Martin Scholarship awarded to Madeline Buchta

The Fort Atkinson Community Foundation is proud to announce that Madeline Buchta is the very first recipient of its new $1,200 V.C. and Blanche Helgren Martin Scholarship for the upcoming 2020-21 academic year.

A 2017 graduate of Fort Atkinson High School, Buchta is currently pursuing a double major in graphic communication and theatre arts, with a minor in computer science, at Carroll University.  She is a stellar student, carrying an impressive 3.98 gradepoint average into her upcoming senior year.  Not surprisingly, one of her professors described her as one of the most talented students in the university’s graphic design program.

The Martin Scholarship Fund was established at the Foundation last year thanks to a generous gift from Patricia Martin Soderholm in honor of her parents.  Soderholm, who lives in Madison, is a 1944 graduate of Fort Atkinson High School.

Establishing the Martin Scholarship Fund was Soderholm’s way of paying it forward to future Fort Atkinson graduates.  She was particularly interested in providing financial assistance and encouragement to local students who are pursuing studies in the fields of English, journalism, and theater or other related language arts areas, as well as the field of architecture.

Pat’s mother, Blanche Helgren, was from Florence, WI.  After she graduating from high school, she worked as a country school teacher to save money for college.  She graduated from Milwaukee Normal School (later the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) and her first professional job was teaching English at Fort Atkinson High School.

Pat’s father, V.C. Martin, was from Rewey, WI, near Platteville.  As the oldest son in his family, he dropped out of school after eighth grade to help run the family farm.  He served our country in World War I and, after seeing Paris, he never went back to the farm.  Instead, he eventually came to Fort Atkinson to work for a furniture company here, where he met his future wife.  Though V.C. never did go back to school, he was a lifelong learner.

Blanche was the first female teacher in Fort Atkinson who was allowed to keep her job after she married.  But enlightened thinking only went so far and shortly after she had her first child, she was fired.  She continued to substitute teach in the Fort schools while raising her three children.  During World War II, she went back to teaching full-time at a country school in Helenville.

As Pat noted, ‘they both appreciated education so much!’

To see more news about 2020 scholarship recipients, click here.

For more information about any of the scholarships offered by the Fort Atkinson Community Foundation, contact their executive director Sue Hartwick at (920) 563-3210 (office), (920) 222-1191 (mobile) or via email at