Through Connecticut Community Foundation, The Persbacker Family Scholarship Fund has awarded college scholarships of $3,500 each to eight Bridgewater residents for the 2016-17 academic year: John Ascenzi, Rachel Crossley, Kelsey Johnson, Katherine Klein, Kristine Klein, Michael Leslie, Kailee Munson, and Emma Virbickas.

The Persbacker fund is among the largest scholarship funds available to students residing in Bridgewater, Connecticut, and is awarded through the Foundation to students demonstrating outstanding community service. Students can receive up to $14,000 from the fund across four years.

“Recipients of Persbacker family scholarships are exceptional scholars and deeply committed to the Bridgewater community,” said Josh Carey, director of grants management at Connecticut Community Foundation. “Their volunteerism seems to have no bounds. Students have given countless hours of their time to the Burnham Library, Bridgewater Recreation summer camp, faith communities, and many more organizations in town. We hope that they will continue to be community leaders as their college journeys progress.”

Former Bridgewater resident Victor L. Persbacker established the scholarship fund at the Foundation with the intention of making college more affordable for students dedicated to community service. Persbacker served as treasurer of the former Shepaug/Housatonic United Way and chaired Bridgewater’s Board of Trustees.

The 2016-17 recipients of Persbacker family scholarships are:

• John Ascenzi, who will study math and statistics at Western Connecticut State University; • Rachel Crossley, a biology major at the University of Connecticut; • Kelsey Johnson, who will study health professions and related clinical sciences at Purdue University; • Katherine Klein, who also plans to study health professions and related clinical sciences at Fairfield University; • Kristine Klein, a communication and journalism major at Syracuse University; • Michael Leslie, who studies criminal justice at Sacred Heart University; • Kailee Munson, a business major at the University of Tampa; and • Emma Virbickas, who is majoring in visual and performing arts at the State University of New York at Purchase.