May 18, St. James High School seniors were awarded over $86,000 in scholarships by local businesses and community groups at their annual scholarship assembly.

May 18, St. James High School seniors were awarded over $86,000 in scholarships by local businesses and community groups at their annual scholarship assembly.
“We have an extremely benevolent community,” said principal Karla Beck during the event’s introduction. “On behalf of the St. James School Board and administration, thank you. Thank you [86] thousand times. That is the number we are so proud of hearing today.”
This year, 42 individuals received scholarships at the event. Thirty-seven members of the class of 2016 are planning to attend a four-year college, with nine going to Minnesota State University, five to Southwest Minnesota State University, four to Winona State, and three to Gustavus Adolphus College. Four also plan on attending school out of state, while 20 will be going to a technical school or community college. According to school guidance councilor Steve Witcraft, business, teaching, and nursing or medical studies are the most popular future interests for the senior class.
“Last year, I read that Mankato was so proud that their businesses and organizations gave somewhere between 35 and 40 thousand dollars to their seniors. We are about 8 percent of their population, and we over doubled their contributions,” Beck said.
KEYC’s “Best of Class” honors went to Christopher Jones and Katelyn Anderson. KNUJ Radio and the American Legion’s outstanding girl of the class was Madison Carlson, while Brady Halvorson was the outstanding boy selection. The Legion chose Jose Nelson Cuellar, Daniel Coleman and Cameron Giese as their Boys State selections, and the Legion Auxiliary selected Alicia Vera as the Girls State selection. American Legion Post #33 also awarded $500 scholarships to five students, Miguel Gonzalez, Noah Pinke, Bailey Haseman, Kellie Nessler, and Halvorson.
The Davidson Memorial scholarship awarded Carlson and Aubrey Eckstrom $2,500 each, Pinke and Alejandra Trapero $1,500 each, and Sydney Holland and Sophia Nelson $1,000 each.
Tony Downs Foods gave a $4,000 scholarship to Trapero, while Halvorson received $2,000 from Libanus Lodge  #96 of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons, and Haseman was given the $1,000 William Friesen Memorial scholarship.
The Fraternal Order of the Eagles #3420 awarded $1,000 to Chelsea Sykes for wildlife and conservation, and the St. James Eagles gave $1,500 to Nicole Koenig and Tylar Larson, and $1,000 to Madison Gertsema and Bailey Trickel. The Veterans of Foreign Wars gave $500 scholarships to Carlson, Halvorson, Madison Gertsema, Kelli Nessler, Pinke, Sykes, Andrea Wellnitz to while the Auxiliary gave $500 to Miah Rehm.
St. James Sertoma Club gave $1,000 to Holland and Koenig, and through the STRIVE program gave $500 to Jesse Carlson. The St. James Lions awarded Amelia Collier, Hollie Peterson, Eckstrom and Trapero $600 each, and a STRIVE scholarship of $200 to Juan Cardenas.  St. James Rotary awarded Madison Carlson, Nessler and Trapero $750 each, and gave a STRIVE scholarship to Hayley Farfan.
Two Mayo Clinic Dependent Scholarships, which awards recipients with $3,000 per academic year, went to Anderson and Samantha Rich-Thompson, while Mayo Clinic St. James handed out a scholarship of $1,000 to Carlson and $500 to Trapero.
Pioneer Bank awarded $1,000 to Halvorson, and $500 scholarships to Pinke and Ezekiel Thompson.
The Louis C. Anderson Memorial gave $1,000 to four students, Tyler Bass, Taylor Mahoney-Berg, Evan Morterson and Christopher Johnson.
La Convivencia, “A Committee of Workers” scholarships of $250 were given to Andres Martinez, Jennifer Rodriguez, and Juan Solorzano.
Education Minnesota awarded Allison Brandts and Emily Espinoza $750 each.
“This is my 17th year and every year I’m amazed by how much giving goes on in this community,” said Witcraft. “We always like having juniors come to watch this so hopefully they’ll be motivated and see the enormous possibilities open to them.”
Ashley Frederickson and Hailey Sagehorn, two juniors, were named this year’s Miss St. James representatives by St. James Railroad Days, and received $500.