As local high school seniors prepare for graduation, local Rotary Club members prepare roses to help them fund their college education.
The Annual Rotary Rose sale has become a tradition of the Soldotna Rotary Club for nearly two decades. "What we do, is thank folks for donating $20 to our scholarship fund by giving them a dozen roses," said club president Ed Krohn.This year the club awarded four $1,500 scholarships with rather unique criteria. "Rotary's motto is Service Above Self, so this year we decided to ask students what that meant to them as exemplified by community service they had done during their high school career. We didn't ask for grade point averages, parental income statements or athletic abilities, there are other scholarships for those areas. As Rotarians we wanted to help out those college bound kids who have experienced giving back to the community where they received their education," explained Krohn.
The new criteria drew 18 applicants from Soldotna area high schools. "We were very pleased with the response to the new criteria, and when we met the four students that our committee selected and heard about what they had done, we were all inspired to do more," said Krohn. One of those receiving a Rotary scholarship this year was Samantha Penner from SoHi. "It was really different, the only scholarship that I applied for that didn't want my transcripts, it was nice and gave another aspect to what I am all about as a person and not just my grades," said Penner. Sam coached a first and second grade Boys & Girls Club basketball team last fall and found the experience very rewarding. Lela Wiley, of Skyview, won her scholarship for her involvement with the Special Olympics at the local, national and international levels. "I really liked being involved outside of school with different volunteer organizations besides my grade point average, it gives me something else in life to strive for," said Wiley. Rica Howarth, from SoHi, plans to become a doctor and return to practice on the Peninsula. "I really think it was wonderful that it was awarded solely on community service because there is a place for all of us to serve and that's important to me and made the scholarship very special," said Howarth.
The other Rotary scholar this year was Pehr Hartvigson who told of his Eagle Scout project at K-Beach Elementary School. "I built an amphitheatre for the kids at K-Beach, but I've also participated in other projects through NHS, Scouts, my church where I coordinated a youth conference for over 500 youth, service is a big part of my life," said Hartvigson, who also took 1st Place in the Caring For The Kenai environmental competition in his freshman year.
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