • All God’s Children Community Choir Scholarship: Joseph Love (Lakeshore)
  • Alton and Millie Wendzel Scholarship: Samuel Loy (Michigan Lutheran), Marleigh Schultz (Watervliet)
  • Arcadia Gardens Scholarship: Daniela Delgado (Hartford), Travis Locke (Bridgman)
  • Arthur and Bonna Vanderlyn Scholarship: Deidre Beltran (Hartford), Harmony Bennett (Hartford), Tiyanna Covington (Hartford), Elizabeth Eide (Hartford), Isabel Garcia (Hartford), Ivan Lopez (Hartford), Jairo Lopez (Hartford), Jonathan Martinez Calderon (Hartford), Rebeca Pacheco (Hartford), Lillian Price (Hartford), Jesus Rivas-Jimenez (Hartford)
  • Bryce Boothby Family Scholarship: Kamden White (Benton Harbor)
  • Carol A. Oehlhaffen Our Lady of the Lake Scholar: Colin Casey (Our Lady of the Lake), Allison Glendening (Our Lady of the Lake), Hazel Hysell (Our Lady of the Lake), Claire Jollay (Our Lady of the Lake), Kyra Krieger (Our Lady of the Lake), Matthew Lage (Our Lady of the Lake), Ronan Marsh (Our Lady of the Lake), Owen McLoughlin (Our Lady of the Lake), Luke Milanowski (Our Lady of the Lake), Nathan Poll (Our Lady of the Lake), Abigail Schrauben (Our Lady of the Lake), Isabelle Schrauben (Our Lady of the Lake), Julia Wilcox (Our Lady of the Lake), Hanna Yankauskas (Our Lady of the Lake)
  • Carol A. Oehlhaffen Youth in Philanthropy Scholarship: Lauren Laws (Watervliet)
  • Coach U Scholarship: Quianna Bennett (Benton Harbor), Jaeden Meeks (Benton Harbor)
  • Cora B. Parkhurst Memorial Scholarship: Alex Martinek (Berrien Springs)
  • David A. Hicks Scholarship for the Arts: Ella Harris (Watervliet)
  • David and Kathleen Bradley Scholarship: Paige Culberson (Watervliet)
  • Drews Scholar: Kieran Allan (Lakeshore)
  • Dunn Scholarship: Grace Jewell (Lake Michigan College), Elisa Sypian (Lake Michigan College)
  • Edna Bender Memorial Scholarship: Adaliah Bennett (Berrien Springs)
  • F.A. Mason Penwell Nursing Scholarship: Luketsha Marlow (Lake Michigan College), Hannah Nesan (Lake Michigan College)
  • Felland Scholarship: Jaden Pailing (Andrews University), Payton Yarbrough (Southwestern Michigan College)
  • Fox Family Scholarship: Emily Reitz (River Valley), Austin York (River Valley)
  • Frederick S. Upton Opportunity Scholarship: Blake Bacon (Lakeshore), Elle Graebel (Michigan Lutheran), Sean Goodger (Niles), Paul Thomas (Niles), Joshua Tomlinson (Lakeshore), Brianne Webb (Buchanan), Jennah White (Lakeshore), Isaac Zahrt (St. Joseph)
  • Howard D. Merchant Memorial Scholarship: Kayla Valdes (St. Joseph)
  • Insurance Management Service Scholarship: Jaeden Meeks (Benton Harbor)
  • James and Bernadette McKittrick Agricultural and Environmental Scholarship: Andrew George (Niles), Evangelina Kerschbaum (Lakeshore)
  • Jameson Matthew Gargano Memorial Scholarship: Kieran Allan (Lakeshore)
  • Jean M. Heisner Medical Technician Scholarship: Dorothy Culwell (Lake Michigan College), Kylie Prisk (Lake Michigan College)
  • Jon and Chenai Gillispie Trades Scholarship: Gaige Neumann (Niles)
  • June Rollinger Family Scholarship: Kaylyn Moore (Niles)
  • Ken and Jeanne Thomas Memorial Scholarship: Quianna Bennett (Benton Harbor), Gabriel Jaramillo Williamson (St. Joseph)
  • Lehmann-Peapples Trades Scholarship: Nathan Haygood (Berrien Springs)
  • Leonard and Marion Krall Memorial Scholarship: Anslie Saylor (Watervliet)
  • Lora Wile Miller Memorial Scholarship: Madison Cornelius (Buchanan), Makenzie McConomy (Lakeshore)
  • Marion and Dan Crossman Scholarship: Kadence Bixby (Niles)
  • Maybury Scholarship: Savannah DeVries (University of Phoenix), Kahlie Snowdon (Buchanan)
  • New Futures Scholarship: Melissa Cardozo-Aviles (Watervliet), Sumit Sarker (Berrien Springs)
  • Passaro Family Volunteer Scholarship: Marina Mendes Ferreira (Lakeshore)
  • Patricia Gagliardo Kutz-Holland Trades Scholarship: Anya Sexton (Watervliet)
  • Patrick Freehling Memorial Scholarship: Sarah Hackett (Lighthouse Connections Academy), Abigail King (Bridgman)
  • Rodney Weir Marching Band Scholarship: Lydia Koshar (Watervliet)
  • Ronald H. Miller Journalism Scholarship: Abby Lomoro (Watervliet)
  • Ruth Ann and Louis Harvey Benton Harbor Youth HBCU Scholarship: Brianna Spencer (Benton Harbor)
  • Sondra J. Kaminski Scholarship: Jade Alpert (St. Joseph)
  • Sondra J. Kaminski Soccer Scholarship: Camp Daniels (St. Joseph)
  • Southwest Michigan Human Trafficking Taskforce Scholarship: Grace Jewell (Lake Michigan College)
  • St. Joseph Class of 1970 Scholarship: Shaniya Davis (Benton Harbor)
  • Steven Marsh and Family Scholarship: Austin York (River Valley)
  • Stoub Family Scholarship for Working Students: Klay Raschke (Berrien Springs)
  • Trefz Family Scholarship: Kylie Ott (Bridgman), Giada Pawlowski (New Buffalo)
  • Wilson Family Scholarship: Wesley McGinn (New Buffalo)

In addition to the scholars above, previous BCF scholars were able to renew scholarships, adding to the total amount of dollars sent out in scholarship funds.

BCF officials add scholarship applications for next year will be available on its website in December.

For information on starting a scholarship, contact Lisa Cripps-Downey at [email protected].

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