Meet our Supporters: Irene & Ronald Schmidt

A good education can impact a family for generations, as Irene and Ronald Schmidt know from experience.

Ron, a 1966 Holdingford graduate, went on to attend the University of North Dakota on a football scholarship. After marrying Irene and eventually moving back to Central Minnesota, Irene became involved in the Holdingford schools – particularly in the arts – by serving on committees and volunteering. Ron served on the school board for more than 20 years.

Irene & Ron Schmidt

“All three of our kids also graduated from Holdingford,” said Irene. “We lived in the district, and we knew it was a good school.”

The Schmidt’s loyalty to Holdingford manifested even before the Holdingford Scholarship Endowment Fund (HSEF) was launched. “We were giving out scholarships on our own,” explained Irene. “Ron and I had a fund set up through the Central Minnesota Community Foundation. It’s not a large scholarship, but we continue to give it out each year.”

Ron added, “When we heard about the Holdingford Scholarship Endowment Fund, we knew it’d be a way to reach more kids with scholarships.”

In addition to personally supporting HSEF, Ron was able to make charitable contributions through a program at his employer, Northwestern Mutual in St. Cloud. He also joined the HSEF board, serving for several years until recently stepping down.

“We decided to support HSEF with our money and time because we know most of the faculty at the Holdingford schools personally and we know they are wonderful educators,” said Ron. “Now that we’re retired, being involved with HSEF is a good way to stay in contact with the community.”

With the grandkids

“We started our lives together in a trailer house, and now we have 50 acres of land and we’ve traveled the world. If not for Ron’s college scholarship, he wouldn’t have gotten the education he had to be successful,” said Irene. “We want Holdingford graduates to be able to afford more education and to know what’s possible.”

Both Irene and Ron feel the need to pay it forward; to pass on some of the good fortune they’ve achieved in their own lives. As Ron put it, “You can’t outgive God.”

To join Irene and Ron in supporting Holdingford graduates, go here to make a contribution to the Holdingford Scholarship Endowment!

To learn more about how donations impact the lives of Holdingford graduates, read about our scholarship recipients!

Meet our Supporters: Rod & Linda Harren

Rod and Linda Harren

Rod and Linda Harren (photo credit: Jennifer Coyne)


Rod and Linda Harren have been involved with Holdingford Schools in nearly every way a person can be: Rod graduated with the class of 1965. Linda taught in the elementary school for 25 years. They were involved in many school activities and the booster club. Both of their children are Holdingford graduates.

So when they heard about the Holdingford Scholarship Endowment Fund, it made sense to continue supporting the schools in a new way.

“Bob Warzecha, who helped start the Fund, told us about it,” recalls Linda. “We really appreciate Bob’s devotion to getting the Fund off the ground, and we decided to donate because we believe in the school system and in giving back to our community. The kids are so deserving, but a post-secondary education is becoming more expensive. The students need a helping hand.”

“We wanted to help because Holdingford is one of the better school districts in the whole area, and the kids have a  good chance of succeeding if we can help them get a good education beyond high school,” continued Rod.

Both Rod and Linda hope others consider donating to the Fund and that even more students will apply for the scholarships as the Fund grows and helps more students each year.

To join Rod and Linda in supporting Holdingford graduates, go here to make a contribution to the Holdingford Scholarship Endowment!

To learn more about how donations impact the lives of Holdingford graduates, visit our website to read about our scholarship recipients.