The Oconomowoc Scholarship Fund is proud to award $155,000 of new college funding
to these local high school seniors.
In alphabetical order, this year’s winners are:
Arianna DeBord-Rowen plans to attend UW-Milwaukee to pursue a bachelor’s in social work. The M. Jane Hartnett Scholarship has awarded Arianna $12,000 over four years to support her dream of helping others.
One of her teachers shared that Ari “has continuously exemplified core values of diversity, integrity, dignity, and service as an authentic leader in her school and community. Not only does Ari persevere, but she helps others to do the same.” She shows her compassion for others through her work at Goodwill and participating in the OHS Best Buddies Club.
Despite taking a rigorous course load, Ashur Mariano ranks 10th in his OHS class with a 4.44 grade point average. He completed the IB Diploma Program, is a member of the Math, French, English and National Honor Societies, and also participated on the baseball and track teams. The son of Kristin Mariano and the late Elpidio Mariano of Oconomowoc will receive a Hilbert Scherffius Scholarship, worth $12,000 over four years on behalf of the Oconomowoc Area Foundation.
Ashur started taking high school math classes in 7th grade and has won numerous math competitions. He will study actuarial science at UW-Madison. Teachers say Ashur has “passion and perseverance. When other students might look for excuses, he finds solutions.”
Austin Lord will attend St. Norbert College in De Pere to study business and sports marketing. The son of Terry and Nicholas Lord of Oconomowoc will receive $12,000 over four years as the recipient of a Hilbert Scherffius Scholarship on behalf of the Oconomowoc Area Foundation.
Austin earned the International Baccalaureate Diploma, is president of the National Business Honor Society, a member of DECA, FBLA, and National Honor Society, and competed on the OHS Varsity Track team, earning the role of captain his senior year. Austin is a founding member of the YMCA Leadership Volunteer Program, participating in the club since 2017.
Ava Radler will receive $12,000 over four years as the recipient of a scholarship from the Downtown Oconomowoc Business District. Ava will study business as a direct admission to the Wisconsin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The daughter of Mark Radler and Lisa Dellabella of Oconomowoc is the OHS Class of 2023 Salutatorian, ranking second in the class of 389 seniors.
Ava is co-president of DECA, a member of the Gold Vibrations vocal jazz ensemble, Future Business Leaders of America, Junior State of America, and the National, German, Tri-M Music, International Thespian, English, Social, Math, Science, and National Business Honor Societies. She also competed on OHS Varsity Lacrosse team.
Ava LaBracke will receive $12,000 over four years through the M. Jane Hartnett Scholarship. The daughter of Kia Kjensrud and John LaBracke of Oconomowoc plans to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison to pursue her studies in English, with hopes in becoming an English teacher one day.
Ava graduated in the top 10% of her class, challenging herself with Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes. She is the president of Junior State of America, a member of the Gold Vibrations vocal jazz ensemble, Students for Unity, National, English, Science, Tri-M Music, and International Thespian Societies, and was chosen by her peers to co-direct the OHS Senior Directed Play in 2022.
Brayden Jackson will attend UW-Milwaukee at Waukesha as the winner of $3,000 over two years from the Oconomowoc Scholarship Fund.
The son of Robert Jackson and Kimberly Rennhack of Oconomowoc has plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in supply chain management and finance after earning his associate degree. He said working as a teller at Bank Five Nine was “a great way to gain experience in the banking industry and to prepare for a career in finance.”
Cole Greco is graduating from University Lake School with a 4.28 grade point average. He was accepted into the Mensa Honor Society during his freshman year, founded a robotics team at his high school and won gold medals in three Spanish competitions.
The son of Jennifer DeSteno of Oconomowoc will receive $12,000 over four years from the Oconomowoc Scholarship Fund. In his collegiate studies, Cole will combine his advanced math and computer skills with courses in law and ethics. His dream is to protect America's interests as a cyber-security expert with either the Department of Energy or the National Security Agency.
Teachers say David Niemiec is “mature, independent, self-motivated, and sets high standards.” He is a member of the National Honor Society, Future Business Leaders of America and the DECA marketing club and is also very involved in church activities and Special Olympics.
The son of Christopher and Kristin Niemiec of Oconomowoc, his dream is to start his own investment management company to help people achieve financial freedom. David is the recipient of $12,000 over four years from the Oconomowoc Scholarship Fund. He will be a student athlete on the swimming and diving team at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis.
Hunter Collins has been going to EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh since he was a little boy and had his first piloting experience with EAA's Young Eagles program when he was 12. The son of John and Julie Collins of Oconomowoc will attend Lewis University in Illinois for aviation flight technology.
A $12,000 scholarship from the Debbink Family Foundation will support Hunter as he takes flight. Hunter is an Eagle Scout and served as senior patrol leader, which is the highest youth position in his troop. He competed on the OHS Varsity Alpine Ski Team and OHS JV Golf Team, and is a member of the National, Math, and Business Honor Societies, and Raccoon Tech Robotics Team.
Jackson Meissner says “Good enough has never been an answer for me. You always have to try your hardest, even if it's uncomfortable.” He ran on the track and cross-country teams, was named a Scholar Athlete twice, performed as a drummer with OHS jazz and combo bands, and was a technology intern for the school district. His youth pastor says Jackson is “genuine, trustworthy, and cares about people in a way that is rarely seen.”
Jackson will major in computer science at Bethel University in Minnesota - hoping to “solve real-world problems and make a lasting impact” on his community. The son of Jamie and Darryl Meissner of Ixonia will receive $12,000 over four years from the Oconomowoc Scholarship Fund.
Kaiden Bavuso competed on the football, track, and wrestling teams at Oconomowoc High School. One of his coaches raves that he's “second to none when it comes to work ethic and paying the price for success” and an employer calls him “gracious, honest and kind.”
The son of Jason and Amy Bavuso of Ixonia is awarded $12,000 over four years with a scholarship from the Richard R. and Karen Bertrand Charitable Fund of the Oconomowoc Area Foundation. Kaiden has witnessed the pain of children dealing with cancer, so he will attend UW-Oshkosh to begin a career in nursing.
Lauren Kost has been awarded $5,000 from the George Andrew Markham Memorial Fund and will attend Liberty University in Virginia to pursue her BFA in Acting. The daughter of Jannah and Jonathan Kost of Oconomowoc has had a passion for the performing arts since she was a little girl, picking up the violin at the age of five.
Lauren is a member of the OHS Orchestra, National English Honors Society, OHS Players drama club, Gold Vibrations vocal jazz ensemble, Tri-M Music Honor and International Thespian Societies, and the Student Council. This last fall, Lauren played the lead role of Donna in the OHS musical production of “Mamma Mia.”
Sophia Kovach transferred to OHS from the Kenosha area for her senior year, and teachers say she quickly stepped into leadership roles. They describe her as “kind, creative and compassionate.” Sophia says it was a dream come true when she landed a job as a student intern at the Oconomowoc Animal Hospital.
She plans to attend Ocean City College to pursue studies in health sciences. Sophia will receive $3,000 over two years from the Oconomowoc Scholarship Fund. She is the daughter of John Kovach of Oconomowoc and Sarah Kovach of Pleasant Prairie.
Teachers call Thea Holtzen “one in a million…with an unfaltering desire to succeed.” The daughter of Thomas and Candace Holtzen of Delafield will receive $12,000 over four years as the winner of a Hilbert Scherffius Scholarship on behalf of the Oconomowoc Area Foundation.
Thea is a member of the Music, Science, English and Social Studies Honor Societies at Oconomowoc High School. Her true passion is dancing, but she also has curiosity for science and a drive to help others. She will attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a unique double major in both dance and forensic science that she says will give her “multiple career opportunities.”
Zachary Vande Zande has competed on the wrestling and track teams at Lake Country Lutheran High School. He has also had several roles in theater productions and does volunteer work at his church and the Oconomowoc Food Pantry.
Teachers say he is “the definition of a learner. He's not just interested in a grade... he embraces the process of learning.” The son of Karen and Darin Vande Zande of Oconomowoc will major in graphic arts at Carroll University in Waukesha. He has been awarded $12,000 over four years from the Oconomowoc Scholarship Fund.