Honoring a lost friend

After graduating from DHS in 2015, Maxwell Muessig attended the University of Vermont, later transferring to Michigan State University. During a storm, Muessig and his girlfriend were killed on impact when their car was crushed by an uprooted tree. The loss was difficult for their friends, family, and the community alike.

“Anybody who knew him loved him,” English teacher Andrew Frye said. “To know him was to love him. He was just that kind of a kid.”

Muessig’s close friends decided that something had to be done to memorialize him. Being the prolific writer with a unique sense of humor that Muessig was, the friends decided that it was best to have a scholarship writing contest to remember him.

“They came to me with the idea and it was done to find a student each and every year who in some way, shape, or form embodied what Max was able to just radiate: his energy, his positivity and his wicked sense of humor,” Frye said.

Some people have contributed to the Maxwell R. Muessig Scholarship with donations over the years, spanning from alumni to generous community members alike. The Muessig family has been the main support for the scholarship, but it couldn’t exist without the help of other donors.

“They have donated money and they have definitely shown some interest in this and supported this,” Frye said. “It’s obviously the Muessig family who’s really been kind of involved with this, but it extends far beyond them. It’s also kind of touched and affected the community in general.”

According to the Center for Education and the Workforce Recovery 2020 report, there will be 55 million job openings in the economy through 2020, 24 million openings from newly created jobs and 31 million openings due to baby boom retirements. 35 percent of the job openings will require at least a bachelor’s degree, 30 percent will require some college education or an associate’s degree and 36 percent will not require education beyond high school. Within the next five years, two of every three jobs will require at least a two-year degree.

As a New York Times article describes, about half of Americans with higher incomes have a college degree. Among the poorest of Americans, fewer than one in 10 graduated from college. The gap is growing.

With college costs skyrocketing and state funding for universities falling, it’s no surprise that the number-one reason these students cite for dropping out is the impossibility of paying for school. Receiving even a small amount of scholarship money can help pay for college, and the Maxwell R. Muessig Scholarship can assist with that.
To be eligible for the scholarship, applicants must be a senior with college plans for after graduation. Specific requirements can be found on the insert. Students looking to apply can submit a satirical writing piece, song lyrics, a poem, a series of illustrations, and other forms of artistic work.

“It’s designed to give, at least, a college boost to those kids who seem to resemble or capture whatever elusive qualities made up Max,” Frye said.

Frye notes that the goal for the evaluation committee is to find a student to receive the scholarship who shares a similar sense of humor and creativity that Muessig had.

“There are some options presented,” Frye said. “Be able to [create] in a way that makes those people who are on the evaluation committee laugh and remind us of Max.”

Scholarship Information

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Anikka Thorson

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