College News

Barton Foundation awards five $10,000 scholarships to local students

people standing in front a graphic of a cougar
(From left) Ashton Waggoner of La Crosse, Jenna Dean of Great Bend, Mary Dimmitt of Ellinwood Andrea Orona Favela, of Great Bend and Matthew Donecker of Claflin pose for a photo Thursday on the Barton campus.

September 12, 2022
Story and photos by Joe Vinduska

Thanks to scholarships from the Barton Foundation, five Barton Business students are getting a huge financial boost of $10,000 towards paying for college so they can pursue career goals after school with as little debt as possible. The scholarship program also includes a mentorship program and is funded by a generous gift from the Schmidt Foundation of Hays.

The students awarded scholarships include Jenna Dean and Andrea Orona Favela, of Great Bend, Mary Dimmitt of Ellinwood, Matthew Donecker of Claflin and Ashton Waggoner of La Crosse.

Dean said this scholarship not only helps her achieve her goals but helps her entire family.

“This is amazing because my mom is a single mom, and I really want her to save up and be able to send my sister to school,” she said. “Knowing that I have this and a few other scholarships really means the world to me, so I know that she can provide for my sister.”

Donecker said the scholarship has helped him transition his educational path after an injury made him rethink the tech career he was pursuing.

“For me personally, it's definitely a blessing,” he said. “Last year, I went to tech school and kind of figured out that it wasn't really the route that I wanted to go with having another knee surgery and the impact on the body of that career … switching to go the business route at Barton and just getting that opportunity means a lot to me and I’m thankful for it.”

To qualify, applicants must be a full-time student majoring in business or marketing and attend Barton for two years. Preference is given to students in Barton County, but applications are accepted from Barton’s entire service area, which includes Ellsworth, Pawnee, Rice, Rush, Russell and Stafford Counties. Other students are given consideration after that.

Barton Foundation Director Lindsey Bogner said the students are fortunate not only for the financial benefit but for the mentorship program that is built into the scholarship.

“This program is so beneficial for these young entrepreneurs because it includes time with local businesses based on the student's interest and a local nonprofit as well to give the students real-world experience in different business models,” she said. “We are just so grateful to the Schmidt Foundation for this generous gift that will help educate future business leaders.”

The Schmidt Foundation was created by Bob and Pat Schmidt of Hays to contribute to the success and well-being of the communities served by Eagle Communications, which Bob owned and turned into an employee-owned company. The Schmidt Foundation has also committed to funding these five scholarships next year to another round of five students.

For more information, contact Bogner at (620) 786-1141.