Ever since the first Rotary Club was chartered on the Kenai Peninsula in 1979, funding scholarships for local youths has been an on going community service project for Rotarians.
"The quantity and amounts of the scholarships have varied over the years, depending on how much money we raise, but it's something we've done every year," said long time Soldotna Rotarian Darell Jelsma. That has added up to nearly $100,000 that has been contributed to scholarships for local students over the club's history.
It's been about 15 years since the local Rotary Clubs began the annual Rotary Rose sale as a scholarship fund raising event and the success of the sale has allowed the number and amounts of scholarships to increase. One of the recipients of a Rotary Scholarship, Hillary Moore, a 1997 Skyview graduate and Alaska Jr. Miss, recently stopped by as a guest for lunch at the Soldotna Club and expressed the importance of the Rotary scholarships, "It's really true, that every dozen roses really does make a difference to a students education," said Moore, who is now a medical student at the University of Washington. Scholarships have also been awarded for vocational training and students attending KPC.
According to Doug Schoessler, Rose Committee chairman, the rose sale has become the main fund raiser for the Club's scholarships, "Basically, we ask folks for a $20 donation to our scholarship fund, and say thank you on behalf of the kids that will receive those monies by giving you a dozen roses, it's been a great success every year," said Schoessler. Many Rotarians and friends of club members have bought roses every year to pass on to spouses, friends or customers. Heritage Place nursing facility and Central Peninsula General Hospital are usually a blaze with the fragrance of the fresh flowers the day after they arrive.
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