Friday, May 21, 2010

Community opens checkbooks for scholars

Generous donors ante up big bucks for grants

Express Staff Writer

The Hailey Rotary has awarded scholarships at Wood River High School since 1967 and gave out 18 grants Wednesday. Recipients included, from left, Sara Koonce, Chauncey McGraw, Jacob Christiansen, Jeff Maxwell, Sydney Brower, Ryan Gelskey, Taylor Coiner, John Burbridge, Meagan Carey, Jill Feldhusen, Juan Martinez, Michael Coiner, Stephanie Sloan, Brita Gaeddert, Kelly Willows-Munro and Sean Dahlman. Not shown are recipients Deborah Horn and Carly Gustafson. Photo by David N. Seelig

Outgoing Wood River High School Principal John Blackman did a rough estimate of the scholarship dollars bestowed on Hailey high school students during Wednesday night's 2009-10 Scholarship Assembly. Even Blackman couldn't believe it.

Blackman, noting the generosity of the community, said, "I counted more than $185,000 in grants awarded tonight and that's not counting renewable scholarships for college kids."

Despite local economic hardships, the big numbers in scholarships going to Wood River students have been the rule rather than the exception this decade. The spike in grants handed out in Blaine County since 2002 began with philanthropists Theresa Castellano-Wood and Benjamin Wood.

"We wanted to do something special to honor the men and women who have committed their lives to teaching our children," Castellano-Wood told Wednesday's audience in the high school commons area.

Their Works of Grace Foundation, developed for the children of local teachers, has given scholarships worth over $700,000. Currently, the foundation is supporting 21 students. It couldn't award scholarships last year because of the economy, Castellano-Wood said, so they awarded grants for 2009 graduating seniors this year.

Devan Annan and Hannah Odio received those scholarships. Current graduating seniors accepting Works of Grace grants of up to $10,000 Wednesday were Chris Clark, Jill Feldhusen and Juan Martinez.

Other scholarships were handed out by 30 organizations, memorial funds and individuals to Wood River High School seniors and juniors active in academics, community affairs and leadership.

A new scholarship started by Hailey resident Theresa Grant was the MAD "Make A Difference" International Leadership Scholarship. Winner was Campbell Gatehouse.

Jill Feldhusen received the $1,000 Idaho Mountain Express Scholarship. This is the 23rd year the Express has given grants to Blaine County students in three schools. Over $88,000 has been given to students since Express scholarships began in 1988. There were 34 applicants this year.

Also leading the way was the Hailey Rotary, which has awarded scholarships at the high school since 1967. Hailey Rotary President Greg Cappel gave 18 scholarships at Wood River. He said his committee had over 80 applicants and decided on 24 scholarships for Blaine County students.

Rotary grants of $1,000 at Wood River High School went to John Burbridge, Sydney Brower, Jacob Christiansen, Michael Coiner, Taylor Coiner, Sean Dahlman, Jill Feldhusen, Brita Gaeddert, Carly Gustafson, Deborah Horn, Sara Koonce, Juan Martinez, Jeff Maxwell, Chauncey McGraw, Stephanie Sloan, Kelly Willows-Munro and Ryan Gelskey.

The Rotary's prestigious Roberta McKercher Scholarship went to Meagan Carey.

The Ketchum-Sun Valley Rotary presented four $1,000 scholarships and two $2,000 grants. Presenter Will Duke gave $2,000 Dean Donaldson Memorial grants to Deborah Horn and Stephanie Sloan, and $1,000 scholarships to Brendan Freund, Ryan Gelskey, Sean Dahlman, Chauncey McGraw and Juan Martinez.

Four $1,000 recipients of Sawtooth Board of Realtors scholarships were Carly Gustafson, Ryan Gelskey, Sean Dahlman and Brendan Freund.

Another highlight of the one-hour-and-40-minute assembly were "Dollars for Scholars" scholarships in the amounts of $1,000 going to 17 students. Presenter Audrey Bashaw said the local program, founded in 1995, has awarded over $300,000 in scholarship money to Blaine County high school students.

"Dollars for Scholars" recipients were John Burbridge, Ashley Hesteness, Jacob Christiansen, Jill Feldhusen, William Dieterich, Monica Garceau, Crockett Stearns, Taylor Coiner, Michael Coiner, Sean Dahlman, Ana Moya, Jordan Niedrich, John Crotty, Chauncey McGraw, Meagan Carey, Stephanie Sloan and Alexandria Kuntz.

Awarded for the 17th year were Leon Friedman Memorial Scholarships, which have amounted to over $525,000. This year's recipients were Ivory Dilley, Brendan Freund, Ryan Gelskey, Stephanie Sloan, Deryk White, John Burbridge, Meagan Carey, Rachel Maier and Rusty Williams.

Check the June 2 Local Life for more photos of winners.

Other awards and winners

$1,500 Josh Pollock Memorial scholarships from Power Engineers (14th year): Rusty Williams and Brendan Freund.

Bob Shay Memorial Scholarship from the David Ketchum American Legion Post (11th year): Juan Martinez.

Memorial awards were presented in honor of Katie Bryson, Barbara Cimino and Wende Lee Thornton.

Sydney Brower earned the Wende Lee Thornton Memorial grant. Elizabeth Dion (art) and Michael Coiner (swimming) accepted the Katie Bryson Memorial Scholarships.

The Barbara Cimino Memorial Scholarships went to Sean Dahlman and Zeb Glenn. Jim Cimino attended the ceremony. Presenter Pat Weaver said the Ciminos have supported 57 high school seniors over the last 14 years, and 27 have degrees from community colleges.

Student of Hispanic Origin Continuing Scholarships from Jim and Barbara Cimino: Ana Moya, Raul Salinas, Luis Lopez and Rodrigo Molina.

Other memorial grants were:

Alan and Diane Johnson $1,000 Memorial Scholarship (7th year): Sean Dahlman. The Jill Palm $1,500 Memorial Scholarship: Sierra Brand.

Tyler Shelly Memorial Music Scholarship for $1,000 honoring the 2002 Wood River High School graduate (6th year): Stephanie Sloan.

Boo Bushell Youth and Performing Arts Memorial Scholarship established in 1999 ($500 each): Brita Gaeddert and Alexandria Kuntz.

Many organizations and businesses contributed grants.

Building Contractors of the Wood River Valley-Gregg Stowe Scholarship: Rusty Williams. David Wilson-Jim Woodyard Construction Scholarship: Rusty Williams.

DL Evans Bank Scholarships: Sara Koonce. Paula's Girl: Stephanie Sloan. Chapter AM PEO Star Scholarship: Meagan Carey. Sonya Tarney $1,000 Scholarship (since 1988): Stephanie Sloan.

Farm Bureau Scholarships: Jacob Christiansen, Andre Keys and Jill Feldhusen.

The Sun Valley Center for the Arts and Humanities gave its $2,000 per-year renewable Gay Weake Scholarship to Elizabeth Dion. Four one-year honorariums from The Center ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 were given to Brita Gaeddert, Stephanie Sloan, John Crotty and Alexandria Kuntz.

Other Sun Valley Center grant recipients were: Scott Randall, Jake Miczulski, Stephen Poklemba, Kaitana Martinez, Mariah Davis, Walker Royston, Sarah Brown, Michele Krankkala, Annette Taylor, Joseph Altermatt, Fischer Lewis, Nathan Kniffen and William Ashfield.

Surfing Heritage Foundation: Jacob Christiansen and Stephanie Sloan. Blaine County Education Association scholarships: Chauncey McGraw and Jill Feldhusen.

Tenth annual Ruscitto/Latham/Blanton Scholarship: Crockett Stearns. Masonic Lodge: Ryan Gelskey. Wood River Odd Fellows and Rebekahs: Raul Salinas.

Smith College Book Award for an outstanding junior: Dakota Barnes. Colby College Book Award to an outstanding junior: James Paris.

United Dairymen of Idaho Distinguished Students of the Week: Britton Stevenson, Jacob Rodriguez, James Hague and Rachel Maier.

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