The Lake Oswego Rotary Club at its Monday meeting celebrated the recipients of seven college scholarships worth $2,500 apiece.
For many years, the Rotary Club was known for awarding two types of scholarships: Service Above Self for outstanding volunteerism and Merit for academic leadership. One of each kind was awarded to a student at both Lake Oswego and Lakeridge high schools for a total of four scholarships.
Three more scholarships were added earlier this year since the Rotary Club has created the Service Above Self: Educational Excellence Awards, an awards program for the local education community that also features scholarships. The accompanying scholarships emphasize community service and leadership, and they're open to students who live in Lake Oswego but may attend high school somewhere outside of the Lake Oswego community.
All told the Rotary Club is supporting local students with $17,500 in scholarships for the 2016-17 school year — so far. That's not counting the $2,000 Robert Bigelow Memorial Scholarship for future journalists from Lake Oswego or West Linn who will attend the University of Oregon. The award is named for the former publisher of The Review and the West Linn Tidings; Bigelow was a Rotarian. That award will be announced soon. Next year, there could be two more SASEE Scholarships as well, says Eric Allenbaugh, a Rotarian on the SASEE Steering Committee.
"I am encouraged that these (scholarship winners) represent a legacy of leadership and service that are being reinforced from one generation to the next," Allenbaugh says.
All of the scholarship recipients lauded in 2017 coincidentally were young women because the judges saw that these young women exceeded the high standards necessary for these scholarships, says Brian Bice, a Rotarian on the SASEE Steering Committee.
"Each of them, individually, I can go on and on and on about," Bice says. "Collectively, I will tell you, it is extraordinarily gratifying to meet the high-school graduating seniors from this town because every year I'm more surprised delighted, pleased, snowed by the quality of these students, both academically and in terms of their interests in giving back."
The winners of the SASEE, Merit and Service Above Self Scholarships are:
• Service Above Self (LOHS), Emma Carter, University of Michigan;
• SASEE (Lakeridge), Mackenzie Coder, Texas Christian University;
• SASEE (LOHS), Kate Fayloga, Oregon State University;
• Merit (LOHS), Sarah Kwartler, Duke University;
• Merit (Lakeridge), Maya Rajani, University of Southern California;
• Service Above Self (Lakeridge), Olivia Shin, Texas Christian University; and
• SASEE (St. Mary's Academy in Portland), Nicole Taylor, Oregon State University.
Fayloga and Coder also landed SASEE awards earlier this year, each receiving $500 to apply toward a school service or activity.
Carter, Coder and Kwartler were on hand at a Rotary Club meeting Monday and shared with the crowd and The Review a little bit about what receiving one of these scholarships means to them.
When Kwartler had a chance to address the crowd, she shared a story of a visit to Israel this summer during which she spotted a Rotary symbol on a sign and, in her excitement, pulled over simply to snap a photo. The Merit Scholarship she earned will help Kwartler fund her degree at Duke, where she plans to study marine biology. She says she's thrilled with the award, officially called the David Berentson Merit Scholarship, and humbled by it.
"I was pretty shocked because my classmates were just as qualified as I am," Kwartler says.
Her academic accomplishments include creating the National Ocean Sciences Bowl group at LOHS in 2015, which had a team that took fourth in regionals last year and third this year. Kwartler is also one of the few student columnists that The Review has kept on the team for junior and senior years. She also interned in environmental electrochemistry at Oregon Health & Science University and was active in the LOHS Speech and Debate Team, Oregon ZooTeen, Model United Nations, LOHS French Club and the Lake Oswego School District Superintendent's Student Advisory Committee.
Carter is another local academic stand-out. A frequent-flyer on the LOHS honor roll, she received the Confederation of Oregon Foreign Language Teachers' Outstanding Achievement Awards in French. Carter plans to major in biopsychology, cognition and neuroscience and to minor in music.
She also gives of her time and was honored with a Service Above Self Scholarship for volunteerism including helping to run a fitness camp for Down Syndrome Network Oregon.
"I don't do what I do for the recognition, so I'm not used to viewing what I do as an accomplishment," Carter explains.
She gives of her time because helping others is her passion. Coder says she feels the same way about volunteering. Her accomplishments include serving as a student board member for Lake Oswego Schools Foundation, which raises funds to support teachers' salaries. Coder also devoted her time to the Associated Student Body, Lakeridge's student leadership group; and the Our Lady of the Lake Youth Group, which has duties including serving organizations that aid homeless people. Coder says she plans to study business at TCU and to someday work at a nonprofit, so this scholarship may be a gift to her but could also benefit others.
"That's going toward my education being able to help other people," she notes.
During its inaugural awards ceremony in January, Rotarians recognized winners in three categories — Students, Teachers/Administrators/Support Staff and Individual Citizens/Volunteers — who had demonstrated selfless conduct, engage and inspire others "to reach their highest level of educational excellence," exhibit responsible citizenship and "cultivate a life-long interest in learning," nomination materials say.
Awards varied, but one of the perks for the Individual Citizens/Volunteers who support education was a student scholarship in their name.
The awardees in the Individual Citizens/Volunteers category were Linda Brown, who has volunteered in education for three decades including serving as a Lake Oswego School Board member; Sandra Miller, the founder and artistic director of the Oregon Children's Choir and Youth Chorale; and Piper Park, who founded Park Academy, a nonprofit school for children with dyslexia and other learning challenges. The scholarship in Piper's name went to Fayloga; the one in Miller's name went to Coder; and the one in Brown's name was awarded to Taylor.
"Can you imagine how it would feel, what an honor that is, to have someone get money toward their education in your name?" says Brown, also a Rotarian. "It's just over-the-moon wonderful."
Learn more about Lake Oswego Rotary Club at www.lakeoswegorotary.org.