Interested in applying for the 2020 Sgt. Dillon Semolina Scholarship? We will be accepting applications starting the spring of 2020. Contact us for more information.
Class of 2019
“I am deeply grateful to be the 2019 recipient of the very generous Sgt. Dillon Semolina Scholarship. It would have been great to have known Dillon. After having met his family and having learned about the person he was, and after having visited the Sgt. Dillon Semolina Scholarship website, it is my belief that Dillon was both a remarkable and an admirable young man. It is my honor to, in even a small way, help to keep Dillon’s memory alive by using the scholarship which is dedicated to him in a positive way. I will do my best to represent Dillon’s legacy well in a way which would have made him proud and in a way which will make his family proud.
I am planning to attend Michigan Technological Institute in Houghton, Michigan next fall to major in computer engineering, and I’m specifically interested in the area of cyber security. In addition, with military men such as Dillon as my inspiration, it is my desire to become a member of the Air Force. Like Dillon, it has been my passion since childhood to become a member of the military. To follow that dream, I intend to join the ROTC program at Michigan Tech in the fall, with an intent to graduate in 2023 as an officer in the U.S. Air Force.”
- Trent Peterson
Class of 2018
"Receiving this scholarship from the Sgt. Dillon Semolina Scholarship Fund was an absolute honor and one of the most memorable moments in my life. When my high school counselor handed me the application for the scholarship I had no idea I had the chance to receive something so much more than a scholarship; I received a second family and a guardian angel. Before I started writing the essay for the scholarship, I went to the website and began to read about Dillon and watched the videos that commemorated him. I quickly realized he and I have a lot in common. We both have a strong competitive spirit as we both competed in varsity sports, a special place in our hearts for family and friends, and most importantly a desire to help others. I was excited to conduct the Skype interview yet the nerves began to build as the interview was about to begin. However, Mister and Misses Semolina-De La Cruz were so kind and welcoming that the nerves quickly subsided. I loved hearing Dillon’s story coming from them and I could feel the pride and unconditional love that they hold in their hearts for Dillon. I was truly amazed by Dillon’s story as it was so powerful that I started to become emotional as they shared. I am extremely grateful to be so warmly welcomed into their family. This scholarship will help me accomplish my goal in studying Medical Laboratory Sciences at the University of North Dakota and going onto Physical Therapy school after graduation. It is an amazing feeling to know that I will forever have Dillon watching over me and guiding me through life. It is my responsibility to live every single day with the drive, integrity, and compassion that I know Dillon would and it is a true honor knowing that is my duty. Thank You."
- Brendan Kalous
Brendan's Mother and Father describe "....The connection and blessing . . ."
"We are extremely honored that Brendan was selected to receive the 2018 Sgt. Dillion Seminola Scholarship. Brendan immediately felt a connection to Mike and Lisa De Cruz after applying and interviewing with them through Skype. We are humbled by the kindness that Mike and Lisa have shown through the memories of their son. The scholarship has been a blessing financially as Brendan pursues his dreams. He is attending the University of North Dakota with goals of majoring in Medical Laboratory Science and Pre-Physical Therapy."
- Brenda and Chad Kalous
Class of 2016
"From the first time I met the Semolina family and heard Dillon's story, I knew something special was at hand. Dillon and I are similar in more ways than we are not. We both have an unmatched self-drive to be the best version of ourselves, we both thrive on being positive in every situation, and we keep our friends and family close as we know those are the people who matter the most in life. Through the Dillon Semolina Scholarship, I have gained someone special who I hope to impress every single day. Whether it is through school, clubs and organizations, or just the relationships I have formed while at the University of Minnesota, I know there is someone always looking over me every step of the way. As equally important, I have gained a second family that supports me in everything I hope to do in life. I will never be able to thank the Semolina family enough for what they have done for me. All I can do is wake up every day trying to emanate the positive characteristics that connect Dillon and I."
- Brandyn Wales
Brandyn's Mother, Becca also describes "....what this scholarship meant to us . . ."
"It is difficult to put into words what the Dillon Semolina Scholarship means to us. Brandyn came home after his initial scholarship interview and could not stop talking about how amazing Dillon's family is. From that initial meeting, an incredible bond has formed that will go far beyond college. Brandyn has been in contact and met with the family several times since starting college and has gotten to know them better and Dillon through them creating a friendship that is so special. The honor of this scholarship was definitely a financial help, but has become so much more meaningful than that. Brandyn has and will continue to work hard to honor Dillon and his family and will we will all make sure to stay in contact with this amazing family that has been such a blessing to us in many ways."
- Becca Wales
FEBRUARY 4, 2019 - Updates From Brandyn
I am just starting my spring semester of my junior year at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and plan on graduating in December of 2019. I have officially declared a marketing major with a business analytics and management minor. I have fallen in love with the sales side of marketing and plan on going into a sales career after college. It feels like I just moved into my freshmen dorm and I now only have two semesters left until I'm off on my own in the real world as some like to call it. My time here at the U of M (Go Gophs!) has been life changing. I have built relationships that I know will last the rest of my life, I have found what I'm most interested in studying and how that will play a role in my future, and I have had a lot of fun while doing it which is probably the most important part.
Some other things I have been involved in over the last few years are: (1) becoming a member of the U of M sales team which sparked my interest in the challenge, but excitement that the world of sales offers, (2) co-founding the Speakers on Success Club where we aim at providing students with the opportunity to better both their personal and professional success through guest speakers, workshops, discussions, and community events, and (3) competing in a number of intramural sports including hockey, basketball, softball, soccer, and flag football.
As you can tell, I like to stay involved which is one similarity where I have always connected with Dillon, but it's also his passion and caring personality that I try to take with me through anything I do. It has been an absolute honor to represent the Sgt. Dillon Semolina Scholarship and I can't thank the Semolina family enough for allowing me to pursue my dreams.