Class of 2017 graduate Kristyn Franzel is now the 3rd full recipient of the Samczyk/Ball “Pay-It-Forward” Scholarship, which awards $20,000 over four years to a Sandusky High School student who most exemplifies the spirit of determination and service to others. The scholarship is currently the largest award available in Sanilac County.
Kristyn is the daughter of Gary and Cindy Franzel. Throughout high school, she has been involved in soccer, drama, academic games, and National Honor Society. But her qualifications for this scholarship are found in her multiple volunteer projects. She has been an active volunteer in Food 4 Friends, the Flags of Remembrance Project, and The Moving Wall Project. After graduation, Kristyn plans to attend Saint Clair County Community College to study business for 2 years and later transfer to Oakland University to major in Actuarial Science.
“There are few things more satisfying than being able to reward an exceptional young person this way,” Stated scholarship founders Traci Samczyk (Sandusky High School ’84) and Abby Dees, who established the scholarship in 2014. “But every so often we face a dilemma – a good dilemma, but a dilemma nonetheless: More than one applicant stands out as embodying the spirit of the scholarship.”
That is exactly what happened during the 2017 selection process. While only one student may receive the “Pay-It-Forward” Scholarship, the donors are thrilled to recognize two more students with the Samczyk/Ball Award for Extraordinary Achievement, which awards a one-time scholarship of $2,500 per recipient. These scholarships are being awarded to Miss Allyson Blank and Miss Amanda Mrozek.
Allyson (Ally) Blank has been a lifetime resident of Snover, MI and has been attending Sandusky Schools since young fours. She has been involved in a multitude of activities including 4-H, dance, track, cross country, student council, basketball, volleyball, softball, National Honor Society, and the Youth Advisory Council. Blank has stated that, “volunteering has also been a huge part of (my) life,” from things like bingo at the Sanilac Medical Care Facility when she was young to the most recent Moving Wall Project. She graduated as the Sandusky High School Class of 2017 Salutatorian and plans to attend Central Michigan University in the fall to study mathematics and possibly pursue a career in engineering.
Miss Amanda Mrozek is a Valedictorian at Sandusky with a 4.0 GPA. Throughout her high school career, she has been involved in band, jazz band, honors band, student council, National Honor Society, academic games, quiz bowl, drama, track, tennis, competitive cheer, and sideline cheer. She has also participated in many volunteer activities such as Food 4 Friends, the Active Assailant Program, the Flags of Remembrance Project, The Moving Wall Project, Senior Citizen Prom, tutoring, Holiday Crafts for Kids, and much more. Beginning in the fall, Amanda will be attending Central Michigan University for secondary education with a major in English.
Through the Sanilac County Community Foundation, the very first Samczyk/Ball “Pay-It-Forward” Scholarship was awarded in 2015 and has since awarded over $85,000 in scholarships to graduating Sandusky High School students as a way to say thank you for all of the important lessons that teachers, the community of Sandusky, and family brought into Ms. Samczyk’s life. The scholarship was named in honor of Ms. Samczyk’s family: Her father, Ed Samczyk, and her mother, Elaine Samczyk (Ball). As for the “Pay-It-Forward” part of the scholarship name, Ms. Samczyk says, “Well, that’s obvious! Simply, pass the goodwill forward and help someone else along the way. That is what it is all about.” She hopes to see the scholarship doing just that – paying it forward – for many years to come.
For further information about the Samczyk/Ball “Pay-It-Forward” Scholarship, and other scholarship opportunities through the Sanilac County Community Foundation, contact Melissa Anderson, Executive Director, at the Foundation office at 810-648-3634.