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Seven Gratiot County Students Receive ACE Scholarships

The Alma College Community Engagement (ACE) Scholarship Program rewards students for their active volunteer service and involvement in their schools and local communities.

Alma College has announced the winners of the 2020 Alma College Community Engagement (ACE) Scholarship award. The ACE program rewards students for their active volunteer service and involvement in their schools and local communities. Graduating seniors from Gratiot County or Gratiot County high schools were eligible to apply.

Seven highly-involved and community-minded Gratiot County students are the recipients of full tuition scholarships to attend Alma College in fall 2020.

“We are excited to welcome our third group of ACE scholars to the Alma College campus,” says Alma College President Jeff Abernathy. “We continue to be impressed by the caliber of candidates applying for the award and it was very difficult to select this year’s recipients.”

“The ACE Scholars program provides outstanding students from Gratiot County the opportunity to receive an Alma education that will prepare them for leadership opportunities and a rewarding career,” says Abernathy. “We look forward to the unique contributions these scholars will surely make to our campus and to the surrounding community in the years ahead.”

Community service is a major component of the ACE Scholars Program. It not only rewards community involvement that students demonstrate in high school, it supports continuing community service and leadership.

During their four years at Alma College, the scholars will volunteer with local agencies, serve as community engagement ambassadors, attend workshops and professional development conferences and participate in service/leadership student organizations.

This year’s recipients represent the third class of ACE Scholars, bringing the total number of recipients from Gratiot County to 28 students. Each ACE Scholar has been awarded full-tuition scholarships, inclusive of institutional, state and federal aid.

Alivia “Liv” Giles, Breckenridge High School senior, is a member of the National Honor Society, the American Legion Girls State and involved with the Breckenridge Historical Society, Writing Team, Quiz Bowl, Drama Club, Blue and Gold Collection, and Alma Community Art Center. She was also recognized with the SPAM award for drama, outstanding Sophomore Spanish Award, Writing Team all-league, as well as the recipient of Art and English awards. After college, Liv hopes to combine her love of writing and theatre into work for Playbill in New York City. She is the daughter of Kurt and Heidi Giles, of Breckenridge, Michigan.

Miakoda “Mia” Canfield, Fulton High School senior, is a member of the National Honor Society, Youth Advisory Council and is actively involved in the Above the Influence program. She is also a mentor to elementary school students. Mia is the recipient of academic letters. She would like to pursue career aspirations as a collegiate athletic trainer and coach. Mia is the daughter of Clint and Sara Canfield of Perrinton, Michigan.

Rylee Koutz, St. Louis High School senior, is a member of the National Honor Society and recipient of the Family Award for cross country. Rylee plans to pursue a career as an allergist or pharmaceutical technician after college. She is the daughter of Michelle Koutz and Robert and Tiffany Smith of St. Louis, Michigan.

Kara Sutherland, Alma High School senior, is actively involved in child advocacy, PAL cheerleading, as well as a volunteer for the Euclid ballfields, and a National Anthem singer. She is the recipient of the academic letter and medal. She would like to pursue her career interest in Spanish education. Kara is the daughter of Marc and Heather Sutherland of Riverdale.

Julia Gotaas, Alma High School senior, is a member of the National Honor Society, including holding the position of secretary as well as member of the National Technical Honor Society, serving as class president. Additionally, Julia is involved in the Youth Advisory Council, 4H Club, cross-country, competitive cheer, and track and field. She is the recipient of academic honors, letters, and pins. She plans to pursue a career as a veterinarian. Julia is the daughter of Jeff and Jennifer Gotaas of Alma, Michigan.

Taylor Cleveland, Alma High School senior, is a member, and vice president, of the National Honor Society as well as a scholar athlete. She is also actively involved in student council, serving on the executive board, as well as serving as a class leader for the Youth Advisory Council. Taylor was also named a Kiwanis student of the month. She has career interests in exercise science, physical therapy, and psychology. Taylor is the daughter of J.T. and Kristi Cleveland of Alma, Michigan.

Trenton Bergey, Alma High School senior, is a member of the National Technical Honor Society. He has been goalkeeper for the Alma High School Varsity Soccer team for four years as well as a member of the wrestling team for two years. Trenton is also a PAL Youth Soccer Coach and referee, a volunteer bagpiper, and a Relay for Life volunteer. Trenton was also the recipient of the All-State Honorable Mention Soccer Goalkeeper and named to the Lansing State Journal’s “Dream Team” for Division 3 soccer. After college, Trenton plans to pursue a career as a physical therapist. He is the son of Jessica and Blake Williams and Brandon and Stacy Bergey.

Story published on April 22, 2020