Ivan is a 2016 West Ottawa High School graduate attends Grand Valley State University.

When did Ivan begin dreaming about a college education and why? It might surprise you. He was only six when the thought first occurred to him. But it’s the “why” he started dreaming that was a little different. Ivan looked at a much older brother and felt he was missing an important opportunity when he didn’t do well academically in high school. At six, Ivan decided he would do better.

Ivan thanks his parents who kept encouraging him that his hard work would pay off in the future. And there were teachers too that kept Ivan believing he could achieve his dream. Ivan wanted to make all of them proud so even when he confronted language hurdles, he dug down deep and told himself “Keep going, you can do this!”

And he did! Ivan graduated from high school with grades that earned him a place in the National Honor Society.

Carola VanHeukelom, College Counselor at West Ottawa had this to say about Ivan:

“Ivan is kind and unassuming. He has taken every opportunity to take rigorous AP courses to educate himself. Through his hard work, Ivan has not only developed leadership skills and a strong work ethic, but it has given him a drive beyond the average student to get an education.”

What are Ivan’s career goals?

  • He likes math, and is good at math. He has always been good at “taking things apart and putting them back together again,” he says. So an Engineering degree is what interests Ivan and more specifically, Electrical Engineering at GVSU.

What excited Ivan about receiving the Holland/Zeeland Promise scholarship?

“Because of this scholarship and the possibility of a college education I believe I will be able to help my parents who came to this country so I could take advantage of the possibility of a good education. I will be thankful each day for everyone who has contributed to this scholarship. Because of your promise I can promise to give back too.”

And what advice does Ivan have for other students?

“Just keep going. Even when it gets tough, take one more step. Success comes when you keep going.”

To learn more about the Holland/Zeeland Promise Scholarship, visit www.cfhz.org/hzpromise