students in the Fort McCoy community were among 600 military children
worldwide who each have earned a $1,500 scholarship from the
Scholarships for Military Children Program. That was the most students
earning scholarships in the Fort McCoy Commissary area since the
program began in 2001.
to Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) officials, the program has awarded
a total of more than $6.4 million dollars in scholarships to more than
4,000 of the best and brightest children of military families in the
past seven years. The program is funded by the public at large and
manufacturers, distributors and brokers that provide products and
service to commissaries.
Steve Brown (left) and Fort McCoy
Garrison Commander Col. David E. Chesser (right) recognize
Commissary Scholarship recipients (left to right) Benjamin R.
Skifton, Mallory A. Heckman, Chelsea E. Smith, Angeline B. Klemm
and Kyle R. Leistikow. Scholarship winners Michael Schultz and
Lydia Soderlund are not pictured. (Photo
by Val Hyde)
Steve Brown, the Fort McCoy
Commissary store manager, emceed a July 21 event at the Fort McCoy
Commissary to honor the Commissary’s scholarship recipients. Fort
McCoy community students have been well represented in the program
with five students being honored for the past two years, as well, he
"The Scholarships for
Military Children program is one of many programs initiated by the
Defense Commissary to involve commissaries even more deeply in the
fabric of the military community," Brown said. "Scholarships
for Military Children, which is funded by the vendors and manufactures
who sell groceries to you every day, serves to make the premier
military benefit even more valuable by offering military children the
chance to earn a $1,500 scholarship."
Five of the seven 2008
recipients were able to attend the event.
The students were invited
to speak before the audience at the ceremony, which included Garrison
Commander Col. David E. Chesser and Garrison Command Sergeant Major
Command Sgt. Maj. M. Kevin Dubois honoring them.
Many of the students also
used the opportunity to read from the essays they were required to
compose and submit as part of the application process.
As is the case of the
scholarship recipients across the country, the students honored at the
Fort McCoy Commissary ceremony have a wide variety of academic
Mallory A. Heckman, a
junior at Ripon (Wis.) College, is majoring in politics and government
with career aspirations of becoming a lawyer. She is the daughter of
Fred and Kathleen LeSavage of Tomah, Wis.
Angeline B. Klemm, who
recently graduated from Rib Lake (Wis.) High School, will be a
freshman at the University of Wisconsin (UW)-La Crosse and plans to
major in athletic training. She is the daughter of Shane and Marlene
Klemm of Westboro, Wis.
Kyle R. Leistikow, who
recently graduated from Janesville (Wis.) Craig High School, will
attend UW-Madison and plans to major in medical microbiology. He is
the son of Rick and Karla Leistikow of Janesville.
Benjamin R. Skifton, who
recently graduated from Wisconsin Rapids (Wis.) Assumption High
School, will attend St. Norbert’s College in De Pere, Wis., where he
will major in education. He is the son of Rick and Pam Skifton of
Chelsea E. Smith will be a
junior at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., majoring in nursing,
with career aspirations of being a nurse anesthetist. She is the
daughter of Stanley and Andrea Smith of Eagan, Minn.
Two scholarship recipients,
Michael Schultz of New Berlin, Wis., and Lydia Soderlund of Wausau,
Wis., were unable to attend. Both are two-time scholarship recipients
who took advantage of the program being open to students in each
Fisher House Foundation
underwrites administration of the program through Scholarship
Managers. Neither Fisher House nor DeCA are involved in the decision
process. Fort McCoy’s scholarship sponsor, Mike Zullo of Webco,
represented the Kimberly Clark Corporation.
The scholarship program is
a way to help repay military families, especially children, for the
sacrifices they make to serve the county, DeCA Director and Chief
Executive Officer Philip E. Sakowitz Jr., stated in a news release.
must learn to adapt with each permanent change of station (move),
tackling the challenges of a new curriculum with each school they
attend," Sakowitz said.
In fact, according to
Military Child Education Coalition research, "Military children
generally move from six to nine times during their ‘K-12’ school
years. Many make multiple moves during high school years alone, some
even during their senior year. Academic standards, courses, access to
programs, promotion and graduation requirements, programs for children
with special needs, and transfer and acceptance of records vary
greatly from state to state and even from school to school. These
frustrations, in addition to giving up friends and associates with
whom a rapport has been established, cause anxiety. Separation from a
deployed parent (or parents) raises an additional issue."
Yet despite these
hardships, the well-rounded quality of the scholarship applicants
suggests that military children flourish academically.
"The average GPA
(Grade Point Average) of the applicants is 3.8 to 3.9," said
Bernard Coté, president of Scholarship Managers, a professional firm
that screens and awards scholarships for more than 400 programs.
"This is the finest field of applicants among the scholarship
programs that we manage. The students are excellent, the grades are
high, but in addition to that, their participation in school and
community activities is overwhelming."
The 2009 Scholarships for
Military Children season kicks off Nov. 1, 2008. For more information
about the program, check out DeCA’s Web site at http://www.commissaries.com
or the Military Scholar Web site at http://www.militaryscholar.org.
from this story also is from the Defense Commissary Agency.)