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$10,000 in scholarships awarded

September 08, 2022 

Ten students pursuing health care careers in five fields of study each received $1,000 grants-in-aid from the Auxiliary at HSHS St. Joseph’s in Breese during a recent reception at the hospital.

St. Joseph’s Human Resources Specialist Nicole Schroeder, representing the hospital’s senior leadership team, congratulated the 10 recipients and encouraged the students to consider returning to Clinton County after graduation. “There are so many opportunities in health care and there is a benefit to staying close to home,” she said. She shared about St. Joseph’s job shadowing program and the hospital’s Mission focus, emphasizing the facility’s Core Values of Respect, Care, Competence and Joy. 

Scholarship Committee Co-chairs Lynn Rinella and Jackie Chiarolanza shared a brief history of the scholarship program, with the first grant being awarded in 1970 for $500. Since then, 434 students have received grants-in-aid – now $1,000 each – for a total of $288,000.

Below are the recipients in their fields of study:


  • Emma Huelskamp, Breese – She is attending Illinois College in Jacksonville with a goal of becoming a nurse practitioner.
  • Brooke Rakers, Aviston – She is attending Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona, with a goal of first becoming a travel nurse and eventually a pediatric nurse practitioner.
  • Mallory Toennies, Albers – A current hospital colleague, she is attending Kaskaskia College in Centralia with an eventual goal of becoming a nurse practitioner. 
  • Ava Varel, Bartelso – She is attending Illinois State University in Normal with the goal of becoming a nurse practitioner.

Physical and/or Occupational Therapy:

  • Maggie Mensing, Breese – She is attending Bradley University in Peoria seeking a doctorate in physical therapy degree.
  • Colin Schuetz, Aviston – He is a graduate student at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa in their doctorate in physical therapy program.
  • Kate Toennies, Albers – She is enrolled in the Master of Science in occupational therapy program at the University of Southern Indiana near Evansville, Indiana.


  • Lexi Boatright, Carlyle – She is attending the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi to pursue a doctorate in pharmacy.
  • Kylie Eversgerd, Carlyle – She is enrolled at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville pursuing a doctorate in pharmacy.


  • Mara Burton, Carlyle – Currently a sonographer at St. Joseph’s, she will now be attending the Gulfcoast Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida to add a specialization in echocardiography. 

The recipients come from high schools across Clinton County – Rakers, Mallory Toennies and Varel are graduates of Central Community High School in Breese, while Huelskamp, Mensing, Schuetz and Kate Toennies graduated from Mater Dei Catholic High School in Breese. Boatright and Burton graduated from Carlyle High School while Eversgerd received her diploma from Christ Our Rock Lutheran High School in Centralia. 

Each grant is given in memory or honor of a former Auxiliary member or family with connections to the organization. Those honored and/or remembered included:

  • Elizabeth Schroeder/Andrews Great Grandma
  • John and Martha Henrichs
  • Ken, Ralph and Wayne Schrage
  • Florence and Joe Seiffert
  • 2017 Deceased Members (two grants) – Helen Arensten, Leora Becker, Robert “Bob” Buchheit, Bernice Huelsmann, Clara Rakers, Sandra Russell, Brenda Sackett and Elmer Schrage.
  • 2018 Deceased Members (two grants) – Nancy Billhartz, Dolores “Lori” Garcia, Al Harem, Herman Haselhorst, Lorene Huelskamp, Kenny Jansen, Edna Kuper, Betty Richter and John Thoele.
  • 2019 Deceased Members (two grants) – Clare M. Hustedde, Irene Maue, Al Mourlam, Kathleen Ripperda, Agnes Schroeder and Ruth Winter.

Health care student grants are funded through a variety of sources including individual donations, memorials and several Auxiliary sales. To make a donation to the scholarship fund or more information, contact Chris Gebke, director of volunteer services, at 618-526-5351 or email Christine.gebke@hshs.org.

Photo Caption: Ten students from Clinton County pursing health care careers received grants-in-aid of $1,000 each from the Auxiliary at HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Breese. Receiving the awards during a recent reception at the hospital were (front row, from left) Mara Burton, Kylie Eversgerd, Emma Huelskamp, Maggie Mensing, Brooke Rakers, Kate Toennies and Mallory Toennies. With them are Auxiliary Scholarship Committee co-chairs (back row, from left) Lynn Rinella and Jackie Chiarolanza, and Auxiliary Assistant Treasurer Mary AuBuchon. Not pictured: Scholarship recipients Lexi Boatright, Colin Schuetz and Ava Varel.

$10,000 in scholarships awarded