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2009 Scholarship Winners


Serbian-Heritage High-School Seniors Across USA & Canada Awarded 

Jackson, CA – June 8, 2009 -
The St. Sava Mission Foundation, founded in Jackson, California, in 1962, announced today the winners of their Second Annual Student Scholarship Program.  Scholarship awards of $1,500, $1,000, and $500 were granted to thirteen winners from the USA and Canada.  A generous late donation to the Award Fund allowed the Foundation to grant nearly twenty additional $250 Scholarship awards just before final announcements were determined.


The St. Sava Mission Foundation congratulates the 2009 Scholarship Award Winners (in alphabetical order): Sara Ambrey of Lansing, IL; Lazar Bogdanovic of Marrieta, GA; Nicholas Cora of Joliet, IL; Zackary Duvnjak of East Chicago, IN; Sonja Gajic of Saratoga, CA; Kristina Golic of Burnaby, BC; Collin Janich of Birmingham, AL; Mia Jefic of Las Vegas, NV; Alexander Jovich of Akron, OH; Slobodan Kanatzar of Lenexa, KS; Lauren Kovacevich of Lansing, IL; Ry Kovacevich of Casselberry, FL; Evan Krieger of Pittsburgh, PA; Tajana Kundacina of Issaquah, WA; Jordan Majstorovic of Parma, OH; Daniella Mancich of Merrillville, IN; Andrej Pantich of Milwaukee, WI; Rachel Pelgrin of Lackawanna, NY; Daniella Petrovich of Milwaukee, WI; Alexandra Peyovich of Oviedo, FL; Brittany Rodgers of Steubenville, OH; Nikola Sarac of Monterey, CA; Brian Savich of Chicago, IL; Stefanie Sellers of Los Angeles, CA; Sam Showers of Milwaukee, WI; Nikolas Steel of Windsor, ONT; Nikola Stojkovic of Chicago, IL; Milan Tica of Schererville, IN; Stevan Tomich of Chicago, IL; Adrian Vidrio of Porterville, CA; Matthew Vukas of Carmel, IN; and Alexandra Wall of Los Angeles, CA.


“Our Student Scholarship Program is a very important part of our Long-Range Plan, to fulfill part of the original Purpose of the St. Sava Mission in Jackson, California, to help our Serbian youth and elderly,” said Lana Vukovich, president of the Foundation.  “The founders of our organization intended that the St. Sava Mission benefit our people and community, and the Scholarship Program is for that Purpose.” 


Scholarship Eligibility


The 2009 Student Scholarship Program was open to 2009 graduating high-school seniors of Serbian descent, born in or planning to attend a two- or four-year accredited college or university in the USA or Canada in 2009.  This year’s Program was announced in October 2008, with advertisements published in SerbWorld, Sloboda/Liberty, and Srbobran, and the Application available on the Foundation’s website.


“We also mailed out Scholarship announcement letters and posters to over 140 parish communities throughout all Dioceses in the USA and Canada, asking the parishes to post the posters and notify their eligible high-school seniors; and, some students found the Scholarship Application via Google and LinkedIn,” said Peter Djokovich, treasurer of the Foundation. “Our Scholarship Committee was extremely impressed with the quality of the Applications we received, and with the achievements, determination and eloquence of our Serbian youth.”


“When the Foundation’s Members voted unanimously in 2007 to create the Scholarship Program, and this year’s Program was announced in October 2008, we originally allocated a total of $10,000 to the 2009 awards,” said Djokovich.  “We appealed to our Members and Supporters, and by May 2009, an additional $5,000 had been contributed to the Award fund. This allowed us to increase the 2009 total award amount to $15,000, and the number of deserving winners as well.  The Foundation appreciates the trust our donors have in our stewardship of their great contributions,” added Vukovich.


Selection Criteria & Process


To ensure unbiased fairness, the Scholarship award selection process was rigorous and controlled.  One team of Foundation members received the submitted Application Information, made the applications anonymous and stored them in a secure internet storage site.  From there, a second group of members pulled and tabulated the results in a point-scoring calculation spreadsheet.  Scoring of the Scholarship applications was based in four categories, 25% on (1) normalized junior and senior year grade point averages, (2) 25% on SAT/ACT/Equivalent international test score, (3) 20% on participation and depth of extracurricular activities and recognition, and (4) 30% on a three-part written Essay.


In the Written Essay, applicants were asked first to summarize their family history. Second, to describe the ideals and characteristics of their Serbian heritage that contributed to their success. And, finally, they were to recommend ways that these characteristics or ideals could be shared throughout the USA and Canada so that more citizens would better understand our Serbian culture, the character of our people, and our contributions to humanity. Each Essay was reviewed and scored anonymously by three different members of the Scholarship Committee.


All results for each of the four categories were added, and then ranked, from highest score and on down.  The top total scores only identified the rank of the Scholarship Award grants. “As always in a contest such as this, there were many wonderful and high scoring Applicants. However, our scoring process was rigorous, objective and scientific, and involved the anonymous work of nearly a dozen Scholarship Committee Members transparently working together to maintain the highest standards of objectivity, non-discrimination, and un-biased fairness,” said Djokovich, adding “our Membership, Audit Committee, and Board of Directors requires this of us.” 


“There were so many closely qualified Applicants, we were very thankful that our Members contributed additional funds in May to recognize more of them,” added Stevan Davidovich, vice president of the Foundation. "And, it is particularly rewarding that we had winners from throughout our communities in the USA and Canada," he added.


How To Help The Scholarships of the Future


“We invite people of Serbian heritage everywhere in the USA and Canada to contribute to this vital Scholarship fund, so that future Applicants can also participate in this worthy support program for our next generations of youth,” said Vukovich.


St. Sava Mission Foundation’s 2010 Scholarship Applications will be released in Fall 2009.  Applications will be available for download from the Foundation website, and announcements will be mailed to parish communities throughout the USA and Canada in Spring 2010.


About the St. Sava Mission Foundation


In 1962, people of Serbian heritage in the Western USA set out to build a center of our culture, community and faith in Jackson, California, the site of the first Serbian Orthodox Christian church in North America.  Their goal was to build facilities for a children’s camp, a senior citizen’s home, education, and other cultural and community needs.  To achieve this they incorporated what is today the St. Sava Mission Foundation.  Today, after over 46 years, the Foundation continues to faithfully preserve its Stewardship of this great and vital legacy.  With the children’s camp long-built and successful, today the Foundation’s goals remain a Senior Citizen Assisted-Living Home for our people; a Serbian Heritage Museum, Library & Cultural Center; historical building preservation; student scholarships; sports facilities; and a Serb youth exchange program.  These are community and cultural goals that the Foundation was originally created to achieve in 1962.  And, they are needed now more than ever here in North America.  Learn more at:






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