Local Scholarships Awarded to 19 Harbor Country Residents for 2018-19 Academic Year

NEW BUFFALO, MI, April 20, 2018 -- The Pokagon Fund awarded just under $100,000 to 19 Harbor Country residents to attend the post-secondary institution of their choice for the 2018-19 school year. While some recipients are heading to college later in life to seek better career and work opportunities, others will be transitioning directly from high school to either a four-year institution or a vocational/trade school.     

 “Given the current student loan debt within the United States at $1.4 trillion, we hope our scholarships will lessen the financial burden on our local families,” stated Pokagon Band member Andy Jackson, who also serves on The Pokagon Fund Scholarship Committee.  “Not only has college tuition increased over the past decade, but state funding for higher education has decreased dramatically over the same period and families are hard-pressed to absorb the increasing cost,” Jackson added.   

 Including this year’s awards, The Pokagon Fund has granted a total of just under $700,000 in scholarship funds, based on academic merit and financial need, to support residents in the past 7 years.  “The majority of our funding in education is focused on traditional post-secondary training,” stated The Pokagon Fund Executive Director, Janet Cocciarelli.  “Regardless of the current race for online learning, quick access to information and instant global digital enhancement, the demand for an analytical mind and the ability to master content is timeless. There is room for the old-style post-secondary learning structure.”   

 Of total recipients in 2018, six are adults who have been awarded a total of $30,000.  The Adult Students in Scholastic Transition (ASIST) program was launched in 2012 by the Fund, and financial awards may be used for professional certificate programs, licensure, two and four-year undergraduate degrees, and graduate school. Grant award amounts vary each year and may be renewable for multiple-year programs. 

 Traditional high school scholarships represented the remaining $69,000 distributed.  Although most high school students will be attending Michigan-based institutions, several will be traveling to other states including Florida and Ohio. 

 This year’s adult recipients are: 

  • Courtney Kliss, $4,000, B.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth
  • Brandi Cardwell, $2,000, M.B.A. Western Governor’s University
  • Cassandra Standifer, $8,000, B.S. in Computer Science, Western Michigan University
  • Kristen Standifer, $6,000, B.S. in Nursing, Oakland University
  • Candy Van Buskirk, $5,000, Ph. D, Education Administration, Indiana State University
  • Jacob Zapor, $5,000, M.F.A., Maine College of Art


This year’s high school student recipients are:

  • Jasmine D’Arcangelis, $5,500, Alma College
  • Felix De Simone, $5,500, Oberlin College
  • Annette Donner, $5,500, Davenport University
  • Sophia Giannetti, $5,500, Western Michigan University
  • Teya Haughey, $5,500, Florida SW College
  • Sylvia Dohner, $8,000, Douglas J. Aveda Institute
  • Emily Keller, $5,500, Michigan State University
  • Hannah Korbel, $5,500, Western Michigan University
  • Ava Marie Mendoza, $5,500, Michigan State University
  • Abigail Randall, $5,500, Michigan State University
  • Peter Brown, $500, University of Michigan
  • Anonymous, $11,000, various universities