With her father killed at the age of two, Makayla has navigated life, school, and sports, without her father by her side.
Always aspiring to be an Army Ranger, SGT Steven Ganczewski grew up in Niagara Falls. Post 9/11, SGT Ganczewski felt even more obligated to serve and enlisted in the Army at his first available opportunity. As a passionate and inspiring individual, SGT Ganczewski passed the selection process for the 75th Ranger Regiment where he quickly rose through the ranks. In November 2007, on his fifth deployment, SGT Ganczewski was killed in Balad, Iraq. He was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor and the Bronze Star for Service. He left behind his wife Racheal and daughter Makayla.
Moving closer to family, Makayla and her mother now live in Michigan. Today, when Makayla talks about her father she remembers her dad’s unique sense of humor and contagious laugh. She wishes she could remember more and is sad that he died so young in her life. Makayla, now in high school, is beginning to explore her college options for a future career in anthropology. Unfortunately, navigating the eligibility requirements and regulations of state and Veterans Affair programs for Gold Star Families is not easy.
Gold Star Scholars exists to help Gold Star Families, like the Ganczewski family, navigate the educational system, provide financial aid, and mentorship to ensure that Gold Star Family Members are being supported.
Gold Star Scholars assists Gold Star Family members navigate the scholarship process and provides financial assistance in cases where existing scholarships do not cover costs.
We connect our scholars with driven and dedicated mentors in their field of interest.
Alongside our partners, we are dedicated to helping Gold Star Scholars through the development of a professional network, resume writing, and search for meaningful employment.
It takes a community to support a Gold Star Family. We strive to offer unique opportunities to those who sacrificed so much.