Berrien Community Foundation Awards $368,000 In Scholarships

Berrien Community Foundation is helping college-bound students mark major life milestones by awarding $368,000 in scholarships this year.

Berrien Community Foundation awarded scholarships at its annual Scholarship Celebration June 16 at Grand Upton Hall at Lake Michigan College. This year’s theme, “Milestones on the Road of Life,” celebrates the next step in many students’ lives: going off to college. The Foundation awards scholarships to high school seniors, adults returning to the classroom and current college students.

“For some students, a scholarship can make the difference between whether or not they go to college,” said Berrien Community Foundation President Lisa Cripps-Downey. “This year, we are awarding more money to more students than ever before. BCF and the generous donors are excited to help these students be more financially secure as they hit this milestone in life and help offset the cost of college.”

Three studentsSix new scholarship programs were added to family of scholarships Berrien Community Foundation offers each year: Delta Kappa Gamma Rho Chapter Women in Education Scholarship, The Patrick Freehling Memorial Scholarship, The Patricia Gagliardo Kutz-Holland Trades Scholarship, Jean M. Heisner Medical Technician Scholarship, Maybury Scholarship and Wilson Family Scholarship. To date, more than $3.5 million has been awarded in scholarships since the scholarship program began.

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

“Each year, we receive hundreds of scholarship applications,” BCF Program Director Susan Matheny said. “We’re so appreciative of our community volunteers who sit on committees, review applications and make award recommendations. They help because they know the value these scholarships bring to students.”Group of people talking

The 2022 Berrien Community Foundation Scholars are:
Arcadia Gardens Scholarship: Brooke Gerlach (Michigan Lutheran); Edna Bender Scholarship: Suzete Nsiah (Berrien Springs); Berrien Community Foundation Special Recognition: Cali Grenon (Coloma); Bryce Boothby Family Scholarship: Trucel Singleton (Benton Harbor); Coach U Scholarship: Azizah Muhammad (Benton Harbor); Marion and Dan Crossman Scholarship: Mikeala Van Hoven (St. Joseph); Delta Kappa Gamma Rho Chapter Women in Education Scholarship: Hannah Harrison (Grand Valley State University), Camille Bauer (Grand Valley State University); Drews Scholar: Ishaan Gupta (Lakeshore); Dunn Scholarship: Julie Earle (Walden University), Nadege Adamou (Lake Michigan College); Felland Scholarship: Peres Sambu (Lake Michigan College); The Patrick Freehling Memorial Scholarship: Rachel Madison (Homeschool), Lillian Moore (River Valley); Fox Family Scholarship: Lillian Moore (River Valley), Katie Kriner (River Valley); The Patricia Gagliardo Kutz-Holland Trades Scholarship: Katriana Meyer (Niles); Jameson Matthew Gargano Memorial Scholarship: Madison Woodard (Lakeshore); Heart of Cook Scholarship: Jayden Schmaltz (Lakeshore), Darren Fife (Lakeshore), Elliot Measel (Lakeshore), Marika Ruppart (Niles), Matthew DeMeulenaere (Bridgman), Michael Bombin (New Buffalo); Jean M. Heisner Medical Technician Scholarship: Ethan Faris (Lake Michigan College); David A. Hicks Scholarship for the Arts: Rileigh Belle Wine (Lakeshore); The SW MI Human Trafficking Task Force Scholarship: Molly McVay (Coloma); Insurance Management Service Scholarship: Devin Perkins (Benton Harbor); Lehmann-Peapples Trades Scholarship: Vincent Bogucki (St. Joseph); Sondra J. Kaminski Scholarship: Joshton Szczepanski (Lake Michigan Catholic); Sondra J. Kaminski Soccer Scholarship: Seth Walters (St. Joseph); Leonard & Marion Krall Scholarship: Andrew Van Lente (Watervliet), Jake Kroepel (Watervliet); Maybury Scholarship: Zoe Price (New Buffalo); Howard D. Merchant Scholarship: Rachel Fairchild (St. Joseph); Lora Wile Miller Scholarship: Lauren Ford (Lakeshore); Ronald H. Miller Journalism Scholarship: Hailey Hentz (Lakeshore); Carol A. Oehlhaffen Lake Michigan Catholic Scholar: Jackson Jollay (Lake Michigan Catholic), Connor Shooks (Lake Michigan Catholic), Chloe Mills (Lake Michigan Catholic), Joshton Szczepanski (Lake Michigan Catholic); Carol A. Oehlhaffen Youth in Philanthropy Scholarship: Sophia Bomar (Bridgman); F.A. Mason Penwell Nursing Scholarship: Nadege Adamou (Lake Michigan College), Amanda Crow (Lake Michigan College); Cora B. Parkhurst Memorial Scholarship: Amelia Daniels (Berrien Springs); Passaro Family Volunteerism Scholarship: Rileigh Belle Wine (Lakeshore); The Arlene B. Porritt Memorial Scholarship for Curious Kids: Livinia Rosenthal (St. Joseph); June Rollinger Family Scholarship: Joy Bradley (Eastern Michigan University); Stoub Family Scholarship for Working Students: Stuart Lundberg (Niles); St. Joseph Class of 1970 Scholarship: Azizah Muhammad (Benton Harbor); Ken & Jeanne Thomas Memorial Scholarship: Arianna Hackett (Bridgman), Vincent Tedesco (St. Joseph), William Gibson (Brandywine); Trefz Family Scholarship: Olivia Schroeder (New Buffalo); Vincent Tedesco (St. Joseph); Frederick S. Upton Foundation Opportunity Scholarship: Daijah Latin (Berrien Springs), Suzete Nsiah (Berrien Springs), Quinn Whitaker (New Buffalo), Eliza McGinn (New Buffalo), Elizabeth Janet King (Bridgman), Elliot Measel (Lakeshore), Jake Kroepel (Watervliet), Nicholas A. McKean (Buchanan); Arthur & Bonna Vanderlyn Scholarship: Bo Janicki (Hartford), Jasmin Janicki (Hartford), Bianca Lopez (Hartford), David Martinez (Hartford), Maritza Ramón-Flores (Hartford), Alexis Snodgrass (Hartford), Ashton Vassar (Hartford), Eddanie Flores (Hartford), Ana Victoria Hernandez (Hartford), Gillian Kuehnle (Hartford); Rodney Weir Marching Band Scholarship: Garrett Brackett (Buchanan); Welch Family Scholarship: Ja'juan Walker (Benton Harbor); Alton & Millie Wendzel Scholarship: Hannah Hart (Watervliet); Wilson Family Scholarship: William Gibson (Brandywine)

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 2022. For information on starting a scholarship, contact Lisa Cripps-Downey at For information on applying for next year’s scholarships, contact Program Director Susan Matheny at