Johnston Family Supports M.V. Dollars for Scholars

At the heart of the Maquoketa Valley Dollars for Scholars program are endowment funds established to honor the legacy of loved ones. This is the case in the Harlan and Thelma Johnston Family Scholarship.

Harlan and Thelma Johnston, married in 1942 and farmed on the Johnston family farm west of Hopkinton.  This farm, settled by Harlan's grandfather, Alexander Johnston in 1856, continues to be owned by the Johnston family.  In 1950, Harlan and Thelma moved to Hopkinton, where they purchased a hardware, plumbing and heating business and raised their two children, Joyce and James. 

Thelma Johnston served on the Hopkinton School Board at the time of the reorganization into the Maquoketa Valley School District.  Harlan and Thelma's children graduated from Maquoketa Valley in 1963 and 1964, respectively.  Joyce (Sedlacek) is now retired as a library media specialist from Cedar Rapids Schools.  Jim retired as vice president of Heartland Investment Associates in Cedar Rapids.

Photo: Harlan & Thelma Johnston

Harlan passed away in 1994.  In 2012, Thelma, Joyce and Jim decided to establish the Harlan and Thelma Johnston Family Scholarship Fund for the MVDFS in honor of the Johnston Family. It's no coincidence that they chose an organization that has education as its foundation. "Education was part of the culture in which we grew up and was very important to our parents.  Having Lenox College in Hopkinton exposed our family to a higher level of learning and my grandfather and father always expressed how important getting some type of education was.  There was never a question whether or not I would go to college", stated Joyce.  Jim added that "Eight of nine of my grandfather Johnston's children attended Lenox College and all 18 of my Johnston first cousins and their children have continued with some form of education beyond high school." 

"Power in numbers" is more than just a phrase - it is a vital part of the success of the MVDFS program and is part of the reason why Joyce and Jim continue to support Dollars for Scholars.  Joyce said "We know so many of the donors and to see so many of us coming together as a community to support these students is phenomenal."   

Keith Kramer, the President of MVDFS, has watched the program grow beyond what he could have ever imagined. He attributes its success to the numerous student benefits seen by the community as well as the positive donor experiences it provides. Kramer stated, "Each donor has their own unique reason for establishing these endowment funds but there is one common denominator - the value that we as a community place on education and lifting our students up."   

Neither Joyce nor Jim live in the Delhi/Hopkinton area, but the community is part of their heritage and what has shaped them into who they are today. They see Maquoketa Valley Dollars for Scholars program as a way to help students shape their future.  It is their hope that all students can find their passion in life and use education as a way to turn that passion into a career.  They cannot think of anything that would honor their parents and grandparents more.   



Delhi Lion's Club Continues Support of Dollars for Scholars

The Delhi Lions Club is proud to present a check to the Maquoketa Valley Dollars For Scholars Program to fund scholarships for area graduates. Their donation of $5,000 will fund the ongoing endowment to provide scholarships to local graduates. The Lions Club has been supporting the community for many years and also supports numerous local events and activities. They believe it is very important to give back to the community. Delhi Lions Club Member Beckie McAreavy stated, "The Maquoketa Valley Dollars for Scholars program has always been at the top of our support list. They enable donated funds to grow and keep on giving into the future. We are building the future of this nation with every graduating class and it is important to support scholarships to encourage secondary education." The Delhi Lions Club currently is glad to be a part of the building foundation to enable students to reach their goals and educational success.

L to R - Keith Kramer (MVDFS President), Kim Hunt, Karen Knipper (Both MVDFS Board Members), Beckie McAreavy (Delhi Lions Club), & Doug Tuetken (MVDFS Board Member & Delhi Lions Club)


 Cruisin' for Maquoketa Valley Dollars For Scholars

When one thinks of classic cars, the Maquoketa Valley Dollars for Scholars doesn't typically come to mind. But this unusual and delightful combination began back in 2006 when a group of cousins who grew up in Delhi decided to go for a fall drive in their classic cars. They put a route together, invited some friends and set out across Northeast Iowa for an afternoon cruise. As a result, the SHeRiFF Annual Car Cruise began. SheRiFF is an acronym that stands for Sands, Harbach and Robbins Family & Friends, the cousins who began the event. In their first year of the cruise, they had nearly 10-12 vehicles parading the back roads on a sunny fall day. And when the members decided they also wanted to do something to help others, they added a freewill donation component to the event and gave all donations to the Maquoketa Valley Dollars for Scholars.

Each year, the group tries to change up the route, visiting new sites and welcoming anyone to the group who likes nice rides and cruising with friends. They've gone as far north as Prairie Du Chien, as far east as Balltown, journeyed west to Independence and south to the Sutliff Bridge area. The SHeRiFF Cruisers pick a Sunday in October and so far have been graced with mostly sunny skies each and every year. They enjoy good food and fellowship every time out!

Over the past decade, the car cruise has increased in popularity & they have slowly added friends and family to the group. The SHeRiFF cruise recently celebrated their 10th anniversary of the event and had 22 vehicles join in on the fun.  In total, over $455.00 was raised for the MV Scholarship Fund and their 10 year total to date is over $4,000.00.

The participants of the SHeRiFF Cruise have been delighted to year after year combine a great time with a great group of people and at the same time, contribute back to a community they love!

cruise1  cruise2  cruise3

Photos: Ford Truck:Tim & Brenda Harbach, Green Torino: Terry & Carol Harbach, Green Mustang: Tracy & Mark Freeze, Roush Mustang: Chris & Shron Robbins

Deb Hardin Memorial Scholarship

The Deb Hardin Family is proud to establish an Endowment fund scholarship with the Maquoketa Valley Dollars for Scholars in her honor. Deb Hardin was born and raised in the Hopkinton area where she also made her home and raised a family with her husband Terry. She and Terry raised 4 children; Molly Franzenburg , Jeremiah Hardin, Nora Billmeyer and Hannah Hardin. They have 7 grandchildren Madison, Connor and Lydia Franzenburg , Khloe Hardin, Izabella Heffernan, Lylah Billmeyer and Tillie Davis.
Deb loved visiting her grandchildren often and enjoyed watching them grow. Deb was known for being a hard worker as well. She spent her working career in Nursing in and around Linn and Delaware County. In her later working career, she cared for many who needed long term health care needs. She spent many weekends and holiday caring for those who needed her love and care. Deb also took pride as a bookkeeper for Kevin Kramer with his trucking business and Rick Kramer at Sno-Go. Her sense of pride and enjoyment in her life's work will be remembered by many.


Sonny Haren Cruise

sonnyharencruiseSonny Haren was a familiar person in Delhi and the community.   His family chooses to keep his memory alive by holding a benefit every year with the proceeds going to Maquoketa Valley Dollars for Scholars and the Sonny Haren Memorial Scholarship.  Sonny is remembered as a fun-loving, friendly, helpful man whose life ended suddenly. Helping support the benefit passes on Sonny's helpfulness trait by providing a scholarship each year for a Maquoketa Valley senior.  

His sister, Lynnette Schnittjer, is the mainstay behind setting up and carrying out the benefit.  Close friends and other family members do their part in helping with the details and by taking part in the event.  It's a time of sharing stories and memories and enjoying a ride through NE Iowa.  

The Sonny Haren Cruise has taken place the first or second weekend in August since two months after his death in 2011.  Generally there are around 30 family members, including siblings, cousins, aunts/uncles and their families.  This year the 32 family members, including a cousin from Idaho, rode in a passenger bus.  The total on the ride averages 150-200 with most riding motorcycles and enjoying the Iowa countryside with stops in various towns.  The 2015 ride stopped in the towns of Colesburg, Millville, Farley, Earlville and returned to Delhi where it started.

The Sonny Haren Memorial Scholarship was endowed in 2012.   Lynnette said "every year I think this will be the last ride, but every year people push to have it happen again the following August.  It's a great way to add to Sonny's scholarship so that we can offer a substantial award in the spring to a graduate.  Everyone has fun on the ride and it's a great time to share stories and memories while benefitting an MV senior."  

Maquoketa Valley Dollars for Scholars takes pride in presenting a scholarship to all graduates who apply.  Together MVDFS; the alumni, friends, businesses, teachers, service organizations, clubs, and local churches; have awarded 751 MV graduates a total of $521,936. Because their awards are from Dollars for Scholars, most colleges or universities do not reduce student aid dollars by the scholarship amount. In some cases, the scholarship will receive partial or full matching dollars.

Remember the Sonny Haren Cruise and look for information on the dates for 2016 and keep Maquoketa Valley Dollars for Scholars in mind when wishing to help further the education of Maquoketa Valley students.  

Kenny Becker Memorial Scholarship

The Kenny Becker Family is proud to establish the Kenny Becker Memorial Scholarship with the Maquoketa Valley Dollars for Scholars. Kenny Becker was a lifelong member of the Hopkinton community. He was born on the Becker family farm northeast of Hopkinton in 1938. In 1955 Kenny graduated from Hopkinton High School. In 1959 he was married to Kay Ludwig. Together they raised 3 children who all graduated from Maquoketa Valley High School, Rick in 1978, Ron in 1981 and Machelle in 1986. Kenny worked off the farm at Energy Manufacturing in Monticello for nine years before retiring in 2005. He was an active member of the community by serving on the parish council at St. Luke's Catholic Church, serving on the Delaware County Extension board, was an active member of the Knights of Columbus, and was also a member of the board of directors for Swiss Valley Ag Services.   Kenny enjoyed spending time with his children and grandchildren and will always be remembered for putting his family first.  Kenny lived and worked on the family farm his entire life and would be pleased that the farm continues to be owned and operated by the family.  Kenny's family felt this endowment was a great way to pay tribute to their husband and father.

Dave Schnittjer Endowed Scholarship

The Dave Schnittjer family is proud to establish the Dave Schnittjer Endowed Scholarship fund with the Maquoketa Valley Dollars for Scholars. Dave wanted only to farm all of his life, and he did just that; enjoying each and every day to the fullest and being a good steward of the land and animals in his care. He completed 12 years of school at Delhi Consolidated Schools. While he chose not to go to college, he felt education was valuable and knew that many occupations needed a more formal education, such as college. When his wife, Judy, began her involvement with Maquoketa Valley Dollars for Scholars in 2004, he supported her and the efforts of the organization. Dave was so impressed that the community would pull together in funding the scholarships and that Maquoketa Valley Dollars for Scholars would make sure every student who applied was awarded a scholarship. Upon his death in May of 2013, his family chose to use the memorials received to fund an endowed scholarship in his name to benefit future graduates of Maquoketa Valley High School. Each year at the Awards Night, memories of Dave come alive as a scholarship is awarded in his name to help a student aid in their upcoming college expenses.

Dave's family includes his wife Judy, children Sheryl Schnittjer, Mark Schnittjer, Lori Miller, Al Schnittjer, Frank Collette and Matt Jenatscheck, as well as spouses, 12 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren - most of whom are Maquoketa Valley graduates or current students.