Beloit Public Library Foundation Awards Scholarships
August 8, 2019
Beloit Public Library Foundation awarded $6,000 in scholarships to three students working at Blender Café to pursue their college educations. All three students are recent graduates of Beloit Memorial High School who have worked at the café as part of a partnership between the library and School District of Beloit.
Arianna Smith, daughter of Jaime DeMontigny, received a $1,500 Crew Member Scholarship. Smith participated in volleyball, basketball, and National Honor Society while at BMHS. She will be attending UW-Whitewater in the fall to study criminology in the hopes of returning to Beloit to be a crime analyst and eventually earn a master’s degree.
“I’ve gained very important skills such as time management, multi-tasking, and communication that will be very helpful in the future,” Smith said. “Working at the Blender helped me learn how to better communicate and build relationships with all different types of people. It has taught me much more about time management and responsibility.”
Cullen Schooff, son of Dan Schooff and Alyssa Whitney, received a $1,500 Crew Member Scholarship. Cullen participated in soccer, National Honor Society, Future Business Leaders of America, and Chemistry Club while at BMHS. He will be attending Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in the fall. His major and career plans are still undecided.
For Schooff, the most meaningful experience working at Blender Café was learning how to start a business and being involved in the start-up process. “In my time at the Blender Café, I have learned many things,” he said. “I learned about business and customer service. Of course, I’ve learned a lot about food and hospitality. I learned how to work. I made friends, laughed a lot, broke a lot of glasses. My time has been enjoyable and I would recommend it to those who are looking for their first job. I had a great time.”
Brett Kiger, son of Derick Kiger and Melanie Fetter, received the distinguished Crew Lead Scholarship with a prize of $3,000 for his exceptional leadership and dedication. Kiger participated in baseball, volleyball, hockey, National Honor Society, Finance Team, DECA, and Kids Against Hunger while at BMHS. He will be attending Beloit College in the fall to study engineering and play baseball. He would like pursue his master’s degree and become a biomedical engineer.
“Working here from the start, I have had the opportunity to build relationships and work under three different managers,” Kiger said. “I have been able to learn a lot about them as well as managing and what it takes to run the Blender. This acquired knowledge and relationships have been the most meaningful experiences at the Blender for me.
“This job was a great learning experience, along with being able to work during the school day and receive class credit. This is a great way to develop skills and knowledge in hospitality and customer service.
All three scholarships were determined by the students’ reliability, quality of work, professional growth, leadership abilities, customer service skills, and teamwork. Dollar amounts also were pro-rated based upon hours of service. Both Cullen and Kiger have worked at the Blender since it first opened, with Kiger taking on extra responsibility at times as a shift lead. Smith has only been with the Blender since last fall but has shown incredible responsibility, leadership, and growth from her very first day on the job.
Blender Café opened in June of 2017 as a unique partnership between Beloit Public Library, Beloit Memorial High School, and Kerry, highlighting what can happen when municipalities, school districts, and corporations work toward a common goal.
The full-service restaurant offers customers coffee drinks, smoothies, sandwiches, soups, salads, and baked goods while providing its student workers from the BMHS hospitality program with on-the-job experience as well as class credit.