Five college students from a parish in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois were among those who shared $3,000 in the Father Yunker Student Assistance Fund this academic year.
Diocesan recipients include Matthew Banaitis who attends Illinois Wesleyan University and is the son of Karen and Joseph Banaitis of St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Chatham; Austin Dierkes, who attends the University of Alabama, and his brother Adam who attends Southern Illinois University Carbondale. They are sons of Kathleen and Alec Dierkes of Chatham and members of St. Joseph the Worker Parish. Also honored were Brooke Metzger, a student of Illinois College and Nicholas Metzger, who attends Illinois State University. Their parents are Ramona and Michael Metzger and are also parishioners of St. Joseph the Worker in Chatham.
Scholarship recipients must be of Lithuanian ancestry, an active member of the Catholic Church and currently enrolled in an accredited college or university. The assistance fund was established through the generosity of Father Stanley O. Yunker who, upon his death, designated a portion of his estate to start a trust to fund college scholarships for children of Lithuanian descent. Students may apply for the scholarship during each of the first four years of college and is based in-part on the student’s financial need and other pertinent criteria.
The awards were announced by Father Jeff Grant, dean of the Springfield deanery and diocesan superintedent of Catholic Schools Brandi Borries. Both serve on the Foundation for the People which administers the assistance fund.