Applications open for Cass County Sheriff’s Community Scholarship

CASSOPOLIS — For the 23rd year in a row, the Cass County Sheriff’s Office is looking to give back to the community it serves by supporting local students.

Sheriff Richard Behnke

Applications are currently open for the Cass County Sheriff’s Community Scholarship. Eight applicants from across Cass County will receive $500 toward their continuing education. Recipients will have the option of renewing the scholarship for a second year, resulting in $1,000 of aid over two years. Applicants must be Cass County residents but do not need to attend school in Cass County to receive the scholarship. Applications are due April 10.

“The main qualification for the scholarship is the community activity the applicant has,” said Cass County Sheriff Richard Behnke. “This scholarship is about giving back to your communities and being active in the community. Being involved in student council, 4-H and things of that nature makes [students] more eligible. … It does not need to be law enforcement-related. This is about community involvement, what you have done for your community and what you will do in the future.”

The scholarship program was started 23 years ago, and to date, has awarded $102,725 to Cass County students for a total of 205 scholarships. Behnke said the scholarship is an important way his office can give back to the community.

“Without community involvement, people participating, helping out each other, we would be at a loss as a sheriff’s office. We depend on the community to help us with our issues,” Behnke said. “Volunteerism is important to us, and this is one way we can encourage that.”

The money for the scholarships is raised through annual golf outings hosted by the sheriff’s office. One of the scholarship requirements is that the winners be available to volunteer at the next golf outing. This year’s outing will take place July 30.

“The whole idea is to raise money and help out so more people can have the same opportunity,” Behnke said.

Last year, the golf outing was smaller than usual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, Behnke said the event was a success that raised all necessary funds. This year, Behnke is hoping to have the event back to its normal size.

In the meantime, before the next golf outing, Behnke said he would encourage local seniors to apply for the scholarship.

“Fill out your application and get it in before the deadline,” he said. “You could get $500 to $1,000 to help with your education.”

Applications can be found at area high schools. Applications can also be obtained by calling the sheriff’s office at (269) 445-1201.

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