Blaine County School District Superintendent Jim Lewis pretty well summed up the feeling of students, parents and teachers attending Tuesday's Wood River High School scholarship assembly in the Wood River High School commons area.
"This is an outpouring of love for children educated in this valley," he said during an introduction to the two-hour assembly.
Nearly 35 organizations and individuals gave more than $200,000 in grants Tuesday to Wood River High seniors and juniors active in academics, community affairs and leadership.
John David Davidson received the $2,000 Idaho Mountain Express Scholarship. This is the 20th year the Express has given grants to Blaine County students. In all, more than $77,000 has been given to local students since the Express scholarship program began in 1988.
"When we first started giving scholarships at Wood River in 1988, there was $9,200 given out by 11 organizations. Last year there was over $180,000 given out by over 30 organizations," Express business manager Connie Johnson said.
The big spike in scholarship amounts handed out in Blaine County since 2002 started with a two-hour chat over coffee five years ago between Superintendent Lewis and local residents Theresa Castellano-Wood and Benjamin Wood.
Over the past five years, the resulting Works of Grace Foundation has granted 45 scholarships worth more than $500,000. The grants honor 825 years of teaching experience, Wood told the audience Tuesday.
Winners of $10,000 Works of Grace scholarships were Ellen Ard, Ashley Rendahl and Michael Ward. Jordan Scanlon received a $15,000 grant.
Also leading the way was the Hailey Rotary, which has awarded scholarships at the high school since 1967.
Jim Bell of Hailey Rotary gave 12 scholarships at Wood River on Tuesday—to Kenny Cardona, Kacie Femling, Aimee Loudenslager, Leah McIlhenny, Mareena Moss, Bryce Moulton, Georgia Thies, Jack VanPaepeghem, Eliza Krumpe, Cory Rutkowski, Annie Keenan and Ashley Rendahl.
The Ketchum/Sun Valley Rotary, raising money from its annual Labor Day Duck Race, gave out 10 $1,000 scholarships. Presenter Marty Orwig gave grants to Leah McIlhenny, Bryce Moulton, Ashley Rendahl, John David Davidson, Kacie Femling, Cory Rutkowski, Mareena Moss, Whitney DeBree, Annie Keenan and Danielle Smith.
In addition, Francisco Romero received the Dean Donaldson Memorial Scholarship, $1,000 for two college years.
First Bank of Idaho's Bryan Furlong said the bank in 10 years has given more than 50 scholarships worth $50,000. Seven recipients at Wood River were Danielle Smith, Gulberto Colis, Kacie Femling, Ashley Rendahl, Georgia Thies, Cory Rutkowski and Leah McIlhenny.
The seven $1,000 recipients of Sawtooth Board of Realtors scholarships were Paula Lopez, Adriana Maniere, Leah McIlhenny, Kristen Miniard, Bryce Moulton, Ashley Rendahl and Francisco Romero.
Since 1988 the Realtors have presented more than $144,000 in scholarships including 11 $1,000 grants to Blaine County students this year, presenter Cindy Ward said.
Another highlight of the assembly was "Dollars for Scholars" scholarships in the amounts of $1,000 going to 13 students. Meredith Campbell saluted her co-presenter Audrey Bashaw for raising over $300,000 in scholarship money since the local program began. This year $22,000 is being distributed to county students.
"Dollars for Scholars" recipients from Wood River were Kacie Femling, Michael Greer, Emma Johnson, Kelsey Lidstrom, Paula Lopez, Adriana Maniere, Bryce Moulton, Ashley Rendahl, LeighAndra Roberts, Francisco Romero, David Sibrian, Georgia Thies and Jack VanPaepeghem.
Awarded for the 14th year were Leon Friedman Memorial Scholarships, which have amounted to nearly $500,000 during that time. This year, 14 scholarships worth $14,500 were awarded to Wood River students and, over the county, 29 grants totaling $30,000, presenter Chris Peters said.
Friedman $1,000 recipients were Carrie Bloom, Kenny Cardona, John David Davidson, Whitney DeBree, Eliza Krumpe, Adriana Maniere, Leah McIlhenny, Bryce Moulton, Juan Carlos Reyes, Francisco Romero and Jordan Scanlon. The $500 Friedman scholarship winners were David Sibrian, Georgia Thies and Lauren Williamson.
Other awards and winners
The $1,200 Josh Pollock Memorial Scholarship from Power Engineers (11th year): Tyler Hendricks.
Bob Shay Memorial Scholarship (8th year): Ashley Rendahl.
Memorial awards were presented in honor of Katie Bryson, Joe Maccarillo and Wende Thornton.
Kacie Femling accepted the Katie Bryson Memorial
Scholarship. Kenny Cardona earned the $1,000 Wende Lee Thornton grant. Joe Maccarillo Music Scholarships went to Juan Carlos Reyes, Michael Ward and Aimee Loudenslager.
Alan and Diane Johnson Memorial Scholarship (4th year): John David Davidson.
Tyler Shelly Memorial Music Scholarship for $1,000 (3rd year): Michael Ward.
The Jill Palm Memorial Scholarship: Cory Rutkowski.
Brian J. Finegan Memorial Scholarship: Noah Lindley.
Boo Bushell Youth and Performing Arts Memorial Scholarship for $500 (8th year): Joseph Zeman.
Mary C. Griffin Scholarship: LeighAndra Roberts and Carrie Bloom.
Building Contractors of the Wood River Valley/Gregg Stowe Scholarships: Presented by Anne Stowe to Michael Greer and Elissa Baker.
Other grants Tuesday:
DL Evans Bank Scholarships: Francisco Romero. Paula's Girl: Kaela Prall. Barbara Cimino Memorial: Jennifer Drussel. Ninth annual Wood River Odd Fellows and Rebekahs: Francisco Romero.
US Bank Private Banking Award: Elissa Baker.
Sun Valley Center for the Arts and Humanities: Gay V. Weake Scholarship ($2,000 a year, renewable) to Juan Carlos Reyes; Gay V. Weake one-time scholarship to Michael Ward.
Also from the Center: The Ezra Pound Award for the Visual Arts to Connor Caraluzzi. Plus high school arts and humanities grants to Alan Beserra, Heidi Bergt, Chris Clark, Samantha Engel, Brendan Freund, Collin Hand, Nicolas Howard, Rudolf Kaiser, Aimee Loudenslager, Desiree Peters, Katherine Preucil, Cameron Rendahl, Allison Rust, Russell Wilson, Nicholas Sloan, Stephanie Sloan, Chelsey Souligny, Brian Town and Lauren Williamson.
Cornerstone Realty "School to Work" Award: Paula Lopez.
Blaine County Education Foundation $1,000 scholarship, given to vocational/technical students: Ramon Velasquez.
Sonya Tarney: Juan Carlos Reyes. First annual Ketchum Eye Center: Cory Rutkowski.
Seventh annual Ruscitto/Latham/Blanton scholarship: Casey Bennett.
Upper Big Wood River Grange: Danielle Smith.
4-H Leaders' Council: Leah McIlhenny.
Student of Hispanic Origin Continuing Scholarships from the Ciminos: Jessica Ornelas, David Sibrian, Gulberto Colis and Ramon Velasquez.
Wood River Baseball Association working grants in honor of Larry Lloyd and Jeff Cordes: To LeighAndra Roberts, Drew Anderson and Kenny Cardona.
Smith College Book Award for an outstanding junior: Lauren Morgenthaler.
Colby College Book Award to an outstanding junior: Nathan Payne.