The Funds List

Over $6 Million in Scholarships to Denfeld Students since 1971

Thanks to the countless supporters who love Denfeld High School, the Greater Denfeld Foundation has many funds to supplement the great work of its students, teachers and staff.  “As long as this school exists there will be people benefitting from the kindness of these graduates; that’s a pretty unique and wonderful thing,” Bill Westholm (Denfeld Class of 1966), Denfeld principal (1995-2005) and former President of the Greater Denfeld Foundation, referencing the multi-million-dollar gifts to the Greater Denfeld Foundation by Denfeld graduates Marie Saltwick and Armond Hauge.

Application opens on November 1, 2023

Applications will be closed on January 15, 2024. 

 

Contact Lori Huska at lorihuska@gmail.com or call or text 218-340-5015 with any questions.

Student Scholarships & Awards

Both the Marie Saltwick and Armond Hauge Scholarships provide $3,000 renewable donations designed to support four years of post-secondary higher education for Denfeld graduates. Each year, these combined scholarships provide more than $100,000 for first year post-secondary education expenses for more than 40 deserving Denfeld graduates. 

The eligibility criteria are similar for both scholarships

Applicants must have a 2.8 GPA to apply.

A minimum 2.2 (Hauge) or 2.6 (Saltwick) GPA must be maintained for renewal after year one.

Scholarships can be used at any accredited two or four-year college, university or vocational school. Scholarship recipients can study any subject. Financial need is not a consideration.

Marie V. Saltwick Scholarship

$3,000  |  renewable  |  about 15 annually

Marie V. Saltwick graduated from Denfeld in 1925, and attended Carleton College in Northfield, MN, where she studied biology. After spending one year on the Iron Range as a teacher/principal in a two-room schoolhouse, she returned home to take a teaching position at Denfeld in the fall of 1930. Those who knew her say Miss Saltwick was as ordinary as they come, and that she fit the mold of the classic 20th century schoolteacher: “stern and detail-oriented, with a dry wit and that confident way of staring down misbehaving students over the top of her glasses.”

When Miss Saltwick retired in 1971, she became a founding member of the Greater Denfeld Foundation, and served on its Board of Directors into the 1980s. A fellow teacher and Foundation Board member, Jean Endrizzi, said “Marie was very strict in her way. She was demanding, but understanding. If a kid had it, she expected him to perform. If he had lesser abilities, she saw to it that there was a way for that kid to succeed as well.” 

Miss Saltwick lived in Duluth nearly all her life and did nothing extravagant. She never owned a new car and seldom traveled. At 80, she still mowed her own lawn. She led a life of quiet generosity and was always willing to give extra time for struggling students. At home, she cared for her older siblings as well as the parents of some of her colleagues at Denfeld. She was a smart, caring woman who never married and wasn’t one to cause a stir. However, following her death in 2001, Miss Saltwick did cause quite a stir. No one had any idea that she was a millionaire. 

She had left most of her unknown fortune to the Greater Denfeld Foundation for student scholarships. Her gift of $2.7 million allowed the Foundation to increase its annual scholarship allocations from about $8,000 annually in 2000 to over $100,000 per year in 2005. Miss Saltwick recognized and valued good character in the students she taught at Denfeld. Each year, 15 new students, who have demonstrated that same good character, are chosen to receive the scholarship created in her name.
Headshot of Armond Hauge, namesake of one of the Greater Denfeld Foundation scholarships

Armond Hauge Scholarship

$3,000  |  renewable  |  about 25 annually

Armond Hauge graduated from Denfeld High School in 1946 and worked as a mechanic for Ryland Ford Company in Duluth, retiring in 1989. In 2006, Mr. Hauge, passed away and left $3.2 million to the students of Denfeld High School, which was used to start another renewable scholarship fund. He got his first job when he was only six years old, helping his older brother deliver the Duluth Herald and News Tribune and later started selling national magazine subscriptions, in addition to his own paper route. By age 12, his sales ability was rewarded with a new bicycle from the magazine company, a goal he had been working toward for three years. Mr. Hauge was a dedicated, hard worker who valued education and wanted to help kids. Because he never married and had no children of his own, he was focused on giving back to his alma mater and helping those who could not otherwise afford to continue their education beyond high school.

Mr. Hauge earned his fortune by being a diligent saver. According to his niece, Juliane Netzel (Denfeld Class of 1965), “From the time he was a youngster, he taught himself to live on half of his paycheck and to save the rest, which led to his substantial investments.” She said her uncle believed in education for everyone, and wanted to help kids go to college. “Education was a big thing for him.”

Every year 25 new students who have demonstrated a strong work ethic are chosen to receive Hauge Scholarships, as Mr. Hauge’s success was due in large part to his respect for hard work and perseverance.

Greater Denfeld Foundation Awards

The Greater Denfeld Foundation provides seven annual scholarship awards to Denfeld High School graduating seniors funded through on-going gifts, donations and investments. These one-time awards are designed to recognize exemplary performance during the school’s Honors Night held each spring in Denfeld’s Auditorium.

Image of Denfeld High School representing the Greater Denfeld Foundation scholarships

Greater Denfeld Foundation “Leaders for Life” Award

$4,000  |   4 annually

The Greater Denfeld Foundation “Leaders for Life” Award is the Foundation’s highest honor given to the “best of the best.” The award is granted to four students who clearly exemplify the “Spirit of a Denfeld Hunter,” with a combination of strong academic success, enjoying the respect of the student body and the faculty, while doing everything they can to improve the standing and build up the reputation of Denfeld High School. Students who receive this honor are recognized for their collective contributions to their school and their community which have left a positive and permanent mark.

Headshot of Linda Soderman, namesake of one of the Greater Denfeld Foundation scholarships

Greater Denfeld Foundation Linda Soderstrom Service Award

$1,000  |  1 annually

The Greater Denfeld Foundation has continued to fund this award, first established in 1999 by family and friends of Denfeld Home Economics teacher Linda Soderstrom.  Soderstrom led the development of Denfeld’s Peer Helper and Mediation programs in 1988, and was known for her commitment to helping students through emotional and academic difficulties. She was a teacher and mentor to countless students, helping to instill in them a sense of caring and personal responsibility to their school and community. The award is given to a student who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to serving their peers, their school and their broader community.

Greater Denfeld Foundation Mark Overland Performing Arts Award

$1,000  |  1 annually

The Greater Denfeld Foundation established the Mark Overland Performing Arts Award to recognize a student who excels in and has been positively influenced by their participation in music or the performing arts programs at Denfeld. Described as a natural teacher, Mark Overland, or Mr. O as “his choir kids” called him, was Denfeld’s choir director for 20 years retiring in 2012, leaving a legacy of nurturing confidence and talent in hundreds of Denfeld’s young performers. He was behind 26 productions in the Denfeld Auditorium and created the show choir groups “Steppin’ Up” and “Solid Gold.” The award is given to a student excelling in and majoring in a music or performing arts degree program.

Greater Denfeld Foundation Stephanie Fehringer STEM Award

$1,000  | 1 annually

The Greater Denfeld Foundation has named its STEM Award in honor of Stephanie Fehringer. Mrs. Fehringer was well known in the Duluth robotics community until her passing in 2024. She and her husband Bruce founded the Denfeld Nation Automation Team 4009 in 2011. Nearly a decade later, the couple served as co-chairs for the regional FIRST Robotics Competition in Duluth. She also helped organize the Arrowhead Robotics Coalition, a group that builds and brings a practice field to the Arrowhead robotics teams in preparation for competitions. Although she was a talented musician, Master Gardener, and Chief Master Sergeant in the Air National Guard, according to Bruce, “Stephanie was known to be always about the students, never about her.”

 

The award recognizes a student who demonstrates a strong aptitude for exploration and discovery, essential characteristics for success in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, and who will be pursuing a degree in any of these fields.

Greater Denfeld Foundation Business, Economics, and Accounting (BEA) Award

$1,000  |  1 annually

The BEA (Business, Economics, Accounting) Award was established by the Greater Denfeld Foundation to recognize a student who demonstrates a strong aptitude for the skills and disciplines required for achievement in the world of business and commerce. The BEA Award is given to a student who will be pursuing a Business, Economics or Accounting degree.

Greater Denfeld Foundation Health Science Award

$1,000  |  1 annually

The Health Science Award was established by the Greater Denfeld Foundation to recognize an outstanding student who demonstrates a deep interest in and strong aptitude for the essential disciplines and the personal characteristics necessary for an innovative career in applying science to health. The award is given to a student who will be pursuing a degree in a health-related field.

Greater Denfeld Foundation Trades Award

$1,000  |  1 annually

The Trades Award was established by the Greater Denfeld Foundation to recognize a student who demonstrates strong skills and aptitude for pursuit of a career in any aspect of today’s demanding and high-level trades environment. The award is given to a student pursuing a degree in (but not limited to) a building, industrial or mechanical-related trade career.

Memorial Awards

Headshot of Darin Cannon, namesake of one of the Greater Denfeld Foundation scholarships

Darin Cannon Memorial Scholarship

$1,250  |  1 annually

This memorial scholarship was started in 2006 with the hope of promoting peace among peers in memory of Darin John Cannon who died at age 15 in 1987. Darren was a ninth grader at Morgan Park Junior High School when he lost his life in a scuffle with another student during an after school argument.  Both boys were good students and well-liked athletes. Sadly, Darin had a weak artery in the back of his neck and one unfortunate punch ended his life instantly. 

His family, friends and classmates were shocked that this could happen to such a wonderful young man. Their hope is that this scholarship will forever be a reminder that violence is never the answer to solving conflict, and that it might encourage others to take a stand and try to defuse any situation in which conflict might erupt. Designed to “Promote Peace Among Peers,” the award is given to an athlete who demonstrates these peacemaking characteristics and works hard in school and all other aspects of life.
Headshot of G. Dell Daeado, namesake of one of the Greater Denfeld Foundation scholarships

G. Dell Daedo Leadership Award

$1,000  |  2 annually

In the 1930s George Dell Daedo struggled to scrape together tuition to earn a teaching degree from Duluth State Teachers College. He began his career as a history teacher at Denfeld High School and served as its principal from 1948 until 1963. He later became Director of Duluth Secondary Schools. At his death in 2008, Mr. Daedo bequeathed a gift of $40,000 to help Denfeld students with their future college endeavors. But perhaps more important than the scholarship endowment he left, was his legacy of respect. As a teacher and principal, he taught Denfeld students to respect themselves, each other, their beautiful building, and all the fine Denfeld traditions that had developed over the years. 

Students receiving the Leadership Award should be proud and honored to carry on Mr. Daedo’s legacy of generosity and respect. Recipients should model a generosity of spirit, and conduct themselves in a respectful manner, both in and out of school. The Leadership Award is given to students who demonstrate a combination of leadership, good academics, contributions to the school, and enjoy the respect of the student body and the faculty.
Headshot of Richard Jukich, namesake of one of the Greater Denfeld Foundation scholarships

Richard Jukich Scholarship

$1,000  |  1 annually

The scholarship was established by the family of Richard Jukich to honor his career as an English teacher at Denfeld High School for 27 years before retiring in 1992. Mr. Jukich had a profound passion for English and created a unique bond with his students. As a captivating storyteller with a sharp memory and a kind sense of humor, he enriched his students’ learning and the lives of his grandchildren with his stories. In his memory and for his love of learning and “Hunter Pride,” his family established the Richard Jukich Scholarship. The characteristics that Mr. Jukich admired and rewarded in his students were strong character, a persistent work ethic, citizenship, and a passion and love for learning.

The award is given to a student who demonstrates a combination of these characteristics along with good academics, contributions to Denfeld, has the respect of the student body and the faculty, and who intends to pursue a degree in education.
Headshot of Matt Hero #4, namesake of one of the Greater Denfeld Foundation scholarships

Matt Kero #4 Memorial Scholarship

$1,604  |  2 annually

Matthew Thomas Kero passed away at the age of 18, shortly before he was to start running with the College of St. Scholastica cross-country team. Matt was an accomplished cross-country runner, hockey player and track athlete. For all of Matt’s athletic accomplishments, he was an even greater young man in character and heart. The $1,604 scholarship signifies the 1600 Meter, Matt’s favorite event in track, and his hockey jersey #4. As a competitor, Matt consistently put forth his best efforts to achieve personal and team goals, helping others to reach their goals, while always being respectful to his teammates and opponents. 

These two $1604 scholarships are awarded to student athletes who have balanced athletic achievement, academics, leadership and citizenship throughout their high school careers. Denfeld coaches nominate the candidates.
Headshot of Kelly Kreager, namesake of one of the Greater Denfeld Foundation scholarships

Kelly Kreager Ackerman Scholarship

$1,000  | 1 annually

Kelly Kreager was a 1994 graduate of Denfeld who excelled in everything she set out to accomplish. She earned a perfect 4.0 academic record at Denfeld, was co-captain of the volleyball team, a member of Denfeld’s band, choir, “Solid Gold” show choir, and the National Honor Society. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Saint Thomas in 1998. Just two years after marrying Scott Ackerman, Kelly passed away in 2004 at the age of 27 after complications from a brief illness.

Kelly and her sister Julia (class of 1989) were third generation Denfeld graduates. Her father Russell (class of 1965) and grandmother Dorothy (Dahl) Kreager (class of 1934), have always taken great pride in Denfeld’s traditions. The school and education are very close to the heart of the Kreager family. Through the generosity of friends, coworkers and family, this scholarship was established to honor Kelly’s memory.

The award is given to a female student attending college in Minnesota who challenges herself to reach her dreams and exhibits leadership, integrity and determination in all her endeavors.

Click to view Never Say Never, a poem by Kelly.
Headshot of Americo “Mertz” Mortorelli, namesake of one of the Greater Denfeld Foundation scholarships

Americo “Mertz” Mortorelli Scholarship

$1,000  |  1 annually

“Mertz” Mortorelli was coach and Athletic Director at the University of Wisconsin-Superior from 1954 to 1985. Coaching wrestling, basketball, tennis, golf, and track, he was inducted into 13 Athletic Halls of Fame. At UWS, Coach Mortorelli served as both coach and mentor for several former Denfeld athletes, and three of his own grandchildren graduated from Denfeld High School. 

The “Mertz” Mortorelli Scholarship makes it possible for the coach to continue to shape young people into great men and women. The scholarship is awarded to a male or female athlete who has participated in four years of high school athletics and is of good academic standing. The recipient must attend a four-year college or university.

Faculty & Staff Donations

The Greater Denfeld Foundation Memorial Fund

$10,000 – $15,000  |  Awarded annually to Denfeld staff members

Every fall, the Greater Denfeld Foundation Memorial Fund provides between $10,000 and $15,000 in donations to teachers and staff of Denfeld High School to enhance the educational experience of the school’s students. Applications are due annually in the fall.

HOW OUR DONATIONS MAKE AN IMPACT

"In this elective plant science/horticultural course, students are able to harvest produce from the nearby community garden, harvest salad greens grown in the classroom, study houseplant propagation, and start seeds for garden transplants. We also try to cook and prepare food using classic food preservation techniques "Wow, this salsa is actually really good! Usually I don't like tomatoes!"
Greater Denfeld Foundation logo
Senior student
Plant Science/Food Prep
“We have started a mending program that is free for both staff and students, we have mended 10 items since this was implemented in February. We have also helped with some costume and prop work in collaboration with the theater program and are working on a cover for the Robotics' team shirt throwing robot. This club is a joy for adults and students!”
Greater Denfeld Foundation logo
Keely Waechter
Denfeld Sewing Club
“As a proud alumni and staff member, I am consistently in awe of the generosity of the Denfeld community! There is no place like Denfeld and I feel so fortunate that there are donations available that directly benefit the classroom and its students. Language is acquired through reading a compelling story and this donation has given our German library so many more options for students. We can't wait to get started reading the new stories auf Deutsch! VIELEN DANK (many thanks!)”
Greater Denfeld Foundation logo
Nicole Scharte
German Library
“Being rewarded with a donation through the GDF has allowed us to supply our Denfeld Hunter Hut with more inclusive options for students seeking basic needs, clothes, and food. We've had the ability to provide higher quality hair and body products, family-centered food support, and crisis support for 8 families within the first week of using funds. Denfeld as a community school aims to meet individual needs holistically and the GDF was able to support us getting closer to that goal.”
Greater Denfeld Foundation logo
Saraiya Piantek
Re-Building Denfeld’s Hunter Hut