Three locals land scholarships

Published 3:08 pm Tuesday, July 2, 2024

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Avery Wempner and Kennedy Bell were awarded the Carl and Stella Ruzek Scholarship recently.

Wempner and Bell are nursing majors. Avery will begin her studies at University of North Dakota this fall. Bell is currently in her final year at the University of Missouri. Bell and Wempner noted in their applications how they have a strong sense of community and learned the value of volunteering from a young age. The Ruzek scholarship was established in 2005, by Michael, David and Daniel Ruzek to honor and recognize their parents’ belief in the importance of education. The Austin Area Foundation took over the administration of this scholarship is 2022.


Jennifer Ramirez Garcia won the Austin Area Foundation Scholarship for Education majors.

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Ramirez Garcia  is an Education major with a minor in Instructional Reading. She graduated from Riverland Community College in May and will begin her studies at Winona State University this fall. said Ramirez Garica in her application, “Growing up, I knew my future career would involve working with people, especially with younger children…my junior year of high school…I knew I wanted to be a teacher.”

The Education scholarship was established in 2021 to encourage and support students desiring a career in education. This scholarship honors the careers and dedicated service of David Krenz, Don Fox, and Dick Lees to Austin Public Schools.

Students who are graduates of Austin High School and are currently enrolled in a four-year college or university are eligible for consideration. Any graduate of Austin High School can apply for these scholarships, regardless of the year of graduation. Additional qualifications for these scholarships apply. One award of $1,000 will be provided to one student for each scholarship each year.

Avery Wempner

The next scholarship application cycle starts March 1, 2025 and is open until April 30. The Rick Herreid Science Scholarship will be offered for the first time along with the Education and Ruzek Scholarships. To apply, go to and click about at the top of the page and select scholarships from the menu to learn more about these opportunities.

Catherine Haslag, AAF Scholarship Committee Chair, is excited at how AAF can match donor intentions with great support for the community.

“Like the Ruzek family, we believe it is our responsibility to help raise up those who come after us. These two scholarships help develop future education leaders by supporting their educational goals. I am honored The Austin Area Foundation has been entrusted with administering the scholarships and helping with higher education for Austin youth.”

Ramerizez Garcia