Berrien Community Foundation Sets Record-Breaking Year in Scholarships

Berrien Community Foundation had a record-breaking year in the total amount of dollars given away through scholarships.Brandywine senior Javier Garcia poses for a fun photo outside the high school. Garcia is the 2021 recipient of the Lehmann-Peapples Trades Scholarship.

Split between 73 scholarships, $296,500 has been awarded for the 2021-2022 school year, the foundation has announced.

“This year we are awarding more scholarship dollars than we ever have,” said BCF President Lisa Cripps-Downey. “Thanks to the generosity of our donors and these outstanding students, it’s a great year for scholarships!”

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

More than 295 scholarship applications were received and then reviewed by committees. Five scholarships were added to this year’s list of available scholarships for Berrien County students — whether they were 2021 graduates or adults pursuing a college degree. These new scholarships are: Marion and Dan Crossman Scholarship, De Groot Foundation Scholarship, Fox Family Scholarship, June Rollinger Family Scholarship and Coach U Scholarship.

More than 40 community volunteers reviewed and made award recommendations.  “Our volunteer review committees took on such a monumental task this year.”  said BCF Program Manager Susan Matheny. “The financial need was more evident than ever and the candidates were all terrific, which made these decisions very difficult.”


The 2021 Berrien Community Foundation Scholars are:

All God’s Children Community Choir Scholarship: George Weber (St. Joseph); Arcadia Gardens Scholarship: Jasmin Gomez (Bangor); Edna Bender Scholarship: Ian Ochieng (Berrien Springs); Bryce Boothby Family Scholarship: Jonathon Jollay (Lake Michigan Catholic); Coach U Scholarship: Marlon Bowman (Benton Harbor); Marion and Dan Crossman Scholarship: Kate Gersonde (St. Joseph); De Groot Foundation Scholarship: Ruth Aguilera (Watervliet), Abigail Burrows (Watervliet), Charis Lemoine (Coloma), Ashley Little (Coloma), Danyel Munson (Watervliet), Joshua Reeves (Watervliet), Aria Richards (Watervliet), Karon Smith (Coloma), Kimberly Spaulding (Coloma), Kayla Walter (Coloma)

Jenna Andersen is one of the 2021 ); Frederick S. Upton Opportunity Scholarship recipients.

Jeffrey Evan Demko Scholarship: Luke Blesy (Bridgman); Drews Family Scholar: Carson Clark (Lakeshore); Dunn Scholarship: Charlie Kern (St. Joseph), Yulian Tarantino (Benton Harbor); Felland Scholarship: Julie Antonini Belin(St. Joseph), Akeeya Alexander (Benton Harbor); Fox Family Scholarship: Kaylee Jirtle (River Valley), Joshua Kidder (River Valley); John E.N. & Dede J. Howard Instrumental Music Scholarship: Harold Milliner (Berrien Springs)  Jameson Matthew Gargano Memorial Scholarship: Abigail Baker (Lakeshore), Nathan Marohn (Lakeshore); Heart of Cook Scholarship: Bodee Davis (New Buffalo), Aria Richards (Watervliet), Matthew Rochefort (Lake Michigan Catholic), Lily Siewert (Lakeshore), Grace Weckwerth (Watervliet), Garrett West (Berrien Springs); David A. Hicks Scholarship for the Arts: Andrea Haberichter (New Buffalo); Insurance Management Service Scholarship: Tyler Meeks (Benton Harbor); Lehmann-Peapples Trades Scholarship: Javier Garcia (Brandywine); Sondra J. Kaminski Scholarship: Maya Hunter (St. Joseph); Sondra J. Kaminski Soccer Scholarship: Nathaniel Green (Lake Michigan Catholic); Leonard & Marion Krall Scholarship: Abigail Burrows (Watervliet); Howard D. Merchant Scholarship: Claire Colclough (St. Joseph); Lora Wile Miller Scholarship: Seth Shiel (New Buffalo); Ronald H. Miller Journalism Scholarship: Cole Haskins (New Buffalo); Terrence Joseph Mulvihill Scholarship: Abigail Vitale (New Buffalo); Carol A. Oehlhaffen Lake Michigan Catholic Scholar: Jenna Cutter (Lake Michigan Catholic), Katelyn Glendening (Lake Michigan Catholic), Andrew Glotzbach (Lake Michigan Catholic), Matthew Warner (Lake Michigan Catholic); Carol A. Oehlhaffen Youth in Philanthropy Scholarship: Bailey Bickel (Niles); F.A. Mason Penwell Nursing Scholarship: Maddison Edwards (Lake Michigan College); Cora B. Parkhurst Memorial Scholarship: Garrett West (Berrien Springs); Pasquale Santaniello Family Scholarship: Scotland Philip (Buchanan); Passaro Family Volunteerism Scholarship: Sanjana Kona (Lakeshore); The Arlene B. Porritt Memorial Scholarship for Curious Kids’: Sophia Dilley (St. Joseph), Abigail Burrows (Watervliet); June Rollinger Family Scholarship: Yulian Tarantino (Benton Harbor); Stoub Family Scholarship for Working Students: Jeacy Corzine (Bridgman); St. Joseph Class of 1970 Scholarship: Star Williams (Benton Harbor); Ken & Jeanne Thomas Memorial Scholarship: Natalee McNeil (Bridgman); Trefz Family Scholarship: Ruth Aguilera (Watervliet), April Gaines (Countryside); Frederick S. Upton Opportunity Scholarship: Jenna Anderson (Berrien Springs), Luke Bingaman (St. Joseph), John Mansfield (St. Joseph), Anna Miesse (St. Joseph), Harold Milliner (Berrien Springs), Jazmin Moron (Watervliet), Dominick Thornton (Niles), Grace Weckwerth (Watervliet); Arthur & Bonna Vanderlyn Scholarship: Vanessa Diaz (Hartford), Deana Perez (Hartford), Lainey Goodson (Hartford); Welch Family Scholarship: Karon Smith (Coloma); Alton & Millie Wendzel Scholarship: Danyel Munson (Watervliet)


In addition to the scholars listed above, there were students who received renewable scholarships from previous years.

Scholarship applications for next year will be available at high school counseling offices and on the Foundation's website in December 2021.