Cycles for Success helps students reach next level

Published 10:38 am Friday, October 21, 2016

By Brooke Hoebing

Pacelli Academic Counselor

In today’s global economy, graduating from high school and going on to postsecondary education is critical for students to have the greatest professional options and opportunities. College is one of the many pathways and other postsecondary programs teach students the skills they need to pursue a specific career such as nursing, mechanics or computer technology. If the skills and abilities of two prospective employees are equal, often a college degree or other postsecondary education can be the determining factor for who gets hired.

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All students from the Pacelli class of 2015 graduated and are attending postsecondary institutions this year.   Graduating students are attending St. Thomas University, St. Mary’s University, Luther, University of Northern Iowa, Michigan State University, and Riverland Community College.  Of the three Pacelli students attending Riverland Community College, two qualified for and received the Cycles of Success Scholarship.

Cycles for Success is an amazing scholarship program for Austin’s (Austin High and Pacelli High) high school students that are planning to attend Riverland Community College to earn a certificate, diploma or degree. The Cycles for Success scholarship program was designed to inspire underrepresented students to graduate from high school. Underrepresented students may include students who are first generation (first person to attend college in their family), students who come from a low-income family, students who are in the middle fifty percent of their graduating class, or students who are members of an ethnic or racial minority. There are also times when this scholarship is awarded to a person who is entering a field dominated by the opposite gender- an example would be a male student who is enrolled in the nursing program. In this instance, that student may account for an underrepresented student as well. The Cycles for Success scholarship program helps remove financial barriers to college enrollment, and provides much needed support for academic success.

Students who apply may earn $1,500 to more than $6,000 each year in scholarship dollars. This is a scholarship that can be renewed for up to three years. There were many thoughts that went in to the Cycles for Success project, including how this project will affect community involvement. Encouraging further education is meant to be a community-wide initiative. Community-wide initiatives are beneficial to everyone. Attending Riverland means staying local for higher education, and this program is bringing diversity to the workforce upon graduation from Riverland. The Hormel Foundation has supported the Cycles for Success program since 2010 and awards $200,000 annually through this program.

Pacelli graduate, Irving Serrano, is presently attending Riverland Community College in the two-year Electrician-Construction program.  The Cycles for Success scholarship pays for his tuition while he covers the cost of his books and materials.  According to Serrano, “…it is great that the Hormel Foundation does this.  Thank you … so that I can go to college and get a career.”

The application process typically takes place in late winter/early spring. Students apply online on the Riverland website and applications are reviewed by a diverse panel. Since there is $200,000 awarded and these dollars are awarded in varying amounts, the number of people that are awarded this scholarship varies from year to year. Typically, there is a minimum of 20 Cycles for Success scholarships awarded to different individuals from Austin High School and Pacelli High School.

If students are interested in applying for the Cycles for Success scholarship, or receiving more information, they should visit the Riverland site at

If you are interested in learning more about Pacelli Catholic Schools visit our website at, email or call 507-437-3278.
Pacelli Academic Counselor Brooke Hoebing can be reached at