The Oconomowoc Scholarship Fund is proud to award $192,400 of new college funding to sixteen 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 nearly $2.5 million to 615 students. Donations from the public are always appreciated. In alphabetical order, this year’s winners are:
Madison Beck wins the Future Leader Award funded by the Thomas Mount family, receiving $37,400 over four years to attend UW-Madison. Teachers and coaches describe Madison as a natural leader with “tenacious determination and inherent kindness.” Her passion for chemistry and genetics, and her drive to help others has inspired her to pursue degrees in genetic counseling.
The daughter of Christopher and Rebecca Beck of Oconomowoc, Madison excelled academically, played alto saxophone in the Wind Symphony, and was a Scholar Athlete, competing in JV and Varsity cross-country, and co-captain of the JV soccer team. She was also in DECA, the National, English, Spanish, and Tri-M Music Honor Societies, and a LINK Crew Leader.
Since the eighth grade, Lauren Boysa knew she wanted to be an art teacher and will attend Boston University to pursue her dream. Lauren strives to paint every day “not only to get better, but for my love of art.” The daughter of Jennifer and Joseph Boysa of Oconomowoc will receive $12,000 over four years as the winner of the M. Jane Hartnett Scholarship. Lauren has played the violin for nine years and served as co-leader of the orchestra club. She was also in National, Science, and Tri-M Music Honor Societies, and LINK Crew.
Competing on the Varsity track team for four years earned her a spot as senior captain. Her teacher and coach wrote, “Lauren is the archetype of what we want our students to achieve in school and who we want them to become as human beings.”
Leah Fagan says she wants to “spend her life supporting and caring for others.” She plans to attend UW-Madison to first become a registered nurse and then get a Ph.D. in research. The daughter of William and Terri Fagan of Oconomowoc earned an impressive 4.48 grade point average. She was on the Math, Science, Music and German Honor Societies and ran on the varsity track and cross-country teams.
Teachers call her “kind, genuine, empathetic and mature.” Leah will receive $12,000 over four years as the winner of a scholarship from the Richard R. and Karen Bertrand Charitable Fund of the Oconomowoc Area Foundation.
Fiona Finger says she has a “positive outlook on life and a passion for business.” The daughter of Polina and Thomas Finger of Oconomowoc wins $12,000 over four years from a Hilbert Scherffius Scholarship on behalf of the Oconomowoc Area Foundation.
Leah is a competitive dancer, a member of the OHS Math Team, helps local businesses translate documents into Spanish, holds down two part-time jobs, and still managed to post a 4.4 grade point average. Teachers say she has an “unfaltering desire to succeed and understands the hard work that goes into it.” Fiona will attend the University of Minnesota with the goal of becoming a project manager.
Elyse Hall is described as a “highly-respected and compassionate leader who appreciates challenges and acts with integrity.” She played four years on the OHS basketball team, acted and designed costumes for six theater productions, a member of the English, German, and Music Honor Societies, and spent many hours volunteering with special needs children.
The daughter of Jeff and Nancy Hall of Oconomowoc, she will receive an OSF Scholarship worth $12,000 over four years. Elyse will attend Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. Her dream is to pursue a degree in exercise science, then go to graduate school to become an occupational therapist.
Sarah Hobday jump-started her career goal in nursing by taking the CNA class this spring. The daughter of William and Carol Hobday of Oconomowoc, she wins an OSF scholarship worth $12,000 over four years, helping support her dream to study nursing at UW-Madison. Excelling academically through advanced coursework, Sarah also learned how to balance working, and participating in sports and school activities.
Since 2019, Sarah logged nearly 100 volunteer hours as a member of the National, Science, English, Rho Kappa Social Studies, and Spanish Honor Societies, FBLA, and Students 4 Service. She wrote, “I learned the importance of giving back to my community … and enjoyed the happiness it brings others to have an extra helping hand.”
Jennifer Hogan wins $5,000 from the George Andrew Markham Memorial Fund on behalf of the Oconomowoc Area Foundation, which she will use to pursue her studies in the Theater Arts and English at the University of Iowa.
The daughter of Kathie and James Hogan of Oconomowoc has had a passion for the performing arts since she was a little girl. Jennifer was a member of the OHS Players drama club, played flute and piccolo in the Oconomowoc Wind Symphony, performed in vocal jazz, and choir. Off the stage, Jennifer excelled academically, volunteered in her community, played soccer, and was in the National, English, Spanish, Tri-M Music Honor, and International Thespian Societies.
Breanna Ireland wins an OSF scholarship worth $12,000 over four years to study Wildlife Management at Northern Michigan University. The daughter of Todd and Laura Ireland of Ixonia chose this area of study through her love of wildlife and working outside. Breanna played the flute for four years in the Wind Symphony, and Oconomowoc Legion Band.
She earned the Exemplary Performance Award at WSMA state competition, and most improved award for instrumental improvement last year. Breanna learned to balance challenging coursework, working, volunteering, and participating in Students 4 Service, and National, English, Rho Kappa Social Studies, and Tri-M Music Honor Societies. She also received the Greenhand Degree for active involvement in OHS Future Farmers of America (FFA).
Teachers call Mackenzie Lemke “a one-in-a-million student who radiates selflessness, honesty and respect for others.” The daughter of Jennifer and Donald Lemke of Oconomowoc wins a Hilbert Scherffius Scholarship on behalf of the Oconomowoc Area Foundation, receiving $12,000 over four years.
She was named captain of both the OHS volleyball and softball teams and helped incoming freshmen transition to high school. When Mackenzie was young and her mother was sick with a rare cancer, she helped with at-home therapy exercises and motivation. When her mom passed away two years ago, Mackenzie decided to become a physical therapist. She will attend UW-La Crosse to make that dream come true.
Aiden McGee Hicks wants to make movies in Hollywood. The son of Sean and Nikki of Oconomowoc, he was heavily involved with Audiovisual and Communications courses at OHS. His plan is to complete a two-year program in TV and film production at Milwaukee Area Technical College. Then he wants to earn some tuition money, graduate from film school at UW-Milwaukee and eventually work in Los Angeles.
He will receive $3,000 as the winner of a two-year award from the Oconomowoc Scholarship Fund. Teachers describe Aiden as “a superstar, a winner, and an innovator whose passion is contagious.”
Madeline Pehler’s life changed six years ago when she received her first handheld camera. The daughter of Laura and Kevin Pehler of Oconomowoc will attend the University of Minnesota Twin Cities to study filmmaking. Madeline has been active in Varsity track, mathletes, DECA, forensics, and President of the French Honor Society. Madeline also volunteers much of her time with the Oconomowoc Rotary Club, and shares her skills behind the camera, filming various school events.
Her ambition and dedication to giving back to her community has earned her $12,000 over four years through the Hilbert Scherffius Scholarship on behalf of the Oconomowoc Area Foundation.
Since she was eight years old, Finley Peterson has wanted to be a fashion designer. Back then, she says, it was just dressing up in sparkly clothes and silly wigs. But she later taught herself to design and sew clothing from scratch, and she recently completed a full-length dress made from the pages of books! Finley is active in drawing, painting, sculpture and dance at OHS.
She says the fashion industry is starting to change its longstanding issues with labor and the environment, and she belongs to clubs that help fight discrimination and political apathy. The daughter of Melissa and Oscar Peterson of Oconomowoc wins an OSF scholarship worth $12,000 over four years as she majors in Fashion Design at UW-Madison.
Lillian Rott has been busy. In four years on the Student Council, she coordinated the annual Raccoon Rally event that raised money for OHS extracurricular activities. She also worked on blood drives, earned a Global Educational Achievement Certificate, acted and sang in musical theater performances, and was a key player for three years of varsity lacrosse and four years of varsity basketball.
Her basketball coach says her enthusiasm was unmatched by any athlete he’s ever coached. Teachers call Lillian “trustworthy, diligent and considerate.” The daughter of William and Julie Rott of Oconomowoc wins an M. Jane Hartnett Scholarship worth $12,000 over four years. She will major in Communications at UW-Madison.
Tyler Salaj plans to study Computer Science at UW-Madison. He was on the OHS baseball team for three years and played football all four years, earning two Scholar Athlete Awards with a 4.3 grade point average. During his junior year, he had near-fatal brain surgery, but still attended practices and games and acted as a coach from the sidelines.
Tyler says he learned that “hardships only make you stronger.” Teachers call him a “natural leader who always provides a spark of motivation.” The son of Todd and Andrea Salaj of Ixonia, Tyler will receive $12,000 over four years as the winner of a scholarship from the Debbink Family Foundation.
Adam Secord wins a two-year, $3,000 award from the Oconomowoc Scholarship Fund. He got involved with the Okauchee Fire Department when he was just five years old and became a certified firefighter with the Western Lakes Fire Department before the age of 14.
The son of Kelly and Keith Secord of Oconomowoc, he started as a dishwasher at a local bar and restaurant during his sophomore year. Now he runs the entire award-winning kitchen. His employer calls him “dependable and motivated, always eager to do more and learn more.” Adam wants to become a full-time firefighter and EMT/paramedic, but he also plans to take business classes at Waukesha County Technical College and hopes to someday start his own business. Adam’s mom Kelly (maiden name Szalanski) also won an OSF award in 1989.
Leah Schneck knew she wanted to make an impact on the world in the sixth grade when her family took a trip to Washington DC. The daughter of Judith and Mark Schneck of Oconomowoc wins the OSF four-year $12,000 scholarship to help support her studies in political science at UW-Madison.
Leah has been an active member in DECA, Math Team/Mu Alpha Theta, AFS international student exchange, and National and English Honor Societies. As a member of Rho Kappa Social Studies Honor Society, Leah was nominated by a teacher to be a delegate at Girls Badger State. Leah also competed on the track team and performed on the Dance Team, earning an All-American award and Scholar Athlete designation.