Council surprises SoHi senior with $2,000

Posted: Friday, May 12, 2006

One of about a dozen high school students attending the Soldotna City Council meeting Wednesday evening got quite a surprise — a $2,000 surprise, in fact.

As a matter of course, a number of students from Soldotna and Skyview high schools regularly attend council meetings as part of their class assignments.

Toward the end of Wednesday’s meeting, Mayor Dave Carey, himself a retired high school teacher, announced the names of five winners of city scholarships this year.

One of the high school seniors — Keegan Birchfield — was in the audience.

“That’s the first I’ve heard of it,” Birchfield said as he addressed the city council during the public comment portion of the meeting.

He thanked them for the $2,000 academic award.

Other winners announced by Carey include Nicole Martin, a Connections home school student who will receive a $2,000 vocational education scholarship; Sara Jensen, a SoHi student who will get a $2,000 academic award; and Jennifer Werth and Allie Schoessler, SoHi students who will receive $750 each.

The $2,000 awards, made possible through a donation from an individual who wishes to remain anonymous, will be given over two years.

“I was extremely impressed with the quality of the individuals who applied,” Carey said.

He and two city council members reviewed applications received from 17 students.

The scholarship awards were first given in 2004.

Last year, the program did not get under way until too late in the school year for scholarships to be given, according to Kathy Dawson, administrative assistant to the city manager, so none was awarded.

Instead, the designated funds were rolled into the 2006 scholarship program, increasing the number of awards, Dawson said.

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