The coronavirus pandemic has made it a difficult time for high school graduates. Still, recognition of the leaders and best in the Shiawassee region remains a priority of the Cook Family Foundation. This spring, 22 young men and women from 10 area high schools will receive scholarships to the University of Michigan thanks to the generosity of the Cook family.

   Two students have been awarded one of the highest accolades in the greater Shiawassee County region, the Bruce & Jacqueline Cook Scholarship, which provides four years of tuition to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Another 20 students have received scholarships from the Cook Family Foundation, including one recognizing the Foundation’s benefactor, Donald Cook.

  Mason Collard of Owosso and Kyah Ribble of Perry have both been awarded the prestigious Bruce & Jacqueline Cook Scholarship, which is funded by its namesakes separately from the Foundation. Academically accomplished high school seniors in the Shiawassee region are nominated each fall and invited on a trip to Ann Arbor. Winners are selected based on their educational achievement, leadership and scholarly promise.

   Mason Collard is the son of Jeff and Yvette Collard. He is the salutatorian of his class at Owosso High School and was a National Merit Commended Scholar as well as a Shiawassee Scholar. He also received the Frederick E. Gould and a Regents Merit Scholarship from the University of Michigan. Mason was a representative at Boys State and ran track and cross country, in which he was a two-time state qualifier. He plans to major in biology or microbiology in the hopes of working in the field of scientific research.

   Kyah Ribble is the daughter of Lee and Nina Ribble. She graduated third in her class from Perry High School and was a National Merit Commended Scholar as well as a Shiawassee Scholar. She was the drum major of the marching band, played volleyball and ran track. Kyah plans to major in physics and work toward a PhD in experimental particle physics.

  The Donald Cook Scholarship was awarded to Kerra Hinrichs of New Lothrop. The Donald Cook Scholarship, endowed by the Cook Family Foundation, is awarded by the University of Michigan to a student attending the College of Literature, Science and the Arts and is named after the 1920 graduate of the University of Michigan who established the Foundation with his wife Florence-etta in 1978.

   Kerra Hinrichs is the daughter of Jon Hinrichs and Jennifer Pemberton. She is the valedictorian of the 2020 New Lothrop High School class and a Shiawassee Scholar. She served as president of the New Lothrop student council and the FFA. Kerra played volleyball and ran track. She is interested in pursuing a medical career and will major in pre-med at Michigan.

   Of the 22 scholarship recipients from the 10 area high schools, seven of them are valedictorians of their class. Scholarship winners are, from Byron Area High School, Brandon Brozich; from Chesaning Union High School, Katrina Pursche; from Corunna High School, Evan Roka; from Durand High School, Jacob Lockhart; from Laingsburg High School, Anne Claus; from Morrice High School, Alina Stinson; from New Lothrop High School, Kerra Hinrichs and Charles Weber; from Ovid-Elsie Area High School, Shayne Loynes, Benjamin Maynard, Noah Payne and Ella Sheedlo; from Owosso High School, Mason Collard, Kathleen Dignan, Lynnae Gilman, Noah Jafri, Avery Peplinski, Lucille Popovitch, William Scrimger and Jorden Sowash; and from Perry High School, Lindsey Bixler and Kyah Ribble.

   Two of the scholarship winners, Lucille Popovitch and Charles Weber, graduated from high school in 2019 but deferred their enrollment for one year to pursue experiences in foreign countries.

   A dinner to recognize scholarship winners and their families has been cancelled this year. The event was scheduled for Monday, May 11. Professor Anne Curzan, Dean of the College of Literature, Science and the Arts was intending to speak. The Cook Family Foundation is investigating whether it can hold an alternative event later this summer. “We want to celebrate these outstanding students and send them off to college with the recognition they deserve,” said Foundation President Bruce Cook.

   While most of the students plan on attending the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor this fall, several of the students will be attending U of M-Dearborn. The Foundation provides scholarship support to high-achieving students attending any of the University of Michigan campuses.

   For more information on the Foundation’s scholarships visit

Cook Family Foundation Scholarships was last modified: May 18th, 2020 by Karen Elford