The award recipients pose outside the high school following the end of the ceremony. More than 50 students were recognized for their achievements. (Leader photo/TED YOAKUM)
The award recipients pose outside the high school following the end of the ceremony. More than 50 students were recognized for their achievements. (Leader photo/TED YOAKUM)

Archived Story

DUHS seniors given awards, scholarships at annual ceremony

Published 8:00am Friday, May 23, 2014

Like the other 55 ceremonies in years past, Wednesday night’s Dowagiac Union High School Honors Program was filled with triumph, trophies and tears.

More than 50 students were recognized for their scholastic and community achievements, receiving cords, certificates, plaques, pins and other rewards. More importantly, many were awarded scholarships to help them advance their promising futures to the next stage in their education.

“Over 42 scholarships will be awarded tonight, which for a school our size is unbelievable,” said Superintendent Mark Daniel during his opening remarks to the crowd of students, parents and fellow educators.

A variety of community organizations, businesses and educational institutions handed out nearly $550,000 worth of scholarship money to Dowagiac students this year, according to information from the guidance office.

“That scholarship money you’ll be receiving tonight will go a little ways, but you’ll have to find others way to finance your education and your training,” Daniel said. “You can make that happen, and please do so. It makes a world of difference when you have that additional training, that additional degree beyond the high school years.”

While the students were the focus of the evening, a few late members of the community were honored, with awards named in their memory.

The Dowagiac Fine Arts Boosters annual awards were renamed the “Rebecca Walker Memorial Scholarship,” after the Dowagiac High School student and choir member who died in a car accident in November. Students Andrea Hatter and Heather Montgomery were the recipients of the inaugural honor.

In addition, the Dowagiac Optimist Club also rechristened their award to the “Dave Strlekar Memorial Scholarship,” honoring their former president and longtime Dowagiac principal who died last month. Montgomery was the recipient of this award as well.

Daniel had a simple request for the departing senior class, who graduate next month: to send a thank you note to a teacher, principal or administrator that made the largest impact on their lives.

“It’s free, cheap, inexpensive, but man does it mean a whole lot to an educator,” he said.

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