Ten students receive Ritzinger scholarships


By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

Ten students in the Diocese of Davenport received Marguerite Ritzinger scholarships.

The students receiving $1,000 scholarships for the upcoming fall semester are Brynn Beenblossom of Washington, Jacob Kamrath of West Burlington, Raphael Hamilton of Iowa City, Josephine Vonderhaar of Ottumwa, Nicholas Carber of Davenport, Michael Tallman of Davenport, Madison Anglese of Clinton, Alexis Dross of Prairie City, Sophia Kersten of Bettendorf and Osmin Melendez of Washington.

The award is named for the late Marguerite Ritzinger, a Sigourney native, who left money to the diocese to help with scholarships for seminarians and students attending colleges or universities. The scholarship program began in 2009.


Thirty-nine students applied for this year’s scholarships. A committee reviewed essays, high school or college transcripts and reference letters in addition to the application form, said Ana Maria Shambaugh of the scholarship committee.

Committee member Father Ross Epping said he understands the great and potential value “that such a scholarship can afford some of our young people here in our diocese.”

The applications were very good, he noted. “It is always good to read about our young church’s experience not only within the context of church, but in the service to their specific communities.”

“Along with this, though, is the reality of the lived experience of our brothers and sisters within this diocese. We, as a committee, learn from the vulnerability that each applicant offers us — hardships, triumphs, joys and struggles.”

Father Epping said it was “incredibly tough” to narrow down the applications. “They were so good, so well-written, so honest.”

Although education and commitment to service are important, Father Epping is particularly interested in the service aspect. “How are we taking what we learn, and bringing that out into the world, through service, to build the kingdom of God? That’s what I look for. And that’s what I consistently find in these applications.”

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