Culver Kiwanians award Boland, Shaffer with scholarships

Culver's Kiwanis Club once again sent two local graduating seniors on their way to their university studies with scholarship funds provided by the club, at its annual scholarship banquet May 29 at Mystic Hills in Culver. Club members also heard an update from last year's recipients. The Kiwanian of the Year was also named.

Club vice president Julie Bess, quoting past scholarship chair Jim Weirick that awarding student scholarships is "the best part of being a Kiwanian," introduced scholarship recipient Sarah Boland, a Culver Girls Academy 2014 grad and daughter of Matt and Karen Boland. Noting Boland will attend Purdue University to study animal sciences and agri-education, Bess said Boland's college advisor at Culver Academies said she "blossoms wherever her feet land."

She earned Gold A's all four years at CGA (meaning she received no term grade below a B+), played volleyball, was active in Campus Life and weekly Bible studies, assisted with the wrestling program, participated in Habitat for Humanity Mexico mission trips, and was Red Cross certified. Boland, who also enjoys knitting, sewing, reading, and gardening, will intern with Schaller Ag Enterprises this summer.

Culver Comm. High School 2014 grad Kayla Schaffer received the second Kiwanis scholarship, as well as the Barbara Winters Award of Excellence, which was launched by Winters' husband Ralph as a retirement gift to her.

Schaffer will study business at IU East with a goal of owning her own bakery. She played a host of sports including varsity soccer, basketball, softball and participated in track. She was also active in Spanish and Art Clubs, band, and received numerous awards, scholarships and a variety of athletic recognition.

Schaffer volunteered with BEAM, the Humane Society, BIRD, the Lions Club, and also participated in a Habitat Mexico mission trip, as well as being active with Poplar Grove Methodist Church in Culver.

"Leadership," commented Bess, "was a common theme" in Schaffer's endeavors, and she quoted Bremen Hugh School principal Bruce Jennings who, despite the two schools' status as sports rivals, was extremely complimentary of Schaffer's character and inspirational quality with her peers.

In introducing Schaffer as the recipient of the 2014 Winters scholarship (in addition to the Kiwanis scholarship), Winters noted it has been 11 years she retired -- after 42 years teaching -- and the scholarship began. Explaining the choice was a very difficult one, Winters said Shaffer would receive an additional $1,000 above the Kiwanis amount of $2,000 per year.

This is the second consecutive year the club awarded four-year scholarships (with certain academic stipulations) as opposed to its previous one-year amount.

Last year's first-time four year recipients were back to report on their first years of college.

Sarah Jamieson, who is studying interior design at Miami of Ohio, told the club she has maintained a 3.8 GPA and is minoring in business management. She also discussed joining a sorority and volunteering in support of Ronald McDonald House during the past two semesters.

John Ahlenius, last year's second recipient, is attending Purdue University to study agri-business, and reported to the club that he became an equipment manager for the university's football team, which allowed him to meet coaches and players. A member of the journalism staff while at CCHS, Ahlenius also attracted the attention of a Fox News sports reporter in the area and was offered a job with the Boiler Sports Report.

He also reported he is able to skip a grade and will be a junior at Purdue this fall.

He will be interning this summer at Schaller Ag Enterprises as well.
Receiving the Kiwanian of the Year award was current president Larry Brockey, as introduced by vice president Julie Bess, who expressed appreciation to Brockey -- as well as past president Trent Bennett -- for helping her "in a major way" during her own presidency. She added that Brockey "worked tirelessly during his year as president.

Thanking Bess for the award, Brockey encouraged the scholarship recipients to remember their community and give back.

Other discussion during the event related to upcoming Kiwanis Club events, such as the July 18, 9 a.m. annual club golf outing at Mystic Hills, with those interested in participating (the event is open to the public) encouraged to contact Kiwanian David Baker. Other events include the Lake Max Triathlon Sat., Aug. 9, and the new cyclo-cross event Sunday, Oct. 19 (the weekend of Fall Fest in Culver).

The Kiwanis annual charity raffle is ongoing this summer, and includes a golf cart, canoe, and kayak, with the drawing slated for Saturday, July 19, following Lake Fest fireworks in the town park.

Treasurer Kathy Clark discussed club finances, noting a total of $17,650 was given in the Culver community and beyond by the club in 2014. Besides $8,000 in regular scholarships, funds were distributed to the Culver Boys & Girls Club, Riley Hospital, CCHS social welfare and after-prom, and others.