A bunch of lucky — and hardworking — seniors received $500 to $9,500.
Much was celebrated May 20 when 166 Peninsula High School graduating seniors, 62 from the Key Peninsula, were awarded more than $300,000 in scholarships from the Peninsula Hawks Scholarship Fund. The awards ceremony, historically an event that fills the PHS auditorium, was live-streamed.
Hayley Nichols, a 1991 graduate and herself a scholarship recipient, is a PHSF board member and chair of the donations committee. She said that the program owes some of its success to its ability to engage donors. If they wish, for a minimum donation, they can set up their own scholarship with specifications that are most meaningful to them. Criteria may include such things as attending a particular elementary or middle school, academic achievement, sports played, plans for a major or interest in a specific vocation. Donors can also choose to give to the community fund at any level.
“Our goal is to give every student who applies a scholarship.”
“We have so much support from the KP,” Nichols said. Businesses, individuals and organizations all donate. “It is phenomenal. When I came into this and was learning who to contact for donations, I found out it was not the rich. It is the people who may have struggled and understand. It is amazing how much they give. And for students, getting a scholarship is more than just the money. It is about people believing you can make it.”
The fund was established in 1984 by PHS parent Avon Gay when $7,000 was awarded. In addition to donations from individuals, businesses and organizations, PHSF owns and operates the Seahawk Academic and Vocational Education (SAVE) Thrift Store near the high school and is staffed in part by a rotating cast of PHS students. All profits go to support scholarships.
Students who want to apply for scholarships must complete a notebook that includes a statement of purpose, a transcript, activities, volunteer hours, and a portfolio with examples of their work such as art, writing or pictures from their sports team.
A group of five community volunteers who are not members of the PHSF board or parents of PHS students reads all of the notebooks. Donors may decide to read the notebooks themselves and select the award recipients, or they may ask the community volunteers to make the selection.
“We have so much support from the KP.”
“It is such a fabulous program,” said Deanna Russell, board treasurer. “Our goal is to give every student who applies a scholarship.” This year every student received at least $500. The number of scholarships per student ranged from one to eight, and the total amount awarded ranged from $500 to $9,500.
The pandemic upended the usual flow for the scholarship fund.
Under normal circumstances PHSF holds an open house, inviting donors to review notebooks that have been screened to meet their criteria. A student may receive more than one scholarship, though each student is guaranteed to get at least $300. The stay at home and social distancing orders came just as the open house was scheduled. Nichols scanned the notebooks and donors accessed them online.
The thrift store, too, was closed until recently. Kendra Zartmann, who manages the store, started working there as a volunteer about five years ago and took over as manager a year and a half ago. She has adjusted operations to comply with state restrictions. She is now able to take donations — the store accepts everything except furniture — by appointment, posts what is available on the SAVE Facebook page, and schedules pick-ups on Fridays.
Within the store itself only a few volunteers are present at any given time. They wear masks and gloves, and any donations are quarantined for two days before they are sorted. Students had been active in the store, learning skills by cashiering, pricing and marketing. Zartmann plans to bring them back when it’s safe.
Nichols, who works fulltime, described her work with PHSF as her second job. “I gave up my other volunteer jobs because this one has so many rewards. The looks on the faces of the students when they receive the scholarships — it really gives the best bang for your buck for the time involved.”
PHSF welcomes volunteers. “There are so many opportunities,” Russell said. “We can find a place for people no matter what level of time commitment or skill set they have.”
Key Peninsula 2020 Seahawk Scholarship Winners
Triston Bigelow Hannah Blake Peter Bosselmann Julia Bruno Victoria Bryan Shelby Burns Kayla Cameron Nolan Casey Holly Cheney Skye Collins Tien Davis Ian Downen Chloe Duttry Kaytlin Edwards Celia Emens Jude Endsley Isaiah Fahey Audrey Farley Jessica Farris Emily Fisher Jesse Gerth Lily Gibbons Reagan Glasco Ben Goins Summer Gower Ashleigh Green Brittney Guilliot Claralynn Hammel Jaelee Henneman Lexy Holden Brandon Hoover Mason Hyde Emily Jenkins Matthew Johnson Juliet Lent Sophia Lent Hannah Lerman Anastin Lindsay Ashleigh Martin Gehrig Matison Kara McKinney Gwendolyn Mitchell Evan Muterspaugh Matt Nesbit Kyle O’Brien Jack Olinger Taylor Pasquale Grace Reed Lillian Roberts Tiffany Rose Yazmin Saber Erica Schaefer Amaya Sheets Daniel Shurr Katelyn Spotten Vanessa Stedman Forrest Stoican Reid Sturn Julia Taylor Isabella Tefft Jessika Urdahl Allison Valdez Ashlyn Valdez Jonna Waage Maximus Walsh Ellen Wrigley Quenton Young
Seahawk Scholarship Donors
Active Construction, Inc. Allovus Design Inc. American Association of University Women Angel Guild of Key Peninsula AVID Tutors Baker Foundation Ben B. Cheney Foundation Canterwood Ladies 18 Holers Canterwood Niner’s Ladies Golf Carlson Family Chaney Family Scholarship Connor Fitzgerald Memorial Fund Devoted Kiss Cafe Evergreen Elementary PTA Fox Island Sand & Soil Garden Club George & Mavis Engelland Memorial Foundation Gig Harbor Cruisers Automotive Club Gig Harbor Eagles No. 2809 Auxiliary Gig Harbor Firefighters Association Gig Harbor Fishermen’s Civic Club Gig Harbor Lions Club Gig Harbor Little League Gig Harbor Midday Rotary Gig Harbor Peninsula Area Dentists Gig Harbor Turkey Trot (Holmes Chiropractic) Allen and Julie Gillett Cheryl Ann and Carl Graf Greater Gig Harbor Foundation Greater Tacoma Community Foundation Hansen’s Hedgehogs Harbor Animal Hospital Harbor Ridge VPO Harbor Soccer Club Robb Haydon The Holmaas Fund, GTCF Ed Johnson Ken Kieffer Key Peninsula Business Association Key Peninsula Historical Society Key Peninsula PTSA Key Singers Kim Marie Bacchus Memorial Kitsap Bank Kiwanis Club of Gig Harbor Baiya and Deb Krishnadasan Elizabeth Litsch Scholarship Fund The Longbranch Foundation Hugh and Janice McMillan Mike Paul Construction Inc & Mike and Cindy Paul Minter Creek Elementary PTA Nancy Nelson Peninsula Custodial Union No. 1948 Peninsula Education Association (PEA) Peninsula Hands on Art Peninsula High School Scholarship Peninsula School District Bus Drivers Peninsula Schools Education Foundation Kelly and Michael Perrow Wade and Beth Perrow PHS Alumni PHS Class of 1961 PHS Class of 1984 PHS VPO Purdy Elementary PTA Ashley Reid Roy and Kathy Spadoni Scholarship Scholarship Interest Group at Heron’s Key The Tax Shack, Inc. Two Waters Arts Alliance Vaughn Elementary PTA VFW Post No. 1854 Jon Wagher Washington Patriot Construction, LLC Windermere Real Estate Bill and Irma Wright