Alicia Ziebarth, Class of 2019, has been destined for a career working with children since she was a child herself. When she was younger, Alicia would set up a classroom for her siblings and friends to help them with their schoolwork in the summer months. “I’ve always wanted to be in the educational field,” she says.
The special education field is close to her heart. “Growing up, I had a friend who was special needs, and I saw the struggles that she faced,” Alicia says. “I knew I wanted to make a positive impact in her life.”
“It’s important to give back to Grand Valley to help students like me finish their education and go on to make their own positive change in the world.”
Thanks to the Coopersville Scholarship she received, Alicia says she has been able to take more credits and get more involved with volunteering. “When I found out I received the scholarship, I was so excited and honored,” she says.
The Coopersville Scholarship was founded in 2008 by Ed and Nancy Hanenburg. They have always been impressed by the quality of a Grand Valley education, and wanted to ensure community students continued to have access to it. All graduates of Coopersville Area Public Schools who attend Grand Valley are eligible to receive the scholarship.
Grand Valley was the perfect fit for Alicia, who was a graduate of Coopersville High School. “I knew Grand Valley had a strong education program, and I liked that it was close to home.”
During her senior year of high school, Alicia volunteered at the Coopersville Elementary School and discovered her passion for working with a younger age group. She continues to be active in the Grand Valley community as a participant in Campus Ministry and Best Buddies International – an organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities.
After graduation, Alicia’s goal is to continue on to graduate school and pursue a career in elementary education with a focus on special education.
“I hope my Laker Effect will be making an impact in every child’s life,” she says. “I want to help them become stronger as a person and to never doubt themselves.”
Alicia is appreciative for the opportunities the scholarship has provided her, stating, “I think it’s important to give back to Grand Valley to help students like me finish their education and go on to make their own positive change in the world.”
Edward (Ed) and Nancy Hanenburg, together with their children, have made a commitment to community philanthropy in West Michigan through the creation of the Coopersville Scholarship. This scholarship is available to every graduate of Coopersville Area Public Schools who has been accepted to Grand Valley. Ed is a proud supporter of his hometown of Coopersville and is a founding board member of the Coopersville Area Community Foundation, as well as a Grand Valley University Foundation director. Nancy is a community leader who served as trustee, president, and executive director of the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation for 20 years, in addition to many other leadership roles. Their dedication to Grand Valley students ensures a quality education is available and affordable, allowing students to focus on making their own impact.
To contact University Development or the Grand Valley University Foundation
Grand Valley State University
L.V. Eberhard Center, 9th floor
301 Fulton St. West
P.O. Box 1945
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49501
P (616) 331-6000
F (616) 331-6099