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Meet our 2024 Dr. Aurora DeCastro Scholarship Applicants

About the Dr. Aurora DeCastro Scholarship

Through the Sturgis Area Community Foundation, the Dr. Aurora DeCastro Scholarship fund will award one high school senior a four-year scholarship totaling $40,000 ($10,000/year). These students who will begin classes in the fall of 2024 may attend any accredited college within the United States. Each applicant was first nominated for the scholarship by their high school before completing a full application. Applicants will interview with an independent committee in April before this year's recipient is selected.

Visit the Dr. Aurora DeCastro Scholarship page to learn more!

About Dr. Aurora DeCastro

Dr. Aurora DeCastro

Dr. Aurora DeCastro was born on September 27, 1933, and came to the United States from Cuba when she was a young girl. She earned her undergraduate degree from LSU in Baton Rouge and her doctorate from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. After a long and successful career, Dr. DeCastro retired from Miles Laboratories in Elkhart, Indiana. She went on to establish several new businesses and holds several patents for her inventions. Sadly, Dr. DeCastro passed away on February 27, 2023. However, before her passing, she established an educational foundation fund to help others further their education.

Meet our Applicants

Constantine High School - Alivia Hall

About Alivia:

Throughout high school, Alivia has participated in numerous team sports, including volleyball, softball, and track while maintaining her status as a straight-A student. Alivia has served as the treasurer of Constantine High School's National Honor Society, and has been recognized for her leadership skills as a woman in sports and for her math skills through the Society of Women Engineers program at Michigan Tech. Alivia plans to attend college to earn a degree in accounting and aims to have a steady and successful career in that field.

Darrin Vandenberg (Principal), Alivia Hall, Sara Russell (Counselor)

Sturgis High School - Liliana Luna-Lilly

About Liliana:

While attending Sturgis High School, Liliana has actively participated in Color Guard, Band, Student Senate, Youth Advisory Council, Musical Theatre, National Honor Society, and the Big Buddy program. One of her favorite high school experiences was performing on stage with her old dance friends during the musical. After graduating from high school, Liliana plans to attend a university to study psychology and pursue her passion for dance and theatre. In the future, she hopes to open a dance studio!

Nicholas Herblet (Principial), Liliana Luna-Lilly, Mari Campbell (Counselor), Courtney Patrick (Counselor)

White Pigeon High School - Max Fusaro

About Max:

Max has achieved many accomplishments during his time at White Pigeon High School, including making the honor roll for all four years, being inducted into the National Honor Society in his senior year, and earning the distinction of "most improved" in his band class. After graduating from high school, Max plans to pursue a degree in psychology with a focus on mental health from Central Michigan University. He hopes to obtain a master's degree and ultimately become a psychiatrist.

Todd Reynolds (Principal), Max Fusaro, Pam Shenk (Counselor)

Three Rivers High School - Aryana Gould

About Aryana:

Aryana is an 18-year-old senior attending Three Rivers High School. When she's not at school, Aryana works as a Barista at Starbucks. She also volunteers as a student representative for the Three Rivers Promise. Aryana loves spending time with her family and reading as many books as she can get her hands on. She has actively participated in her school's Student Council and National Honors Society, holding officer positions as President and Treasurer. Aryana plans to pursue a dual major in Political Science and English at the University of Michigan. She is interested in anything related to government and aspires to have a career in that field.

Veronica Wooten (Aryana's Mother), Aryana Gould, Diana Weed (College/Career Online Learning Coordinator), Carrie Balk (Principal)

Colon High School - Kayleen Shupp

About Kayleen:

Kayleen's future educational plans are to attend a local college for general studies to better understand what she would like to do as a career. She is leaning towards becoming an ultrasound technician and wants to learn more about that field. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with her friends and works at Magic Capital Grille as a line cook. Kayleen is excited to be nominated for the DeCastro scholarship because she knows it can bring a lot of opportunities to the table.

Kayleen Shupp, Jenny Wielenga (Principal)

Burr Oak High School - Amy Ledyard

About Amy:

Amy has actively participated in multiple sports and community service projects throughout high school. She was a member of the Varsity Softball and Volleyball Teams all four years, and her exceptional performance in sports earned her the Most Coachable Award at Burr Oak High School. In addition, Amy serves as the Class President and currently volunteers at Robin's Nest Day Care in Burr Oak. After graduating from high school, she plans to attend college, preferably at Central Michigan University. She is also considering starting her studies at Kellogg Community College to study design.

Kristina Owens (Superintendent & Principal), Amy Ledyard

Centreville High School - Emmy Pritchard

About Emmy:

Emmy attends Centreville Jr/Sr High School where she is involved in the National Honors Society, is on the honor roll, and has maintained perfect attendance throughout high school. She is a talented athlete, playing three varsity sports including cross country, basketball, and track. Emmy received the scholar-athlete award at her school for participating in three varsity sports while maintaining a GPA of 3.5 or higher. She plans to pursue a career in dental hygiene after graduating high school and is considering attending either Western Michigan University or Grand Valley State University.

Aaron Hartong (Principal), Emmy Pritchard, Valerie Roe (Guidance Counselor)

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