AAF establishes education scholarships fund

Published 5:58 pm Tuesday, June 22, 2021

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Austin Area Foundation has  announced the creation of its first ever scholarship fund.

The Austin Area Foundation Scholarship for Education Majors was established to encourage and support students who are looking at a career in education as well as to honor the legacies of three educators and administrators who have announced their retirements this year: Superintendent David Krenz, Don Fox and Dick Lees.

“This is really exciting for AAF to be a part of and shows the impact of our community foundation,” said Steve Barrett, Executive Director. “It is truly our mission to provide a way for those who love Austin and its people to be able to benefit people and our community into the future.”

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The scholarships will be awarded to college students who are alumni of Austin High School, have declared a major in education, and are preparing for a career as teachers or administrators. Students attending any college or university offering a degree in education or those participating in the Riverland/Winona State joint program in elementary education will be eligible for consideration.

Primary consideration will be based on financial need, but students must have attained a 2.75 GPA in their college coursework through the time of application.

The first scholarships will be awarded in 2022 and 2023 and will be at least $1,000. After that time, it is anticipated that the scholarship grants will be larger. If sufficient dollars can be added to the fund, it is possible that grants could be made to more than one student each year.

This scholarship has been made possible through generous lead gifts provided by Belita Schindler, Fred and Carolyn Bogott, and Paul and Joanne Worlein. The AAF is actively seeking additional funds from the public to increase the endowment, thereby providing more funds in future years to allow enhanced awards to more students.

Krenz, Fox and Dick Lees devoted decades of service to Austin Public Schools, earning the respect of the community and improving the quality of education in Austin.

Krenz, during his 12 years as superintendent, has overseen the building of the I.J. Holton Intermediate School and the MacPhail Center for Music, as well as the implementation of the Austin Assurance Scholarship Program.

Fox and Lees continued to support the school district after their retirements by serving on the Austin Public Schools Board for several terms. Fox’s career included serving as a teacher, coach, and principal, while Lees was an outstanding teacher and also served as a coach.

Donations to the Austin Area Foundation Scholarship for Education Majors may be sent to the AAF offices at P.O. Box 6, Austin, MN 55912. For additional information, please contact Executive Director Steve Barrett at 507-434-7494.