Lehman Scholarship gives Clinton youth a greater sense of community

The River Bluff Community Foundation is the go-to organization for community leaders like Bernie Lehman, who choose to strengthen the community through endowment funds that address an array of local issues for generations to come. Lehman chose to memorialize a loved one by starting a fund with the Foundation that supports local youth and education through scholarships.

The Bernard and Anna Lehman Scholarship Fund was established in 2011 to help Clinton High School students pursue higher education by providing incentives for academic progress, reducing the financial burden, and creating a positive impact in the community by way of recipients’ successes. Since 2012, the endowment fund has helped 17 students achieve their educational and career goals.

Students who receive the Lehman Scholarship are eligible for four years of financial support. In 2021, Rylie Mussman. Michelle Powell, Viviana Ramirez, Emily Reeser and Erin Soesbe received the award.

Reeser will use her scholarship toward a degree in elementary education. 

“This award will help me achieve my dream of becoming a teacher. I have always loved kids and want to help them grow into caring, loving people,” she says. “The scholarship reminded me that communities always come together to help one another. People that don’t know me took this opportunity to help me reach my goal. For that I am forever thankful.”

Katie Struble, who will graduate from the University of Iowa next spring with majors in journalism and mass communication, and ethics and public policy, has made the most of the opportunities college has provided. 

“Receiving the Lehman scholarship reaffirmed my beliefs about my hometown: The Clinton community is very supportive of all its community members, especially those who want to pursue higher education,” Struble says. “This scholarship helped me pursue a holistic educational experience at the University of Iowa, allowing me to explore different areas of study and get involved with many extracurriculars.” Struble serves as the director of external relations for the Undergraduate Student Government and as student chair on the Hancher Presidential Charter Committee.

Zach Merkel will graduate in December from the University of Iowa with a BSN and minors in physical activity and nutrition sciences. He says the Lehman Scholarship was a motivator when school felt overwhelming – he wanted to excel to continue showing his appreciation for the award, which provided support from his senior year of high school through his senior year of college. 

“This scholarship reinforced what teachers at Clinton High constantly told us - that with hard work, anything is possible,” says Merkel. “Knowing that members of my community wanted me to succeed made me feel very proud.”

To talk about leaving your legacy for education or another Clinton cause, contact the River Bluff Community Foundation at 563.588.2700 or rbcf@dbqfoundation.org