Natali Mladenovik receives 2nd Continuing Scholarship

Natali has been working hard to fast-track her education, at Oakland University. Below she responds the announcement she has received another “Continuing Scholarship”.

I am honored to be selected as a recipient of such a generous foundation. The Kuchenmeister family continues to bless my family, allowing me to continue pursuing my higher education. I have applied to numerous scholarships and never heard back. With this foundation, my voice and my financial concerns are heard. Thus, my dream to become a practicing lawyer can be achieved. Words cannot describe the gratitude I have for the Kuchenmeister family. I am thankful to both Mr. and Mrs. Kuchenmeister and to God for introducing us. Their generosity inspires me, and I look forward to applying such kind and generous morals throughout my personal life. In light of the current economic situation with COVID-19, this scholarship is especially touching. I am so grateful for this opportunity, thank you again to the Kuchenmeister family for this generous gift.

Foundation Announces 2020 Scholarship Grants

Sandbox Foundation advisors proudly announce 2020 Scholarship recipients.


2020-1 Inspiration Scholarship: Brooke Bennett

2020-2 Inspiration Scholarship: Lillian Schneider

2020 Barbara Faye Scholarship: Gavin Kirsh

2020 Wayne Scholarship: Dominic Giancarli

These high school seniors have earned scholarships to assist in first year college or trade school expenses.  Scholarship/Grants are normally announced during HS Honors Night ceremonies.  Unfortunately, COVID-19 pandemic Stay-at-Home orders have cancelled ceremonies for all of these recipients.  The foundation notified all of this year’s winners by email on May 9, 2020.


Continuing Scholarships for 2020 are being awarded to:

Natalie Mladenovik and Parker Brown

Continuing Scholarship recipients typically join foundation advisors at the Wine and Cheese fundraiser, held annually on the Friday before Mother’s Day.  Unfortunately, this year’s event has been postponed due to COVID-19 Stay-at-Home orders as well.  Foundation advisors anticipate rescheduling the event later this year.

Update: Audrey Fouts (SVSU)

The foundation receives it’s first update from Audrey Fouts;

Audrey proud to be a SVSU Cardinal

I am into my second semester here at Saginaw Valley State University. I have more classes this semester requiring more study time. Classes are going great and I am keeping my grades up. I was granted early admission into the College of Education and expect to start those classes in the next two semesters. I love living on campus for the convenience of classes, study groups, and all of the activities they offer! I am getting involved on campus through various volunteer opportunities. One group I am involved in is called Cardinal to Cardinal where we mentor other students.
I am very thankful for the Kuchenmeister family and Sandbox Foundation for providing me with this scholarship, giving me the opportunity to attend SVSU. I have been able to focus on school without the burden of financial needs. Thank you for being a part of my success in college. Go Cardinals! 

Spartan Update: Austen Malczewski

Austen shows off MSU to two of his visiting cousins.

Austen Malczewski (and cousins)

The following is a January 2020 update from Austen:  College has been nothing short of an incredible experience so far! I was recently accepted into the Information Technology school where I will receive my IT minor eventually. With these Information Technology classes I have become proficient in coding and website design. As far as my major goes, I have been cranking out accounting classes each semester and it has put me ahead of schedule, I will graduate next spring with 150 credits rather than the regular bachelors degree requirement of 120 credits. The C.P.A. exam requires that you have 150 credits.  That is the reason I have loaded up on classes each semester.  I am still a member of the Honors college and the NCAA wrestling team at MSU.  I currently have a 3.7 GPA.

As far as this summer goes, I have locked down an internship with ZFTRW a tier-1 automotive supplier back home (Romeo, MI).  Recently, I have been working on the creation of an app that helps individuals “break the ice” with others.  I will keep you updated on this project my partner and I have recently taken on.  This idea has introduced me to a ton of resources around campus, and really opened my eyes to all the resources that a college campus has to offer.

Time has been flying by.  I can’t believe I will be a senior soon.  I appreciate you and the Sandbox Foundation and appreciate all that you have done for me!

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:

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

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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

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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.