The Oconomowoc Scholarship Fund is proud to award $147,000 of new college funding to eleven local high school seniors. The non-profit fund encourages post-secondary education of students based on their academic achievements, community involvement, character, and financial need. Since it was created in 1947 by C. W. Brown, the owner of the Oconomowoc Enterprise, the Oconomowoc Scholarship Fund has awarded over $2 million to 581 students. Donations from the public are always appreciated. In alphabetical order, this year’s winners are:
Larissa Blazek took part in a student building project in a remote village in Peru, and noticed that people had no access to medicine or vaccines. That’s when she decided to become a doctor and try to save lives. Larissa has already earned a license as a Certified Nursing Assistant and ranks 10th in her class of 411. She was captain of the JV and varsity dance teams and was named an All-American by the Universal Dance Association.
The daughter of Dean and Jennifer Blazek of Oconomowoc will major in biology and Spanish at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is eligible to receive $12,000 over four years as the winner of a Hilbert Scherffius Scholarship presented by the Oconomowoc Scholarship Fund.
Teachers call Tessa Christopherson incredibly kind, respected by her peers and ‘one of those rare gems who can do it all.’ The daughter of Annette and Todd Christopherson of Oconomowoc ranks 12th in her class. She has played varsity volleyball since her sophomore year, was named a Scholar Athlete, and helps coach a middle school volleyball team. She also does volunteer work for her church, a local nursing home, and for Special Olympics.
As the winner of another Hilbert Scherffius award, Tessa will be eligible to receive $12,000 over four years. She plans to study bio-engineering at UW-Madison because she wants to help treat and cure life-threatening diseases.
Sarah Henke also wants to help people in need by ‘giving them a second chance to be healthy.’ The daughter of John Henke of Watertown will be eligible for $12,000 over four years while she majors in pre-med and Spanish at UW-Milwaukee. She has been a key part of several events to raise awareness about global issues like poverty and access to clean water.
Teachers say Sarah defines the idea of grit. They call her ‘a fighter with extraordinary maturity, who sets high expectations for herself and has an exceptional desire to be an agent of change.’
Erin Kennon used to watch ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ on television and dream of being a ‘superhero in the operating room.’ Her first step toward becoming a doctor will be studying pre-med at UW-Madison, where she will be eligible to receive $12,000 over four years as the winner of another Hilbert Scherffius award.
The daughter of Kathy Kennon of Oconomowoc is on four national honor societies, has been a member of the Trinity Irish Dancers for 12 years, and planned a drive to collect pet supplies for the Humane Society. Teachers call Erin a dynamic student with an unmatched ability to get people to act on important issues.
Megan Le is eligible for $12,000 over four years as the winner of a new OSF scholarship, the M. Jane Hartnett Award, created in memory of a long-time Oconomowoc teacher who recently passed away. Megan Le ranks in the top 10% of her class and helps tutor students in math, science and Spanish.
Megan is also an Advanced Placement Scholar and a member of the Student Council. The daughter of Amanda and Tan Le of Oconomowoc has been a member of the robotics team since her freshman year. She wrote a business plan that won first place among 54 teams at a robotics competition in Chicago. She loves to come up with ideas and then create models of them, so she will major in mechanical engineering at UW-Madison.
Zach Lemke ranks 11th in his class, made the High Honor Roll every semester, was head of design for the robotics team, and is also a Boy Scout.Teachers say he is inquisitive, insightful and has an unrivaled passion for learning. The son of Roger and Anna Lemke of Oconomowoc wins a scholarship from the Debbink Family Foundation, making him eligible for $12,000 over four years.
Zach toured a nuclear reactor in sixth grade and became fascinated with atoms and even smaller particles. He will major in Nuclear Engineering at UW-Madison and hopes to eventually ‘open new doors into what humanity can achieve.’
Teachers call Garrett Mayfield kind, sincere and talented. He has a passion for visual arts and has won several regional and one national Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. The son of Rhonda and Quentin Mayfield of Ixonia also helped create a Sexuality and Gender Acceptance Club at the high school. He wins a $5,000 award from the George Markham Memorial Fund under the Oconomowoc Area Foundation, which he will use to study art education at Northern Illinois University.
Garrett says teachers have been mentors and role models for him, so he wants to become an art teacher to ‘inspire others to express themselves through the power of art.’
Ben Rawson has often walked down the high school hallway, past the plaque bearing the names of previous Oconomowoc Scholarship Fund winners, and dreamed of having his name on that plaque. Now his dream is coming true. He is eligible for $12,000 over four years while he studies business and accounting at UW-Whitewater.
Ben played football all four years of high school and is a two-time world champion log roller. The son of Melanie and Todd Rawson of Oconomowoc is also a member of four honor societies and an officer in the business club. Teachers call him a strong leader with solid judgement and high integrity.
Rachel Roth earned high honors every year and was a semi-finalist for a National Merit Scholarship. She participates in the Sign Language Club and Junior States of America, tutors students in math, and is very involved in service projects through her church and the public library. She says every future development in technology will rely on math, so she will major in that field at Northland College in Ashland where she’ll be eligible for $12,000 over four years.
Rachel’s parents, John and Andrea of Oconomowoc, both graduated from OHS. So did her grandfather and her great-grandmother, 105 years ago.
Dana Schneck wins the Future Leader Award funded by the Thomas Mount family, making her eligible for $34,000 over four years to attend UW-Madison. She ranks 5th in her class, was named an Advanced Placement Scholar With Distinction, and is a member of five different honor societies.
Dana helped establish the high school’s digital newspaper, worked on the technical crew for seven theater productions, and was on the robotics team. The daughter of Mark and Judith Schneck of Oconomowoc will major in computer science. She calls it a versatile field that will allow her to travel while pursuing her passions for technology, art and creative design.
Claire Young’s grades rank her 2nd out of more than 400 OHS graduates. She earned an International Baccalaureate diploma for taking extremely rigorous courses and won a certificate of merit from the Society of Women Engineers. The daughter of Carolyn and Andrew Young of Pewaukee was named rookie of the year on the cross country team, won the character award on the track & field team, and was a four-time Scholar Athlete.
Claire will study mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech University, where she’ll be eligible for $12,000 over four years. She wants to use her background of 3D art, advanced math and robotics to create new products and ideas that will contribute to society.