Dylan Christopher Plachta is a young man of vision, determination, compassion and one who is extremely goal oriented. Plachta, a graduate of Mattawan High School, is one of the four outstanding young persons who have been awarded a 2012 $1,500 Junior Golf Association scholarship.
Plachta and Sydney Heasley, a Paw Paw High School graduate, were winners of the John Block Scholarship, named after the former Kalamazoo Gazette Sports Writer. Luke Tindall, who graduated from Vicksburg High School, is the recipient of the James Roschek Scholarship. Roschek is the former director of golf for the Kalamazoo Municipal courses, Milham Park, Eastern Hills and Red Arrow. He now serves in a similar capacity for the city of San Antonio, TX. The Heidi Krum Scholarship goes to Celestine Schwartz, another Paw Paw graduate. Krum is a former Kalamazoo golf professional who directed the JGA program before her untimely death.
Plachta, who plans to enroll at DePaul University and pursue a business management degree, is a member of the National Honor Society as are Heasley and Schwartz. He participated in football, basketball, and golf at Mattawan, serving as captain of the football and golf squads. Aside from sports he was involved with the Mattawan Outreach Organization and Mmodel United Nations and was one of three students chosen to be on the School Bond Committee where the students and local parents discussed bond proposal issues and how to present them to the voters. Plachta also took part in school board-student luncheons to discuss school policies and how those policies affected students on a daily basis. In addition, he served as a tour guide for incoming freshmen, was a mentor for elementary students, was a youth basketball coach, helped with the Kalamazoo food drive by sorting, packing and delivering canned goods and served breakfasts at the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission, accumulating over 170 community service hours. As a mentor, Plachta discovered he received as much of a benefit from his work as did those youngsters he guided.
Heasley, who is bound for Adrian College where she will play golf and be in the band program, also had an active career in high school, playing golf and softball and performing in the band where she served as trumpet section leader and drum major. She also found time to work at the Kalamazoo Nature Center and at Eastern Hills Golf Course. Next summer she hopes to help out with the JGA program. She plans to major in music education in college.
A serious diving injury suffered on a family vacation when he was 12 proved the impetus that changed the course of Tindall’s life. “The doctor told me I had escaped death and the possibility of being paralyzed,” he said. “That put things into perspective and made me appreciate the little things such as being able to walk or even to play golf. “It inspired me to make a goal of helping others instead of being so self-focused.” Tindall began tutoring kids in middle school through the Kids Connection program. He will continue along that route when he attends Calvin College to pursue an education degree. He also plans to play golf at the MIAA school.
Schwartz, who was a classmate and teammate of Heasley’s at Paw Paw, is headed for University of Michigan to study for either a degree in mathematics or the medical field. In addition to golf at Paw Paw, Schwartz also participated in track and cross country and was in the freshman FLEX leader program and was involved in the school choir and musical productions. She volunteered at the Performing Arts Center at the school and volunteered at many events such as basketball and football games and middle school track meets. She was also a volunteer at Eleanor’s Food Pantry in Paw Paw.
All four of these young adults are concerned, caring student athletes and are encouraging indications that as future leaders our society will be in good hands.
The JGA has awarded 53 scholarships totaling $73,000 since 1997.
Complete list of JGA Scholarship winners: (John Block scholarships unless noted)
2012 – Dylan Christopher Plachta, & Sydney Heasley, Luke Tindall (Jim Roschek), Celestine Schwartz (Heidi Krum)
2011 – Kelsey Wiers & Scott Manski, Laura Glass (Heidi Krum), Ryan Werme (Jim Roschek)
2010 – Virginia Greenberger & Alexandra McMullen, Laura Genise (Heidi Krum), Chris Ireland (Jim Roschek)
2009 – Nathan Werme & Marah Klose, Bethany Matecun (Heidi Krum), Justin Borr (Jim Roschek)
2008 – Kyle Hotte & Blake Mortellaro, Laura Eberhard (Heidi Krum), Kyle Schau (Jim Roschek)
2007 – Kyle Chambers, Jacob Caplan & Gretchen Gangwer
2006 – Todd Capron, Ryan Hayes, Lee Keselowski, Nick Morcum, Samuel Neff, Brian Ogrin & Ryan Zwier
2005 – David DiGiovanni & Jay Gilman
2004 – Patricia Monroe & Timothy Fries
2003 – Nathaniel Golomb, James Lettow, Jeremy Sikkema, Joseph Byrne, Lauren Eckert & Derek Rider
2002 – Amanda Wilson, Nick Muszynski & Bill Keselowski
2001 – Justin Spyker & Ryan Eckert
2000 – Kevin Kremer & Meghan Henning
1999 – Mike Katz & Matt Dudek
1998 – Matthew Johnson & Justin Voshel
1997 – Brian Rosenbaum & Sheri Hoover