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Local woman collects recyclables for scholarship fund in memory of granddaughter

This is a recurring recording of WBNG's 11pm Newscast.
Published: Jan. 8, 2022 at 12:09 AM EST
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WINDSOR (WBNG) -- A local woman is collecting recyclables to raise money for a scholarship she will give out to high school seniors throughout Broome County.

For the past 8 years, Iva Jean Tennant has collected cans, bottles, and other donations for the Kenzee Jean Wheeler Memorial Fund -- a scholarship named after her late granddaughter, who passed away in a motor vehicle accident at age 4.

Since the start of the scholarship in 2014, Tennant has awarded $37,750 to 48 different seniors across the county.

“Kenzee had a really kind heart, so we know she would just love to be able to give out money to seniors across Broome County,” said Tennant.

To apply to the scholarship, students must submit a creative project that raises awareness of motor vehicle safety issues involving children. Past students have submitted pieces of artwork, poetry, and songs.

Tennant said she hopes the scholarship will prevent future tragedies by encouraging people to buckle children up in a proper car seat each and every time they’re on the road.

In the past, Tennant also held carnivals in her community to help raise money for the scholarship. However, the pandemic has limited what she can do -- leaving her to rely only on collecting cans and bottles to fund this year’s scholarship.

“I’ve been collecting bottles and cans from anybody that will give me bottles and cans,” she said. “I’ll drive and pick them up and I take them to Greenblott. Right now, I desperately need bottles and cans, or we can take cash donations.”

She said she is grateful to all the people who have donated cans and bottles so far, and she is amazed at how much work students have put into their projects for the scholarship.

“It just makes my heart fill over with love that people would take the time and energy to do something that would be honoring Kenzee,” Tennant said.

People interested in donating or getting more information about the scholarship can contact Tennant through her Facebook page.

Kenzee Jean Memorial Scholarship applications will be available at the end of January. The deadline for students to apply is March 31, 2022.