A scholarship fund set up to benefit graduates from six Calumet County school districts by a hard-working couple is itself working hard to carry out their charitable legacy.
Violet Laack taught in Reedsville, Brillion and Kiel, starting in a one-room schoolhouse, and continued substitute teaching into her 80s. Her husband, Ruben, worked at his cheese factory in Potter into his mid-70s, even after he sold it.
Ruben died in 2001 at age 84, but Violet lived to age 97. Upon her death on Jan. 28, 2014, a $1.2 million gift established the Ruben and Violet Laack Memorial Scholarship Fund within the Community Foundation’s affiliate, the Chilton Area Community Foundation. It offers scholarships to graduates from the high schools in Brillion, Chilton, Hilbert, New Holstein, Stockbridge and Kiel.
Just four years later, the fund has awarded $3,000 scholarships (increasing to $3,500 this year) to 18 students. In addition, A second endowment – the Violet and Ruben Laack Memorial Fund — has granted $4,680 to three libraries in the Chilton area.
One of the first Laack scholarships helped Kylie Sweere, a 2015 graduate of Hilbert High School, attend the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh. The Laacks would be pleased with the work ethic Kylie has demonstrated there.
In a recent email, she described her activities.
“I’m still studying at UW-Oshkosh, now with a double major in English and history and a minor in linguistics. … I’m enjoying myself immensely and have become very involved in the campus community. I joined Greek life last year, and, through that, I work closely with Breast Cancer Education and Awareness. I began editing for our school newspaper, The Advance-Titan. I’ve also been a supplemental instruction leader for the past year and a half. With this program, I prepare and lead extra sessions to help students review material and prepare for upcoming exams.”
Her plans for the future include a trip studying in France and graduate school in history following graduation in May 2019.
“I’m so grateful for the gift of the Laack scholarship, and I know I couldn’t be this successful or fulfilled in my college career without it,” Kylie said. “Without the scholarship, I definitely wouldn’t be able to pursue graduate school right away. It’s also enabled me to be so involved on campus. I don’t have to worry about working around my classes to pay for school.”
Do you know someone looking for scholarship assistance? Many of our scholarship applications are due March 1. See what’s available to students from 60 Fox Valley-area schools, or learn how to establish your own scholarship fund.