For more than 30 years the Belgian-American Association has been giving out scholarships to the children of members as they begin their post-secondary education. The candidates are judged on their academic performance in high school, national test scores, extra-curricular involvements, community involvements and an essay written by them about “What It Means To Be Belgian.” We now give out three $1000 scholarships including a complimentary 1 year membership in the B.A.A or B.A.A Auxiliary for the recipient. Once the applicants have submitted all their materials the winners are chosen anonymously by the scholarship committee. What that means is all references to the applicant’s identity is removed from their materials so that the committee does not know who the applicants are. In addition, no one is allowed on the committee who has a relative as a candidate. The scholarship chairman is also prohibited from being on the committee. That is the procedure we follow to insure honesty in our selections.
Scholarship Winners 2020
The three winners of this year’s B.A.A. scholarship are the following: Jaclyn Deprez, Jaclyn Melasi and Zachary Werbrouck.
We had five applicants for our scholarships this year, and all were good candidates. The executive board deliberated and examined for a long time to select the winners as follows:
Jaclyn Deprez , is the daughter of Eric and Jennifer Deprez, granddaughter of Roland and Maggy Deprez (Roland did not participate in the selection process). She is a graduate of Plymouth Salem High school with a 3.8 G.P.A. and an S.A.T. of 1170. She is attending Michigan State University majoring in Kinesiology. While in high school she played varsity girls’ basketball in 10th, 11th and 12th grade, and was captain in her senior year. She also played varsity soccer for four years, and was captain of the soccer team her senior year. She was varsity football manager in the 11th and 12th grades, and was a member and board member of the Salem Organization of Student Athletes. She also worked with her church helping to prepare and deliver food to the homeless in Detroit, and she raised money for the Goodfellow’s Christmas drive. Jaclyn also coached youth soccer and read books to elementary school student in the Plymouth-Canton School District. When she wasn’t doing anything else, Jaclyn participated in club soccer tournaments throughout the Midwest.
Jaclyn Melasi is the daughter of John and Trish Melasi, granddaughter of Bill and Virginia Galbraith, and great granddaughter of Arthur and Emma DeRuyck. She is a graduate of Utica Eisenhower High School with a G.P.A. of 4.06 (Valedictorian) and an S.A.T. of 1350. She is attending Michigan State University in the honors program. While in high school, Jaclyn took a number of advanced placement courses and was awarded an Advanced Placement Scholar with honors and a Presidential Award. She was a member and secretary of the National Art Honor Society and a member of the Comic Book Club. She also studied piano from fifth grade on. Outside of school, Jaclyn worked at Kroger’s in 10th grade and Debbie’s Dollar Store in the 11th and 12th grades.
Our final winner is Zachary Werbrouck, the son of Kevin and Julie Werbrouck and grandson of Donald and Yvette Werbrouck. He is a graduate of Utica Stevenson High School,and is attending Wayne State University majoring in Mechanical Engineering. He had a G.P.A. of 4.06 and an S.A.T. score of 1460. Zach also took a number of advanced placement courses and was valedictorian. During his years in high school, Zach was on the Robotics team, marching band, symphonic band chess team, National Honor Society, baseball team, Tri M society and Social Studies Olympiad. Also his robotics team–the Thunderchickens–was runner-up in the World Championships in 2018 and won it in 2019. When he wasn’t doing all this, he volunteered at St. Frances de Chantal Church and Holy Cross Lutheran Church.
These young people are fine examples of our scholars, and also a credit to their family’s parenting. I hope you noticed that their ties to the B.A.A. go beyond their fathers to a grandfather and even a great grandfather. We congratulate them on their accomplishments and wish them well in their futures. They’re eligible for membership in the B.A.A. or the Auxiliary, and we hope they take advantage of the opportunity.
Al VanDenBergh Jr.