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Police vet's daughter awarded law enforcement scholarship

Fruitport High School graduate Sydney Bleich has been awarded a $2,000 Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP) Dream Scholarship. She is among eight top students who will receive the award to encourage their pursuit of law enforcement/public safety careers by the professional public safety officers of LEEP.

Bleich, who graduated with a 3.4 GPA, is entering a five-year dual bachelor’s degree program at Saint Mary’s College and University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. She will pursue a bachelor’s in applied mathematics at Saint Mary’s and a computer engineering bachelor’s at Notre Dame. “It’s part of the STEM program,” said Rick Bleich, her father and retired Police Officers Labor Council (POLC) Executive Committee Chairman. “Saint Mary’s is an all girls college and what they wanted to do is to get more women involved in the CAM (computer and applied mathematics) field … that’s primarily male-dominated. They have special study groups because of the high number of credit hours.”

“I hope to receive this scholarship to pursue my dream and follow my family’s legacy in law enforcement,” said Sydney Bleich. Rick Bleich is a Muskegon Police Department veteran. “After college, I plan to apply to the FBI Academy in the computer forensics program. I plan to go into the field of cyber security, where I would aid in solving cyber security crimes in the workplace.”

As robotics team lead programmer and presenter through Industrial Studio at Fruitport High, Bleich taught younger children about programming and the basics of cyber security. “She has attended job shadows, conferences and even created her own website on her own accord to help students in the area of Internet security,” wrote Kathleen Kay Steudle-Schwander, Fruitport High industrial technology teacher. “What has impressed me most is watching Sydney strengthen herself in struggling areas. She challenges herself to increase her comfort zone and doesn’t stop until she has mastered them. Over the years I have seen her become a leader in our class work through a combination of her motivation to do well, and her love of hands on application.”

She was a member of her high school equestrian team, Spanish club and choir. She was 4-H vice president and secretary and involved in a horse judging team. As vice president and chairperson of Leo Club, Bleich volunteered building ramps for the disabled, organizing community carnivals and parades. “The Leo Club has taught me to become a stronger leader,” she wrote in her application.

Other scholarship winners include: Esperanza Razo of California; Ryan McIntyre of Indiana; Hunter Bowerson, Mason Deible and Marybeth Gormley of Michigan; Colby Matthys of Missouri and Antronette Gholston of Oklahoma. In its 14th year, LEEP has awarded some $232,000 in Dream scholarships to students showing a demonstrated interest in public service/law enforcement careers.

Published originally:
LEEP (Sept. 19, 2018)