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Keith D. Abens Memorial Scholarship

Funded by
user profile avatar
Kinnetz Family
2 winners, $1,000 each
Application Deadline
May 1, 2024
Winners Announced
Jun 1, 2024
Education Level
High School
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school senior
Involved in music or wrestling

Keith D. Abens was a beloved husband, father, grandfather and businessman. He was heavily involved with wrestling throughout his adult life, most notably excelling while wrestling for Iowa State University. In addition to his love for the sport of wrestling, he was a lover of music and especially enjoyed playing music for his church.

Being well-rounded and multi-faceted is crucial for the success of modern students as they enter the workforce. While focusing on academic success is important and a worthwhile effort during college, having diverse interests and pursuing one’s passions, like Keith did, is helpful for learning and developing as a person. In addition to the work-life balance benefits that come from having outside interests, balancing multiple responsibilities can teach time management, which is a critical skill in the professional world.

This scholarship aims to support well-rounded students who excel both in the classroom and in their outside activities. 

Any high school senior in Iowa who excels in wrestling or music may apply for this scholarship.

To apply, tell us which activity you’re involved in, why you love it, and how you balance your extracurriculars with your academics.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Drive, Passion
Published November 20, 2023
Essay Topic

Which activity are you involved in and why are you passionate about it? How do you balance your passions with your academic responsibilities?

400–600 words

Winning Applications

Grace Pausley
Okoboji High SchoolMILFORD, IA
I am involved in Youth in Philanthropy. In this program, 25 local students are admitted and our goal is to raise money for local non-profits in the area. In this program, I go out in the community and raise money through generous donors. After a few months of this, the program receives grant requests which the students read and review. After reading and reviewing these grants we decide who we want to give our pool of money to. Last year our program raised 57,000 dollars and we were able to fulfill three grant requests! I am passionate about philanthropy, especially at a young age, because it teaches you good lifelong skills. I have learned a lot from philanthropy like how to gain the confidence to ask for money, keep your donors and money organized, and learn how to effectively read & review grant requests. I also believe that philanthropy is important because it is a good way to give back to your community. I live in a tourist, lakes area community with a lot of state parks and nature accesses that have given me a lot. I am very grateful to live in such a beautiful community like mine that I am very passionate about giving back to. My community has done so much to me that giving back to it is very important to me. It takes a lot to balance my passion of giving back and my academic responsibilties. Although, I have found that joining programs that are for the youth help me balance this in the best way. My YIP meeting happen once a month around 7:15pm on Wednesday. The very few meeting of this program allow me to still go to youth group most Wednesdays, and the later time allows me to finish my sports practice before the meeting. When not in season this also gives me time to finish my homework and studying for the day. I have also found that good time management and planning skills have helped me keep a good balance. Time management is important when you have a lot going on because it keeps you at minimal levels of stress. Planning is also very important because it helps keep you organized and helps me to know what I have to get done for that day. Overall, Youth in Philanthropy is a great program I am in that allows me to fufill my passion of giving back to my great community. I am able to balance my passions and academic responsibilties by joining youth based programs and having good time management & planning skills.
Isabelle Gehrke
Okoboji High SchoolMILFORD, IA
The thing about me is that I have never been involved in just one activity. Throughout my high school career, I have done practically every fine arts event. From musicals/plays and solo ensembles, to individual and large group speeches and being involved in the different bands and choirs. The amazing thing I can say is that I don’t regret doing any of it. All of it has truly changed me as a person and made me a much happier individual. Music is such a big part of who I am and so I hope to continue pursuing it even throughout college by being a part of the choir. Getting to share my singing voice and other musical abilities makes me happy because it usually seems to make other people happy too. Even just singing at my church on Wednesdays and Sundays brings me so much joy. I am so passionate about all of these activities as they bring out the best in me and allow me to make connections and friendships that will last a lifetime. In the end, it's not about the music made, instead, it’s about the journey you took to get there and the rollercoaster ride you experienced in order to grow. I hope my love for music will never die. To be honest, I have never fully been an expert at managing all of these passions of mine, but over my high school career I have found that communication is key. In order for you to be successful you need to communicate with your coaches and leaders so that everyone is on the same page of understanding. It took me so long to figure out how to do this properly, but over the years coaches and teachers became more understanding that I was in multiple events and that those events didn’t always match up on timelines. It has been a bit of a struggle, but one I am proud and glad I went through. It taught me a lot about multitasking and needing to speak up for myself to be able to do all the things I want to be involved in. When it comes to academics I just have to stay on top of my school work the best I can, and if anything, I just communicate with my teachers when I need more time or assistance. It has never been easy as it gets so busy and time consuming, but I find it to be a skill I am very successful at now. Being involved truly helps you time manage and it has helped me to be a more proactive individual overall when it comes to my education. I have loved all my time and the amazing experiences I have gotten to be a part of with Okoboji High School's fine arts. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for me!


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is May 1, 2024. Winners will be announced on Jun 1, 2024.

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