Foundation offers scholarships for Jackson County students

Scholarship applications from the Community Foundation of Jackson County are now available to students at six local high schools: Maquoketa, Easton Valley, Bellevue, Marquette Catholic, Northeast and Midland. Students should apply at by March 1. 

Last year, the Community Foundation awarded $118,950 to local students, including Northeast High School senior Bree Mangelsen.

“Being granted this scholarship was really rewarding,” says Bree, who is studying kinesiology and health at Coe College. “Not only do I get the benefit from financial assistance through the scholarship program, but I also know that all of the extra hours I put into my studies, extracurricular activities, and community service are being recognized as well. Most high school students would think that doing extra wasn't worth it at the time — little do they know that it will help them out in the long run.”

“The talented, dedicated students of Jackson County are our future, and the Foundation believes in showing them our support,” says Lori Loch, executive director of the Community Foundation. “Investing in our youth helps us build stronger communities with engaged citizens who are maximizing their potential.”

The emphasis the many available scholarships place on students’ skills, abilities and involvement in the community is key. “It highlights the importance of community service, which is something kids don’t necessarily think a lot about at that age,” says David Zoeckler, a counselor at Marquette Catholic Schools. “The scholarships are a good reminder that those acts of service can add up and there can be a reward for having strong character.”

The Community Foundation offers scholarships through its endowment funds. Endowed gifts are invested permanently and provide annual payouts forever, ensuring Jackson County youth are supported for generations to come. 

The Harlan and Helene Ruff Scholarship fund is one example, providing dollars to Maquoketa High School (MHS) students whose parents reside in Farmers Creek Township. Adult (non-traditional) students who graduated from Maquoketa High School and live in Farmers Creek Township also are eligible. 

Cassie Miller, MHS class of 2015, received the scholarship each year she attended the University of Wisconsin-Platteville while studying agriculture education. Cassie also received the Ruff scholarship for her continuing education at Morningside College, where she’s earning a master’s degree in special education. Today, Cassie is back at MHS teaching agriculture education. 

“The Harlan and Helene Ruff scholarship freed me from financial burden while I attended undergrad and now grad school, and it allowed me to graduate college debt free!” says Cassie. “As someone who plans to stay in the Jackson County community, it gives me great pride to know that as a teacher I can give back to my community the way that the Ruffs would have appreciated.”

For more information, contact Lori Loch at 563-588-2700 or