HENKE URGES BCSC RECIPIENTS TO “PAY IT BACK”
Karl Henke, 2004 BHS graduate, is a local success story. Karl is now a Naval Reactor Engineer living in Alexandria, Virginia and working in Washington DC. He deals with the construction, testing, operation, and maintenance of Virginia class nuclear submarines, currently specializing in the electrical, instrumentation, and control aspects of the propulsion plant. He finds his work challenging but extremely rewarding.
Karl says he frequently finds himself applying skills learned at BHS to his every day work and feels that BHS laid the foundation for the skills necessary for him to successfully do his job, even more so than his college courses did.
He very much appreciates the BCSC’s generous financial help years ago and attests that it truly made a difference in his life. He adds that it allowed him to study in Germany and to help fund grad school. Because of this Karl is motivated to give back to the fund that helped him more than a decade ago. He feels a scholarship is truly an investment in the future, in his case serving in the US Navy and working on nuclear submarines. Karl has generously donated scholarship funds to BCSC on more than one occasion and encourages other BHS grads and BCSC recipients to consider how the Berlin community invested in them and whether they too can pay it back to the next generation of Berlin scholars.
The Berlin Community Scholarship Corporation (BCSC) was founded by Sue Yankowski, a local Berlin business owner who was also an active school board member. In 1983 she happened to be reading a Wisconsin School Board Association newsletter when she came across a one-paragraph item about a new community scholarship corporation in Baraboo, Wisconsin. That five-sentence paragraph sparked an idea. She wondered why couldn’t Berlin do the same thing. The concept was simple: solicit memberships from community members, encourage additional donations, and pool the money into one large investment fund. The cost to individuals would be minimal, but the combined amount would eventually generate scholarships for local students.
Never one to sit on a good idea, Sue organized a steering committee to lay the framework for BCSC, which formally organized with Berlin School Board approval in April, 1984. Part of that framework included awarding scholarships, not just to graduating high school seniors, but also to college students to help enable them to complete their educations. Sue Yankowski retired from the BCSC Board of Directors in 2001 after serving as its president for seventeen years. In 1985 the first four BCSC scholarships were awarded totaling $2000. Thanks to donations from individuals, businesses, and estates BCSC continues to grow and provide scholarships to area graduating seniors and college students.
BCSC is governed by a board of local citizens who represent various groups including businesses, educators, professionals, senior citizens and members at large. Despite the amount of work it takes to run an organization like BCSC, there have never been any paid positions. The corporation is run totally by community volunteers. BCSC is a nonprofit 501.(C)3 corporation making all donations tax deductible. There are a number of ways to support Berlin area students though BCSC including: joining annually for a $10 minimum donation, providing a named scholarship according to your wishes and including BCSC in your estate planning to provide ongoing scholarships for students.