by Peter Bodley
The Coon Rapids Community Scholarship Association has awarded 178 scholarships to the Coon Rapids High School Class of 2013 totaling more than $165,000.
That’s a jump from 2012 when 140 scholarships were awarded to graduating seniors in the amount of $136,800.
The scholarships were presented to recipients during Senior Recognition Night at Coon Rapids High School May 29.
According to Bruce Frank, volunteer executive director of the association, the main reason for the increase in scholarship funds this year was memorial scholarships in the name of the late Howard Kortmeyer.
Kortmeyer, the incorporating founder of the scholarship association in 1966 when he was a counselor at Coon Rapids High School, died April 22 at the age of 86.
He was a guidance counselor at the school from 1964 until his retirement in 1987, but remained active in the scholarship association’s fundraising efforts until his death.
“We received several thousand dollars in memory of Howard from family, friends and former colleagues as well as members of the Coon Rapids Kiwanis Club, where Howard was a member,” Frank said.
“Those dollars made a big difference.”
In addition, two locally owned businesses contributed to the scholarship association for the first time, Frank said.
“We would be really happy if some businesses in Coon Rapids that are not locally owned donated to the association,” he said.
“Our expenses continue to increase.”
According to Frank, the number of alumni sending scholarship dollars to the association was up this year, too.
“One was a $300 memorial scholarship from the widow of an alumni from the Class of 1966, which was the first graduating class at the high school,” Frank said.
Frank has been involved in the scholarship association since the fall of 1976 and he doesn’t recall any prior donations involving alumni from the Class of 1966, he said.
This year association members picked out three classes, two from the 1960s and one from the 1970s, and sent letters to all the graduates, not just community scholarship recipients, seeking donations for the association fund drive, Frank said.
“We were very pleased by the response to that,” he said.
According to Frank, the association was able to award scholarships to more than 90 percent of the seniors who applied.
The association’s criteria for awarding scholarships is two-fold – the student’s academic record in their four years at the high school, which counts two-thirds, and their school and community activities, which counts one-third, Frank said.
Students get points for their involvement in the school’s extra-curricular activities as well as in the community, for example their church, he said.
Financial need is not a consideration, but most of the students receiving scholarships from the association have a need, Frank said.
The more than $165,000 raised for scholarships this year has enabled the association to reach a milestone – over $3 million in scholarships since the association’s first year in 1966, according to Frank.
He never thought that milestone would be achieved, Frank said.
“When I joined the association in 1976, we did not even think $1 million was achievable for many, many years,” he said.
The association has already started raising money for scholarships for the Class of 2014, according to Frank.
“We have received one donation so far,” Frank said.
Scholarships are awarded to students who will be attending four- or two-year colleges and donations are tax deductible, he said.
For more information contact Frank at 763-755-5550.
Peter Bodley is at