High School Scholarships

The Pokagon Fund offers college scholarships to graduating seniors from River Valley and New Buffalo Area High Schools who are residents of New Buffalo, Chikaming, or Three Oaks townships, and the cities and villages within those townships. These scholarships are awarded annually and are renewable if the student maintains a 3.0 grade point average.

In addition to the scholarships awarded by The Pokagon Fund, the Bison-Pokagon Scholarship trust fund has had a profound impact on the college aspirations of New Buffalo High School students. Through 2015, the scholarship program received distributions from the Local Revenue Sharing Board of over $6 million from the revenues provided to the New Buffalo School District as a result of the Four Winds Casino compact between the State of Michigan and the Pokagon Band.

Utilizing those funds, the New Buffalo School District has already paid out over $2.6 million in scholarships to each resident New Buffalo graduate attending any post-secondary degree or certification program. $3.4 million remains available for future use. Significantly, by 2015, 81.4 percent of eligible New Buffalo High School graduates had used their scholarship grants. A total of 33 degrees have thus far been earned with this scholarship money. As seen by the following chart, the availability of these scholarships funds has sharply increased the number of New Buffalo High School graduates attending college, rising from 31.6% in 2007-2008 to 90.2% in 2015.

River Valley Tech 1
Scholarship Recipient Highlights
Meet Mason
Mason Derkacy Smaller

Read Mason's Story

Meet Lauren
Lauren Aroney Smaller

Read Lauren's Story

Meet Evan
Evan Scholarship

Read Evan's Story

New Buffalo High School Graduates Enrolled in College

New Buffalo Hs Grads Enrolled In College

Although less dramatic (likely because of fewer available scholarship funds), River Valley High School graduate enrollment in college has also leaped, moving from 42.1% in 2007-2008 to 78.4% in 2014.

River Valley High School Graduates Enrolled in College

River Valley Hs Grads Enrolled In College

Apply for a High School Scholarship

Over $250,000 has been awarded to 32 high school seniors from the New Buffalo and River Valley High Schools. These scholarship recipients have attended 19 different colleges and universities. They are:


Courtney Kliss, Southwestern Michigan College
Rebecca Wise, Spring Arbor University


Amanda Clark, Central Michigan University
Morgan Boughman, Western Michigan University
Trevor Gray, Ferris State University
Rachael Conley, Northern Michigan University


Marina DeMorrow, Ball State University
Alivia Michelle Scurek, Lake Michigan College
Hannah Vavra, Grand Valley State University
Christen Yuan, Michigan State University


Elisabeth Brennen, University of Michigan
Deseree Maxine Eudave, Grand Valley State University
Paige Janowski, Michigan State University
Leah Susanne Strain, Michigan State University
Kasan Yuan, Southwestern Michigan University


Hanna Ann Forester, Andrews University
Kelsey Koeller, Western Michigan University
Rachel Palen, Michigan Technological University
Natalie Ritter, University of Michigan


Kristen Dohner, Southwestern Michigan University
Sara Gropp, Southwestern Michigan University
Caleb Brown, University of Michigan
Bailey Harrington, Ferris State University
Evan Rieth, Albion College
Amelia Schroeder, Hope College
Viktorija Ukelis, Grand Valley State University


Greg Palen, Grand Valley State University
Hannah Henrichsen, Grand Valley State University
Jarek Hotwagner, Concordia University
Mariah Artz, Michigan State University
Rebekah Folino, Southwestern Michigan University
Destiny Mitchell, Ferris State University