Church helps students afford college experience

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Church helps students afford college experience

Nov. 16, 2007  News media contact: Tita Parham*
800-282-8011  Orlando {0765}

An e-Review Feature
By Steven Skelley**

Harriett Kaebnick believed in the importance of education, and she put that belief into action.

When she died several years ago, she left a bequest of nearly $2.3 million to Hollywood Hills United Methodist Church to establish a scholarship program in memory of her daughter, Myrtle, who was a librarian.

Twenty-four college students shared in awards from the Harriet G. Kaebnick Scholarship Endowment. They were honored at a special luncheon during the summer. Photo by JoAlice Randall. Photo #07-0706.

In the last four years, 72 students have been able to attend college because of that gift.

“Her wish was to help worthy church members obtain their goal of higher education,” said Al Mizell, a member of the scholarship committee. “One person can make a difference.”

Steve Blast says the scholarship he received has made a difference in his life and ministry.

A member of the church since 1990, Blast has volunteered in the church choir and as youth director and children’s minister at the children’s chapel on Tuesday afternoons. The 47-year-old now attends Asbury Theological Seminary with the goal of becoming a United Methodist elder.

“This scholarship has been such a blessing,” he said. “It has definitely helped in my goal of becoming a minister. This is really a blessing from God for many.”

To be eligible for a scholarship, applicants must have been active members of Hollywood Hills United Methodist Church for at least nine months prior to applying for the scholarship. They must also be average or better students and maintain at least a 2.0 grade point average during the year of their award.

Students can receive support for up to four years of undergraduate study and then additional awards for graduate work. Minimum awards are $2,500 per year for community college students and $5,000 per year for four-year undergraduate and graduate students. 

Ken Mosteiro says the scholarship his daughter received has made all the difference.

“Without this scholarship, we couldn’t afford for Marisa to study engineering at the University of Miami,” he said. “It gave our daughter the opportunity to go to a great university.”

Marisa graduated second in her high school class and has been very active at church for nearly all of her 18 years, often volunteering in technology and media ministries.

“I really appreciate this scholarship,” she said. “It has been so beneficial. I couldn’t be here on this awesome campus if it wasn’t for the scholarship.”

For many families the scholarships have helped lessen the financial burden of rising college costs.

Abby Kneur, a music education major at Florida State University, said her scholarship allows her to go to school without taking out loans, and it has taken “a lot of financial stress off my family.”

“This scholarship is a big deal,” she said. “I come from a big family. I’m really blessed to have this.”

Mizell says the award is not a free ride. “Applicants sign and must fulfill a scholarship covenant stating that they will be active in church attendance and they will perform charitable work through the church or in the community while at college and when at home in Hollywood,” he said.

Kneur still volunteers with the church’s spiritual dance team when she’s home on summer and Christmas break.

A total of 24 students received scholarships this year, in addition to 23 students in 2006, 15 students in 2005 and 10 students in 2004.

A luncheon to honor this year’s Harriett Kaebnick College Scholarship recipients was held at the church during the summer.

Information about the scholarship program is available by contacting the church at 954-989-8304 or visiting the church’s Web site at


This article relates to Financial Assistance for Students.

*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Skelley is a freelance writer based in Beverly Hills, Fla. His columns appear in the Naples Sun Times newspaper and Faith & Tennis magazine.

Contact Us

The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church

450 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue
Lakeland, FL 33815

(863) 688-5563 or toll free (800) 282-8011