Update: Natali leaps ahead at Oakland University

Natali's 2nd year at Oakland
Natali at Oakland

I am currently a second year student at Oakland University—but with the advanced placement credits I acquired at Romeo High School, and being a year round student, I am a year ahead in my studies. This means my next semester at O.U. will be a lighter load as I need only nine more credits to apply to Wayne State’s Law school. I work two jobs which has definitely sharpened my time management skills. I am still in the process of finding a political and legal internship which I hope to pursue in the spare time from my lighter school load. The summer of 2020 will be spent hovering over books as I plan to take my Law Schools Admission Test in the early fall in order to have my score in advance to my Wayne State application due on June 1st 2021. I am very excited for all the future has to offer me. It is very exhilarating knowing my hard work will soon pay off.

I am most of all grateful for the Kuchenmeister family and Sandbox Foundation for having endorsed my education. Without their kind help, I would not be able to have gotten so far ahead of my graduating class in such a short period. This opportunity presented by their family has allowed me to remain focused on my course work and less stressed on my tuition payments. It has made a tremendous difference in my college experience, I am forever grateful for their help.


Editor’s note: Natali first received a 2018 Kuchenmeister Family Scholarship.  She then received a 2019 Sandbox Foundation Continuing Scholarship.

Applications Sought (2020)



Advisors of the Sandbox Foundation are preparing to receive and review scholarship applications from high school seniors in 2020.

In 2019, six recipients split more than twice the original targeted funds of the foundation, as compared to when the fund was established in 2015. Advisors admit that the first year was a struggle to get the word out. Even after a strong advocacy from the counseling office of Romeo High School, the foundation received only a handful of applications from graduating seniors that year.

Almost thirty applications were received in each of the last two years, with Romeo High School providing the dominant portion of applications.  A total of 24 scholarships have been granted by the foundation in its first four years, with the smallest award being $2,500.

Past recipients have come from Romeo, Dakota, Utica, De Lasalle, and L’anse Creuse North high schools, while the foundation focuses primarily on graduating seniors from Macomb County, Michigan.

Applications can be downloaded from the foundation’s web site at: http://sandboxfoundation.org/site/index.php/applications/

Applications are accepted between Jan. 1st and March 1 of each year.


Each of the three foundation advisors reads all of the applications submitted, privately.  They then come together to present their personal prospects for the annual “Inspiration,” the “Barbara Faye” and the “Wayne” scholarships.

Recipients of those scholarships are also eligible for a subsequent year scholarship called the “Continuing Scholarship”. A total of nine continuing scholarships have been granted in the first four years.

The Kuchenmeisters first began awarding scholarships in 1997 at Romeo High School, when the “Kuchenmeister Family Scholarship” was established. Any recipient of a Kuchenmeister Family Scholarship, in the most recent five years, is also eligible to apply for the Sandbox Foundation Continuing Scholarship. The Kuchenmeister Family Scholarship continues to be awarded annually.

The Kuchenmeisters said that it was particularly rewarding to grant the first scholarship to a L’Anse Creuse North High School graduate in 2019, which is where Rock and Cheryl first met as high school sweethearts.

The Kuchenmeisters hold at least one private fundraiser each year in their home, as a wine and food event. Participants bring two bottles of wine to the event. The first bottle is uncorked and served, while the second is sold in silent auction. The annual event raises funds for at least one scholarship, and often two.

“We’re not changing the entire world here. We don’t know which one of our recipients is going to be a future president.  But it’s clear we’re having a positive effect on some very well deserving kids”, said foundation co-founder Rock Kuchenmeister.

Natali Mladenovik update; Continuing Scholarship

Natali Mladenovik is a 2019 Continuing Scholarship recipient.  She qualified to apply by earning the 2018 Kuchenmeister Family Scholarship awarded at Romeo HS Honors night 2018.  Natali was unable to attend this year’s fundraiser, due to her intense work schedule, as she self-funds her education.  Below is an update from Natali, who certainly epitomizes the inspired, hardworking, principled kind of student this foundation looks to reward.


Natali mladenovik, with Grant

I have officially completed my first year at Oakland University. School has been busy between my courses and work, but nonetheless rewarding. My grade point average is now at 3.78, which I only aspire to raise. I am following the OU 3+3 program, which allows me to graduate a year ahead of my peers and be admitted directly into a law school. This summer I have enrolled full time to further persist my education, this will then in total put me a year and one semester ahead of my graduating class. I am actively searching for an internship next winter and seeking research opportunities. I am a member of Pi Sigma Alpha and Alpha Lambda Delta. I have put off clubs my first year to build up my grade point average and focus on my courses. I am already preparing myself for my Law Schools Admissions Tests, by having taken a practice one ran by Wayne State Law and my own independent studies. The Kuchenmeister Scholarship, as well as Oakland University, have presented me with plentiful opportunities which I am gratefully pursuing. Without the kind help offered by the foundation, I would not have otherwise been able to take as many classes and seek the full potential of my first year as a college student. I continue to praise God for having blessed me with the kindness of the Kuchenmeister family and the motivation to strive above dreams, my family and I are eternally grateful for this opportunity.

LCN 2019 Honors Night

L’anse Creuse North Honors night proved to be exciting for both (Downtown) Parker Brown and Rock Kuchenmeister, as Parker becomes the first LCN graduate to receive a Sandbox Foundation grant (the Wayne Scholarship).  Foundation advisors Rock & Cheryl met in the halls of LCN forty years ago, dispelling the Thomas Wolfe quote “You can’t go home again”.

Parker Brown, LCN Sandbox Foundation Wayne Scholarship 2019
Parker Brown, LCN Sandbox Foundation Wayne Scholarship 2019


Parker will be studying Computer Science, Criminal Justice and joining the swim team at Olivet College in September 2019.  Congratulations Parker on your Wayne Scholarship.

RHS 2019 Scholarship Night

The 2019 RHS Scholarship Night proved successful for many graduates.  Rock was on hand to delivery four of this year’s Sandbox Foundation Scholarships to recipients, as well as to delivery the 2019 Kuchenmeister Family Scholarship.  The annual event was held May 20th in the school auditorium.

RHS 2019 Scholarship Recipients
RHS 2019 Scholarship Recipients

RHS 2019 Scholarship Recipients

The foundation’s final 2019 grant will be delivered Wednesday, May 29th at the L’anse Creuse North Senior Awards night.

First 2019 Scholarships Awarded

The Fourth Sandbox Foundation Spring Fundraiser was a Wine & Charcuterie party.  Guests brought two bottles of wine to the event.  The first bottle was opened and served, while the other was sold at silent auction.

Two Continuing Scholarships were announced for 2019.  Noah Schultz  (De LaSalle) and his family were on hand to receive his award.  Our second Continuing Scholarship recipient Natali MLadenovik (Romeo) could not attend, due to her work requirements (further funding her education).

Noah Schultz and Foundation Advisors
Noah Schultz and Foundation Advisors

Wine and Charcuterie Fundraiser 2019

Foundation advisors announced their intent to award a record number of scholarships in 2019, during High School honors night events to be held in May for L’anse Creuse and Romeo school districts.



1st Update from David Cardamone

David Cardamone

I’m almost done with my first semester of college and have been appreciating all the opportunities the Sandbox Foundation has given me at Oakland University. College has been really different from high school. The way the classes are structured, the independence, and all the studying required are just some of the things that I’ve been getting used to at Oakland. College has been a lot of fun too.

I’ve met people from all over Michigan, learned a lot of new things, am pursuing some of my interests, and made life-long friends. Knowing that there are people out there that are supporting me helps continue to motivate me to do my best and make the most out of this experience. For that, my family and me will always be grateful for the opportunities the Sandbox Foundation has done for me and for helping us pay for college. Thank you again!

Spartan: Austen Malczewski’s 3rd Semester Update

My third semester of college has been an awesome learning experience, college sure seems to be going quick. Now that I have been accepted into the Business college, I am going to pursue an accounting major with an Information Technology minor. With the majority of my classes business focus, It has provided me with a much more interesting curriculum already. I have also been taking advantage of all the organizations on campus, for example, the MSU finance association and the Accounting Student Association (ASA).Austin at State
The biggest difference between this year and last year has been all the extra curricular activities I have taken up in my free time. With such a big campus at MSU, I have had to find a way to make it a little smaller… once you start exploring there’s so many ways to condense campus. For the Honors College at MSU I joined a book club where I read books of my choosing with a group of other Honors students on Tuesday nights, this has allowed me to learn a ton about good books and also allowed me to meet some really good people.
Lately, most of my time has been directed towards research on a possible invention I have. Just this last month I started an LLC for this new company and I ordered a Provisional Patent on my Idea. The best part of this idea is that I found an organization on campus that Is funded by Alumni, who have agreed to help pay for my legal fees, patents, and other costs I may incur building Prototypes and what not, without a catch or giving up any equity in the company. I entered a competition (Burgess New Venture Challenge) put on for MSU students with my idea and If I place top 5 I could be granted potential funding, I will keep you posted on this.
I have also made great strides in wrestling, I was awarded my varsity letter-man jacket at the beginning of the semester, which was a super cool experience. I have also taken 3rd place at the MSU open tournament, and Ohio Intercollegiate open tournament with a record of (9-2) over the last two weekends.
I want to thank you for the continued scholarship this year, It has helped me out tremendously. As a student who is responsible for paying for his own college experience, I constantly remind myself how fortunate I am to receive this Sandbox Foundation Scholarship.

Graduates: Invest in Yourself

This holiday season is a great time for High School Graduates to Invest in Themselves.  The Sandbox Foundation will accept applications for its fourth year of grants shortly after Christmas.  Graduating High School Seniors can download a two page standardized form by going to the the foundation’s Application Page and clicking the download link.  Or, just click here!

Gift of Scholarship

Applicants are required to complete the two page standardized form and to include a one/two page submission paper addressing all of the following three topics.

1. Describe what inspires you.
2. How would you apply Judea/Christian principles in your education or career?
3. Describe the value of work and/or service.

The submission paper can be written as an essay or a letter to the foundation’s advisors.  Completed applications should be submitted as PDF documents by email to: Awards@SandboxFoundation.org.  In addition, Romeo High School seniors can pickup and submit applications in their school’s counseling office.

The Sandbox Foundation accepts Scholarship Applications between January 1st and March 1st annually.  Created in late 2015, the Sandbox Foundation started with a goal of granting three partial year scholarships to graduating High School Seniors and a (fourth) Continuing Scholarship to prior recipients (including the most recent five of the Kuchenmeister Family Scholarship).  Through local intimate fundraisers, the foundation has exceeded its original goals every year and now sets its sights on “doubling the original goals” in the near future.

Noah Schultz accept the Wayne Scholarship

De LaSalle graduate Noah Schultz, fresh off his Prom Date last Friday night, accepts his Wayne Scholarship from the Sandbox Foundation.  Noah is headed to Western Michigan next fall to study Mechanical Engineering.  In Noah’s own words, “It seems pointless to do a task if you do not value the work you are accomplishing.”  Congratulations Noah.

Foundation advisor Cheryl Kuchenmeister presents Noah his Certificate for the Wayne Scholarship.
Foundation advisor Cheryl Kuchenmeister presents Noah his Certificate for the Wayne Scholarship.