Berlin Community Scholarship Corp.

DOWNLOAD 2023 APPLICATION HERE - BCSC 2023 Application Form



The Berlin Education Association, made up of educators from the Berlin Area School District has provided scholarships, awarded through BCSC, since 1989.  An annual spaghetti dinner raises funds to provide scholarships for college students pursuing degrees in education.


Tom grew up in Beaver Dam and went on to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison before joining the Marine Corps.  Liz grew up right here in Berlin and attended Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska for two years before graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1961. Tom began working at the Berlin Foundry in 1964 working in sales and other positions, eventually moving his way up to president of the company.  The Butterbrodts purchased the foundry in 1986 developing it into a thriving business employing hundreds of people. 

Because of the many hard-working people who labored in the business and community, when the foundry was sold again in 1995, the Butterbrodts decided to give back to the community through the Berlin Community Scholarship Corporation.  They chose this organization because Tom was a long time board member and vice president of BCSC and Liz is a BHS alum.  At that time they established two annual scholarships, a $2,000 one awarded to a high school senior and a second $2,000 scholarship to be awarded a college student.  They hope these scholarships help area students further their post secondary educations.


The Class of 1960 believes that sustaining friendships and keeping in contact is extremely important.  When the number of deaths in their class continued to grow, they decided to endow a scholarship from their class.  A small group of 1960 graduates began the collection and requested class participation.  In May of 2010, for their 50th class reunion, they were able to present their first scholarship to a graduating BHS senior.  The student selected each year must be in good academic standing and the award is given after completion of a semester of college.  The Class of 1960 is happy to endow an ongoing $1,000 scholarship and believes that BCSC has an excellent reputation for administering scholarship funds. 


As the Berlin High School Class of 1963 began planning for their 50th class reunion, they decided to establish an endowment that would provide an ongoing scholarship to a graduating BHS senior.  They presented their very first scholarship that year and continue to add to their endowed amount to provide a larger scholarship.  They encourage and challenge other class alumni to also consider giving back to the community through scholarships. 


In celebration of their 50th class reunion, the Class of 1964 established an endowed scholarship to be awarded annually to a graduating Berlin High School senior.  Class members continue to donate funds to their endowment to increase the scholarship amount and show their support of area students.


When Connie Curran graduated from Berlin High School in 1965, she knew exactly what she wanted to do-attend UW Madison and become a nurse.  There was an obstacle, though.  She needed financial aid and received it in the form of several local scholarships.  Those scholarships, although not big by today’s standards, helped her achieve her goal.  More importantly, those scholarships became the impetus for Curran’s generosity 43 years later when she contacted BCSC in 2008 to establish a named scholarship to be awarded annually.

Connie Curran, not only achieved her goal of becoming a nurse, but later became the first woman dean at the Medical College of Wisconsin.  Later, she went on to found her own healthcare company, served as the founding executive director of C-Change, a national organization dedicated to eradicating cancer, and continued to serve as a national health consultant and speaker.

Connie believed in giving back to one’s community.  “We are all given time, talent and treasure,” she said, “ and it’s up to us to pass those on, whether it’s writing a check or volunteering our time.”  “Everyone has the opportunity to give back in some way.  For me, giving scholarships allows me to express the hope that young women will develop their leadership skills and change the world.”  Before her passing in 2014, Ms.Curran had made provision in her will for an endowed scholarship to continue on in her name. The Connie Curran $10,000 scholarship is awarded annually to a high school graduating senior girl displaying academic and leadership skills.    



Ollie Disotell was a 1938 graduate of Berlin High School and served his country in the Marine Corp during World War II. He was the assistant cashier at Farmers and Merchants Bank for over 40 years and also owned several businesses. Ollie was also active in a number of civic and service organizations within the community. His wife, Katherine, loved children and helped raise three generations of nieces and nephews. Ollie and Katherine Disotell included the Berlin Community Scholarship Corporation in their estate planning to provide ongoing scholarships to area students.


Drexel Building Supply, formerly Berlin Building Supply, has given an annual scholarship since 2002 to a graduating senior with an interest in the building trades. 


When Eva B. Smith, a lifelong educator, passed away in July 2000 she left a legacy which will live on in the form of scholarships for Berlin area students.  Miss Smith was a public school teacher and principal for many years.  Then from 1967 until her retirement she was a school psychologist for Cooperative Education Services Agency 13 (CESA).  In the 1970’s and 1980’s she worked in the Berlin Area School District.

Eva Smith held education in high regard and left a substantial portion of her estate to the Berlin Community Scholarship Corporation.  This contribution will provide scholarships totaling $11,000 annually to be awarded in her name.


Farmers and Merchants Bank is a full-service, community bank that supports its customers, treating them like family with industry leading tools and technology.  Founded in 1940 and run by the Kujawa family ever since, the compassionate family leadership structure gives the business the ability to offer flexible banking in a unique way. 

Farmers and Merchants Bank provides scholarships to both BHS graduating seniors and college students each year.  Recipients must be in good academic standing and the scholarships are intended to help alleviate book fees and tuition costs. These scholarships are awarded annually to 8-10 area students with each receiving a $1000 scholarship. 

Farmers and Merchants chose BCSC to administer the scholarships because they knew the application process and distribution of funds would proceed smoothly. 


Fortifi Bank has been Growin’ Wisconsin for over 140 years – one person, one business, and one relationship at a time. With locations in Berlin, Green Lake, Montello, Westfield, Omro, Winneconne, Green Bay, and Waunakee, they take great pride in every facet of the communities they serve – from homebuyers, small businesses, and local agriculture, to the area’s overall economy. They understand the importance of education and offer financial education and scholarships to graduating high school in each of their communities. They believe in giving back and feel that BCSC aligns with their values and offers a strong foundation to assist them in providing scholarships to area students. 


Karl Henke, 2004 BHS graduate, is a local success story. Karl is now a Naval Reactor Engineer living in Alexandria, Virginia and working in Washington DC. He deals with the construction, testing, operation, and maintenance of Virginia class nuclear submarines, currently specializing in the electrical, instrumentation, and control aspects of the propulsion plant. He finds his work challenging and extremely rewarding.

Karl says he frequently finds himself applying skills learned at BHS to his every day work and feels that BHS helped lay the foundation for the skills necessary for him to successfully do his job. He very much appreciates the BCSC’s generous financial help years ago and says that it truly made a difference in his life. Because of this Karl is motivated to give back to the fund that helped him more than a decade ago. He feels a scholarship is truly an investment in the future, in his case serving in the US Navy and working on nuclear submarines. Karl has generously donated scholarship funds to BCSC and encourages other BHS grads and BCSC recipients to consider how the Berlin community invested in them and whether they too can pay it back to the next generation of Berlin scholars.


Howard Kolpin, along with his brother Earl, started Kolpin Manufacturing in 1944.  They produced quality accessories for outdoor activities and, although not located in Berlin any longer, are known around the world as a leader of quality products in the hunting industry.  In 1999, Howard’s widow, Avis, created a scholarship in his name.  Before Avis Kolpin passed away she made provision in her will for a $5,000 named scholarship to be awarded annually to a college student with a major in Business. 


Harold Klassa was a graduate of the Berlin High School class of 1941. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps during World War II. After being honorably discharged from the service he became a licensed meat cutter. After retiring from meat cutting he worked for several years at the Berlin Foundry.

His true passion was local politics and he became a member of the Berlin School Board, serving eight years and being elected school board president for part of that time. He then served as alderman for the fifth ward from 1963 to 2005. During that time he was elected Berlin Mayor from 1977-1985 and from 1993-1997. As an alderman and mayor, Harold considered the best interests of the citizens of Berlin his number one priority. “Harry Klassa Day” was proclaimed on June 11, 2005 to recognize his 42 years of service to the community.

Family and friends are providing an annual scholarship of $500 to be presented to a graduating high school senior in his name. The Klassa family feels that since their father was so active in local politics, that a scholarship in his name was something he would have been proud of.


Joshua Lesniak graduated from Berlin High School in 2005 and was swept away by an avalanche in 2014 while snowmobiling with friends in Colorado.   Josh was an avid outdoorsman and loved hunting, fishing and snowmobiling.  He was also a Master Certified Automotive Technician and enjoyed working on anything mechanical.  Josh would say that his favorite place in the whole world was on top of the mountains.  He’d say “Go big or go home” and he lived just that way through the last day of his life.  Family and friends are providing an annual named scholarship to a graduating senior in his memory.


Sandra Lother taught business classes at Berlin High School for 28 years and her husband Tom was an accountant and office manager at the Berlin Fabrication Company and Foundry and its successor companies.  Sandra was part of the original committee that laid the framework for the Berlin Community Scholarship Corporation beginning in 1984.  She continued as a BCSC board member until her retirement from teaching in 1998.  At that time Sandra and Tom moved to Casco, Wisconsin to enjoy their retirement.  They live on a farm that has been in her family for over 100 years.  Sandra says “Berlin schools and BCSC have a special place in my heart” and she and Tom are pleased to be able to help students complete their college educations with an annual scholarship. 


Lonnie and Adeline Nohr lived and worked in Berlin for many years.  Lonnie was a pattern maker at Berlin Foundry and Adeline was a nurse at the Berlin Memorial Hospital. The Nohr’s wanted to provide assistance to college students, enrolled in medical studies, as they completed their education.  Adeline stated that college costs continued to rise and she knew many students struggled to pay those costs.  Before Lonnie passed away in 1994 and Adeline in 1997, they had included Berlin Community Scholarship Corporation in their estate planning in order to provide scholarships according to their wishes. Since 1998, annual scholarships totaling $2000 have been awarded to nursing students in their names. 


Harlo Paulsen grew up on the family farm just east of Redgranite.  Harlo was educated in the Berlin School system, he was a good student and loved being a part of the football team.  He graduated from Berlin High School in 1962. He attended UW-River Falls for almost two years, returning home to help run the family farm when his father became ill.  His Dad passed away at age 52, making it impossible for Harlo to complete his college degree.  When Harlo passed away in 2009, a good friend suggested establishing a scholarship in Harlo’s name.  His family and friends meet each fall, near the time of Harlo’s birthday, to share memories and contribute to the scholarship.  It was agreed the scholarship should be awarded to a student pursuing studies in agriculture since Harlo was “always a farmer at heart.”


All four of Melvin and Mary Pederson’s children (Mike, Ann, Paul, and Jim) grew up in Berlin and graduated from Berlin High School. All four also went on to graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. They decided to provide this scholarship since they all received scholarships upon their graduations and greatly appreciated both the financial help and the recognition. Their parents were very strong supporters of education and believed that their children and all children should get as much education as possible. They selected BCSC to administer their annual scholarship because they were impressed with the organization’s leadership and process. They hope that their $5,000 scholarship to a graduating high school senior will help lead to the recipient’s future success in life.

Ralph & Sophie Redemann Memorial Scholarship

Ralph and Sophie Redemann were two life-long Berlin area residents.  Ralph graduated with the Berlin High School class of 1938 and later enlisted in the Army proudly serving during World War II.  For most of his working career he was an employee of the Berlin Tannery.  Sophie graduated with the Berlin High School class of 1936.  She started working as a stitcher at several different Berlin “fur and leather” companies and many years later retired as a nursing assistant from Juliette Manor.  After retirement they spent many hours enjoying the activities at and volunteering at the Berlin Senior Center, as well as traveling to various locations throughout the United States.

In their memory this scholarship has been established by their daughter, Donna Redemann Bersch, Berlin High School class of 1968 and son in law Carl Bersch.  Donna is a retired Fox Valley Technical College Instructor who believes, as her parents did, in the importance of education and the value of a good teacher, the scholarship will be awarded annually to a graduating senior entering the field of education.


Former elementary educator, Ruth Blasé, left provision in her will for ongoing scholarships to be awarded through the Berlin Community Scholarship Corporation.  Ruth and her husband, Dick, lived in the Berlin School District.  Beginning in 2000 an annual scholarship in their names has been awarded to a college student as they complete their post high school education. 


Ruth Krause, a longtime elementary teacher in Berlin, was the first person to establish a named scholarship through the Berlin Community Scholarship Corporation.  Upon her retirement in 1985 she established the Ruth Krause Scholarship to be awarded to a graduating high school senior attending college to become a teacher.  After her husband, Fred, passed away Ruth chose to add his name to the scholarship to honor him.


Richard “Dick”.Sieg graduated from Berlin High School in 1964, then graduated from UW-Oshkosh in 1968 and later earned a Master’s Degree from Northern Michigan. Dick taught at Lombardi Middle School and Southwest High School in Green Bay. He became the Southwest Girls Basketball Head Coach in 1988 and led his team to tremendous success for eleven seasons. While at Southwest, he coached his team to six straight conference championships and took his team to the WIAA state basketball tournament in Madison three times. In 2006, after retiring from head coaching, he went on to be the Assistant Coach for the Gillett Girls Varsity Basketball team for seven years, helping coach them to two conference championships and two WIAA Regional Championships. Dick positively influenced and inspired countless players not only to become better players, but also to become better people.

When people heard Dick Sieg’s name they thought of a great math teacher, a great coach and a great leader of the Green Bay Education Association. But, he also spent countless hours volunteering within the community, especially for two of his favorite organizations The Aging and Disability Resource Center and the Salvation Army. His positive attitude was reflected whenever he was asked how he was and his response was always the same, “fantastic and getting better.”

Before Dick passed away in 2015, he made provision for ongoing scholarships to be awarded in his name through BCSC. His estate is annually providing one $3000 scholarship to a graduating Berlin High School girl basketball player and one $3000 scholarship to a student pursuing a degree in education.


Thrivent Financial has provided scholarships since 2013. David & Sara Shattuck, Cathy Hargrave and Sarah Kasuboski proudly contribute to this scholarship. The Berlin Thrivent team feels strongly about the importance of education. They are passionate about helping others, and giving back to the community. Assisting in helping local Berlin area students pay for college is a natural choice for them.

The student receiving this scholarship is ideally leaning toward a degree in Business and or Finance. The Thrivent team is pleased to offer this $1,000 scholarship annually to a graduating Berlin High School senior.


The Walker Insurance Agency is owned and operated by the third generation of Walkers.  Greg Walker and his wife, Michelle, who is a teacher at Berlin High School recognize the importance of education and award a graduating senior with a scholarship annually to put towards their college education.