Exceptional Individuals Honored Through Scholarships & Awards

Many years ago, the Sisters of the Presentation instituted a number of scholarships and awards to further the educational bequest of the congregation’s foundress, Nano Nagle. In the spirit of her desire to serve, the sisters are delighted to honor the following admirable recipients.

Mother Vincent Hennessy Foundation Scholarship

In celebration of Mother Vincent Hennessy and the Dubuque Presentation foundation, the Sisters of the Presentation offer a $1,500 scholarship to a graduating senior from Wahlert Catholic High School in Dubuque, Iowa, which the congregation has actively supported since its inception.

This year’s recipient is Caroline Schmid due to her dedicated service to young children, her parish and the Dubuque community, especially at Mount St. Francis.

Caroline has enjoyed being of service since she was young, volunteering at the Sisters of St. Francis summer camps, at parish picnics and making food baskets for those in need. She has also partnered with her sisters (she is a triplet) to create a Sister Pal Club at Wahlert Catholic High School to write and make cards for retired and quarantined sisters at Mount St. Francis. The club has grown to over 30 members.

Julie Tebbe, inviting and discerning minister at the Dubuque Franciscan Sisters and a former member of the Dubuque Presentation community, shares, “Caroline is one of the most dedicated people I know. She is kind, compassionate and dependable. Witnessing her with the young campers, it is evident that she is an accepting and joyful person. She fulfills any task or commitment asked of her, and she does all with a smile on her face!”

“It’s been so nice to know that my actions impact others in a positive and meaningful way,” states Caroline. “I’ve gotten cards back from some of the retired sisters stating that the cards we send them brighten their days and that it means a lot to them that we do it.”

Caroline plans to join service-based clubs and continue to seek out opportunities to serve others as she pursues a degree in secondary education at Boston College in Massachusetts.

Nano Nagle College Scholarship

The Nano Nagle College Scholarship rotates among Iowa high schools where Presentation Sisters have ministered. The $1,500 scholarship, awarded to a student who models self-giving service helping to improve the lives of others, intends to aid graduates in the continuation of their education.

This year’s scholarship is awarded to Anya Westhoff, a student at Beckman Catholic High School in Dyersville, Iowa. Her contributions to her parish, school and community serve as an outstanding example for people of all ages.

Anya has been involved in serving meals to the homeless, volunteering at her local library, leading school retreats and distributing communion to the homebound. She has also aided struggling families through her local Right to Life office.

Grateful for the enrichment she has received in her service to others, Anya shares, “I never knew how much I would enjoy distributing communion to the elderly and homebound and giving back to my community until taking this opportunity. Though I would like to sleep in on Saturday mornings, the reward of going out to see, talk and engage with some of the sweetest people in my community is a real blessing.”

Adam Denner, band director at Beckman, testifies to Anya’s leadership among her peers. “She always is curious, seeking new challenges, projects and interests to enrich herself and those around her. Even during these last two years, with all of the challenges that have occurred in education and life, Anya has continued to demonstrate leadership and drive, serving as a role model to her peers and to younger students as well. I am confident that she will find success at whatever she sets her mind to accomplish – a bright future is ahead of her. She has shown the capacity to achieve with a growth mindset and collaborate as a caring leader in a fashion that begets success.”

“She puts her heart and soul into everything she does,” adds Anna Durr, a teacher at Beckman. “Whether the activity is at school, work, the community, or most importantly, at church, Anya seeks to do her best for the good of those around her.”

Anya plans to continue her education at a Catholic college and is discerning religious life.

Dubuque Associate Partnership Scholarships

Presentation associates contributed money to offer four scholarships to individuals associated with ministries supported by the Sisters of the Presentation: La Luz Centro Cultural in Hampton, Iowa; Hotel Hope in New Orleans, Louisiana; Presentation Lantern Center in Dubuque, Iowa; and Hispanic Outreach Ministry of Evangelization (HOME) in rural Iowa. Three $1,000 scholarships and one $800 scholarship were awarded to assist individuals to further their education, receive job training, or to help with immigration/citizenship expenses. Congratulations to the 2022 Presentation Associate Scholarship recipients,

Elbia Martinez – La Luz Centro Cultural

Elbia, from Honduras, has lived in the United States for eight years with her husband and two young children. She hopes to pay for an intensive English course as she feels learning English is very important to contribute more to society. Elbia is currently studying in the La Luz Google certificate program to gain a certificate in data analytics that would allow her to work remotely for a technology company so she can provide for her children and family. Elbia states, “I have lived very beautiful experiences with the Sisters of the Presentation while evangelizing in Hampton. The creation of La Luz has also become a great response for the Latino community. We are very grateful and we are not alone while someone from La Luz is accompanying us on our journey.”

Liliana Velasco, states in her letter of support, “Elbia is always looking for ways to better her life and her children’s future. She started cleaning at La Luz and we got to know her more by interacting with her more often. One of her goals is to learn English and every week she comes on Mondays and Wednesdays to learn with our ELL class.”

Isaac Nava – HOME

Isaac was born in the United States and lives with his parents and brother, as well as his aunt and uncle, two of their children and a cousin. Being bilingual, he has had to interpret for his parents at times. In his letter of support, Sister Paula Schwendinger states, “On any given day there may be cousins in the house. Isaac is very good at caring for them. I am impressed with his kindness and patience.”

Isaac is the youngest of three siblings and has aspirations of being a construction manager. He is hoping to attend Kirkwood in Cedar Rapids because they have a program suited to his interests. Isaac says, “I want to own my own company in the future and make enough income to support my family. Being able to support my own family with no worries has always been a dream for me. I don’t want my own children to question if they can get a new pair of shoes, or buy jeans, or need something for a class.”

Omar Montiel Barrientos – Presentation Lantern Center

Omar, born in Puebla, Mexico, was brought to the United States at the age of one by his parents with hopes for a better life and opportunity. Omar says, “Growing up, my parents were always working to provide for me and my brothers. Never did I think I would have the opportunity to do something both my parents could not do, attend college. Today, I have the privilege of studying business administration and finance with a minor in Spanish and religious studies. My one big hope in these next few years is to be the first to walk across the stage, receive my degree and make my parents proud. My parents have endured so many hardships throughout our time in the U.S. Being the first to receive this degree, I feel, will give them the reassurance that coming here was worth it.”

Gul Naz – Presentation Lantern Center

Megan Ruiz, executive director of the Presentation Lantern Center, describes Gul. “Gul is a very pleasant and kind-hearted student. She speaks five languages and has volunteered to interpret on occasion for members of a family who moved to town recently.”

Gul states, “I am impacted by the Presentation Lantern Center in two ways: they are helping improve my American English and cultural understanding, and they guide me for my career building.” Gul hopes to be able to start volunteering at the local school district, and get accepted into an early childhood education program, thus allowing her the ability to begin paid work in the future.