Nontraditional student and family earn scholarships

Pictured from left are Meijer store manager Jack Wybenga, Colleen Kretowicz and Doug Meijer.
Pictured from left are Meijer store manager Jack Wybenga, Colleen Kretowicz and Doug Meijer.
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Checking the mail was anything but routine one day for Colleen Kretowicz, a nontraditional student majoring in accounting at Grand Valley.

On a lunch break from her job at Meijer Pharmacy, Kretowicz picked up her mail and found three letters, stating that she and each of her two kids received the Fred and Lena Meijer Scholarship.

Kretowicz, a single mother, earned a $10,000 scholarship; her daughter, Katie, and son, Joey, each received $2,500 toward their tuition costs at Michigan State University.

“I was just floored,” said Kretowicz, who works full-time at the Meijer Pharmacy in Cascade. “This will help us so much. I’m so proud to work for a company who gives back to the community.”

Kretowicz has worked for Meijer for six years. She fits in her classes at the Seidman College of Business either before or after work. “Our pharmacy is open for 13 hours, so I work eight hours then fit in a class either before or after,” she said.

All three Kretowicz students took classes together at Grand Rapids Community College during the summer.

Kretowicz, 50, said without the scholarship, she would have likely dropped down to part-time student status. She said she will now continue her plan to graduate in December 2014. “We’re so grateful to the Meijer family for their generosity,” she said.

She left college 30 years ago to raise a family. “Studying and technology have changed a lot since then,” Kretowicz said. “But the students in my classes have really been helpful.”

The scholarship program, which began in 1975 and is administered through the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, aims to further the education of Meijer employees and their children.