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Mark D. Schwarck Memorial Scholarship

1 winner$1,000
Application Deadline
Dec 11, 2023
Winners Announced
Jan 11, 2024
Education Level
High School
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Has overcome adversity
Education Level:
High school senior

Mark D. Schwarck was a beloved husband, father, brother, son and educator who touched the lives of many and passed away too soon. 

In his life, Mark made a positive impact on the world as a champion for the underserved. As a single parent, Mark had to personally overcome adversity in order to obtain his degree so he could become a teacher and help others.

This scholarship aims to honor the memory of Mark D. Schwarck by supporting students who have encountered barriers in their pursuit of higher education.

Any high school senior from Iowa may apply for this scholarship if they have overcome adversity, including being a single parent, the child of a single parent, an immigrant, a first-generation student, a survivor of an adverse childhood experience, etc. Underrepresented minorities are encouraged to apply.

To apply, tell us about yourself, what challenges you have overcome in order to achieve your educational goals, and how you plan to make a difference.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Drive, Need
Published August 11, 2023
Essay Topic

Please tell us about yourself and what obstacles you have overcome to meet your educational goals. What are your plans to make a difference in the world?

400–600 words

Winning Application

Keri Rasmussen
Creston High SchoolORIENT, IA
When I was 14, I didn't think I would live to see graduation. I was raising myself, realizing how much was wrong with the world, and trying to make ends meet for myself and my family. When I was made to live with my sister, the world didn't end, but mine came crashing down. I thought I would be sharing a futon with my sister's cat for the rest of high school, but right at the beginning of my sophomore year we got a two-bedroom apartment across town and I finally got my privacy back. I was working two jobs while going to school full-time to make it work, but that was still better than sleeping on a couch. I thought I might eventually move back in with my parents at some point and live like a normal teenager again, but when my parents sold my childhood home I knew that was a childish pipe dream and this was just how it was going to be. Turns out, that wasn't how that was going to be, because right after my junior year of high school, my sister kicked me out with no warning and nowhere to go. All of my closest friends were out of town at the time, and I spent my first night alone with nowhere to go and no hope it would get better. When my best friend got back from vacation, I basically moved in with her and her family. They were all so welcoming and inviting, but I didn't feel at home in their house. I continued to couch surf for most of the summer, as my best friend's family spent a lot of time out of town. I spent my 17th birthday alone, driving around the town I was stuck in, with no one to see and nowhere to go. Still working two jobs and nearing the end of my last summer in high school, things started looking up. I had saved up enough money to get my own apartment and there was even one available in my hometown. Being a minor, I would need someone to sign the lease for me, but my brother is 18 and was willing to do it if it meant I had a safe place to go every night. However, when it came time to sign the lease, he told me he would be moving in with me and moving out of my parent's place. I was devastated, I had been working 60 hours a week all summer to make this happen for myself, and it felt like my privacy and what I had worked for were just being handed off to someone else. I did eventually relent and let him move in with me, under the condition he did all the handy work and killed all the spiders. It was a deal and we moved in a week sooner than we had even thought. That was 2 months ago now, and we're comfortably living in a cute little 2 bedroom apartment with just enough room for my 4 cats. It's still hard and working all the time isn't easy, but I'm proud of how far I've come, and at least I'm not still sharing a futon with a cat.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Dec 11, 2023. Winners will be announced on Jan 11, 2024.

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