By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
Scholarships worth a total of $20,000 were awarded to students throughout the Diocese of Davenport through the generosity of the late Marguerite Ritzinger of Sigourney. She left money for scholarships for seminarians and for students to attend colleges or universities.
At least one student from each deanery received a scholarship, said Char Maaske, diocesan chief financial officer.
“Marguerite Ritzinger was a very generous woman who valued advanced education. Her gift has provided more than $200,000 for our vocations office in direct payment of tuition for our seminarians. In addition, the scholarship committee has awarded more than $100,000 in scholarships over five years to students throughout the diocese.”
Fifty-four students applied for scholarships this year. The recipients are: Mary Agnoli, Johnathan Blauw, Michael Byrne Daniel Dankert, Brendan Finan, Bridget Garnica, Grant Henning,Kristin Ketelaar, Gabriela Magalhães, Madison Murhammer, Anastasia Nykoluk, William Sallen, Sarah Schwind, Ellie Simpson, Ben Snyder, Kathryn Temple, Denise Venteicher, Jacqueline Vonderhaar, and Paul Wieser.
Ritzinger scholarship winners were chosen based on evidence of strong involvement in the Catholic Church, volunteer activities in church or community, financial need and, in some cases, number of college students in the same family.
The application process included writing an essay and furnishing a copy of a high school or college transcript and two reference letters.
Maaske said the committee that selects the winners changes each year to keep a fresh perspective. This year’s committee included diocesan staff and volunteers Father Thom Hennen, Lee Morrison, Don Boucher, Lyndsay Chase and Mike Gallagher.
Boucher said he was impressed with the applicants. “You see young people who work hard and excel in school and living out their faith. It’s uplifting to read about these young people.”
He said it was difficult to select a small number of recipients from the pool of candidates, “but we had to make a choice.”
The scholarships are not automatically renewed each year. Applications for next year’s scholarships will take place toward the end of the year.