Family turns their worst nightmare into hope for area graduates
Cancer took their little boy, but scholarships to help MHS grads continue to help the Rekowskis “Remember Kyle”
TINA L. SCOTT
The Remembering Kyle Memorial Scholarship
The Remembering Kyle Memorial Scholarship was established in memory of a four-year-old little boy named Kyle Rekowski, of Merrill, who died of leukemia in December, 1992.
“Our family chose to honor Kyle, and all Merrill High School graduates and their families who’ve faced cancer,” said Beth Rekowski of how and why the scholarship got started.
“This experience is shared, knowing the pain and hardships firsthand, whether it be financial or emotional difficulties that come from being in the world of cancer. Sadly, sometimes that includes the loss of a loved one as well.”
In previous years [except 2020 due to COVID], the family and other Remembering Kyle Memorial Scholarship supporters helped arrange a concert fundraiser to raise the money needed to provide one or more scholarships to Merrill High School graduates who applied and qualified because they are either a cancer survivor themselves or have or had a parent or sibling who has battled cancer.
“Since our scholarships began in 2013, we have awarded 29 scholarships,” Rekowski said. So far, in each year, the concerts/fundraisers have been able to help every qualifying scholarship applicant. In years where there is more than one applicant, the proceeds are divided evenly among the applicants/recipients for each year. In years where there was only one qualifying applicant, the scholarship recipient received 100% of the proceeds from the concert or fundraiser.
2021 Scholarship Fundraiser
“This year we have three applicants,” Rekowski said. “Isaac Sutton, Jack Zamzow, and Kate Steckbauer.” The Rekowskis are now focused on raising the necessary funds so they can award each of the three applicants with a Remembering Kyle Memorial Scholarship.
“Since our scholarships began, due to concert proceeds, and most recently, during COVID, due to individual fundraisers, we have been so fortunate that we have not turned away a single qualified Merrill High School graduate/applicant,” she said.
Unfortunately, “Due to ongoing COVID restrictions, and for the second year in a row, we will not be having a Remembering Kyle Memorial Scholarship fundraising concert,” she said. Rather, “we will be having a separate fundraiser, like we did during COVID last year.”
Rather than a specific event, the Rekowskis are calling on businesses and individuals to donate directly, perhaps donating the amount they would have otherwise spent to attend the concert fundraiser event. Donations can be made c/o mBank (soon to be Nicolet) on East Main Street in Merrill, for deposit into the Rememberking Kyle Memorial Scholarship account. You can also find more information at the Remembering Kyle Memorial Scholarship event page, on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/RememberingKyleMemorialScholarship.
Previous years’ Scholarship recipients
Including the three 2021 scholarship applicants funds are currently being raised for, the Remembering Kyle Memorial Scholarship will have raised funds to provide scholarships to 29 area students since the first year the scholarship was created in 2013.
Recipients of the Remembering Kyle Memorial Scholarship for previous years were:
2020: Jackson Rammer
2019: Robert Hinner, Megan Schroder, & Jamie Zuelsdorff
2018: Makayla Heller
2017: Greta Fermat, Mitchell Jaeger, Deanta Sanders, & Keia Woller
2016: Riley Sutton, Scott Wallace, Ali Zamzow, Collin Zoellner
2015: Bethany Hasenberg, Hannah Merrier & Kayla Sutton
2014: Grant Woller, Daniel Blakeslee, Whitney Hasenberg, Mikailia Juhlke, & Alexandra Roberts
2013: Emily Roberts, Collin Sutton, Paul Theorin, Jenna Zamzow, Thomas Zuelsdorff
With grateful hearts
“Our family is so very grateful for the ongoing support and help from every single one of our most loyal concert goers, scholarship donors, and all the performers and volunteers for concerts, throughout these past eight years,” Rekowski said.
“Thanks to all who’ve honored our little Kyle, and supported our family, by donating via concerts or via individual fundraisers, but most of all for supporting and honoring all of our scholarship recipients and their families.”
“As always, little Kyle’s family – Paul, Beth Anne, Collin, Matthew, and Michael Rekowski – thanks you from the bottom of our hearts!!” she said.