Althoff Catholic High School Student Wins Jack Buck Scholar-Leadership Award


by News Bureau on Monday, May. 13, 2013


CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., May 13, 2013 – Lauren Potje, an Althoff Catholic High School student who has excelled in academics, athletics and community service, was named the recipient of the 11th annual Jack Buck Scholar-Leadership Award by Southeast Missouri State University.

The award was presented today at the Hilton Ballpark in St. Louis, Mo.

“Southeast Missouri State is very fortunate to have the Jack Buck Scholar-Leadership Award associated with our institution,” said Kenneth W. Dobbins, president of Southeast Missouri State University, said. “Jack Buck was a man of impeccable character, a humble gentleman who went about his business quietly, but whose humility and professionalism left a lasting impression of excellence. We think these qualities are similar to those of Southeast, which has been cited nationally as a hidden treasure, a University with sound academic programs that is committed to our students and the values of our region. We think Jack Buck would call this award in his name ‘a winner.’”

Potje, daughter of James and Susan Potje of Shiloh, Ill., is a standout student who was also a recipient of the KMOX/Southeast Missouri State University Student of Achievement Award her junior year and an Illinois State Scholar. She has held leadership roles in many of her high school’s organizations and clubs, including Student Council, Student Ambassadors, National Honor Society and Crusaders Against Alcohol and Drugs. She co-founded the school’s Patriots Club. Potje is also a three-sport athlete in volleyball, soccer and basketball. She won the Rotary Interact Club’s Novice division speech competition, and was also named a Wendy’s High School Heisman School Winner. Potje is very active in her church, volunteering in its services and fundraisers and assisting with grounds work. She also volunteers with St. John Bosco Children’s Center, the Catholic Urban Program and the Cathedral of Belleville. She plans to pursue a degree in business.

In 2003, Southeast teamed up with KMOX Radio in the establishment of the award. The award, which was the first scholarship to be established in memory of Buck, recognizes a student in the St. Louis Metropolitan Area who has demonstrated outstanding character, academic achievement and the potential to be a leader in the community. The award covers incidental fees (tuition) and general fees for the equivalent of up to 32 credit hours per academic year at Southeast and residence hall fees for fall and spring semesters in a standard, double-occupancy room. The award, which is effective with the fall 2013 semester, also provides a 15-meal per week board plan.

Students from the St. Louis Metro Area, including St. Louis County and City, St. Charles County, Franklin County, Jefferson County and the Metro East area in Illinois were eligible to apply for the award. High school guidance counselors from the metropolitan area were asked to nominate one deserving applicant from their high school.

For nearly 50 years, Buck was the voice of the St. Louis Cardinals to generations of sports fans. He passed away in 2002. He was widely admired by his colleagues in the world of broadcasting and by the players whose feats he announced for fans around the world. Buck worked tirelessly in support of charitable organizations and was committed to his family and his community.

Two other finalists for the award also were recognized. Both finalists receive a Jack Buck Regents’ Scholarship, which covers incidental fees (tuition) up to 32 hours per academic year for up to four consecutive years, and a one-time $500 Jack Buck Leadership Award to be applied to housing expenses. They are:

Gabrielle Bernier

Gabrielle Bernier is the daughter of Mary and Paul Bernier of St. Louis, Mo. Throughout her time at Ursuline Academy, Bernier has excelled in the classroom and made a great impact on her school and community. Having taken numerous honors courses, Bernier is vice president of the National Honor Society and received a white sweater from Ursuline, symbolizing her academic success. She is president of the Wellness Club and a member of the yearbook and Music Club. She received her school’s Glory Award for Temperance and represented her school at Missouri Girls’ State and the Young Teen Entrepreneurship Symposium. Bernier played on the varsity volleyball team and was captain of her club volleyball team. Her service record is outstanding. Bernier has volunteered with the Tesson Ferry Library, Feed Our Children Now and Art Feeds. She has also helped nonprofit organizations through the Vans Warped Tour and is currently in the process of beginning her own music education nonprofit in St. Louis. Bernier is undecided on her degree.

Jessica Brown

Jessica Brown is the daughter of Steven and Rebecca Brown of Washington, Mo. While Brown thrives in the classroom, she also shares her talents through service in her community and church. Brown is a Renaissance student at Washington High School and was voted Student of the Month her freshman year. She is a member of the German Club, Concert Choir, Link Crew and Mock Trials. She is one of the top runners on her school’s cross country and track teams. As a junior member of the American Legion, Brown has completed many hours of service in her community, including bell ringing for the Salvation Army and planning the annual Veteran Christmas Party. She also serves through her church as part of its leadership team. When Brown was a junior, she volunteered with relief efforts in Joplin, Mo. She is a recipient of the Missouri Valley Young Achiever Award. Brown plans to pursue majors in German and vocal music.