Incoming Ferris Freshman Benefits from Pokagon Fund Scholarship, Community Support

Destiny MitchellAn incoming Ferris State University freshman is reaping significant scholarship benefits from her community, as Destiny Mitchell, of Union Pier, Mich., prepares to arrive on campus, and determine her course of study.

Mitchell is one of six Pokagon Fund scholarship recipients, as she received a $10,000 award that will be distributed over a 45-month period. The Pokagon Fund supported six graduates from New Buffalo Area and River Valley high schools, and Executive Director Janet Cocciarelli said since 2007, $4.2 million in scholarships have been awarded to traditional, and non-traditional students in the Harbor Country area. That area includes the city of New Buffalo, as well as Chikaming, Three Oaks and New Buffalo townships.

“It builds the local capacity of Harbor Country to provide this support to our community,” Cocciarelli said. “Our scholarships for this year’s high school graduates ranged from $5,000 to $10,000, and we also support non-profits, charities and other organizations.”

“Coming from a single-parent home, this scholarship was very important to my pursuit of higher education,” Mitchell said. “Without the Pokagon Fund, I definitely would not have had the resources to attend Ferris.”

Mitchell graduated from New Buffalo Area High School, this spring, and the school has established Bison scholarship funding for graduates, as a result of revenue sharing from a percentage of the slot machine play at Four Winds Casino Resort. Mitchell said she, and her classmates benefit greatly from the funds distributed through this program.

“I am one of eight New Buffalo Area High graduates beginning at Ferris, this fall,” Mitchell said. “I’m excited to be headed to Big Rapids, and my best friend, Ashley Yuan, will be my roommate in the residence hall.”

PHOTO CAPTION: Destiny Mitchell of Union Pier, Mich. will arrive at Ferris State University later this month with scholarship support from the Pokagon Fund, a nonprofit organization funded by revenues from the Four Winds Casino Resort.