True grit reaps rewards for student

Posted: Monday, August 20, 2001

We all like to think of ourselves as dedicated and determined. However, when we need an example, Nikiski High School graduate Travis Anderson is a good one to find.

Anderson is one of those high school students that parents and teachers dream about. He is clean-cut and hard-working.

For the past year, Anderson has committed himself to school, work and scholarship applications. His day started at 4 a.m., when he woke up to do homework before school.

He attended classes, then worked at the Nikiski pool as a lifeguard and swim instructor until about 9 p.m.

"I only slept for about four hours a night," he said, laughing.

Fortunately for him, his efforts are beginning to pay off.

Anderson leaves Monday for his freshman year at Montana State University in Bozeman. With him, he takes a list of awards and scholarships and his parents' moral support.

He also takes an ability to focus on his goals.

One of the scholarships that Anderson has received is a $4,000 award from the National Association for the Self-Employed. He qualified for the award through his father, who owns Anderson Enterprises.

In order to be considered, Anderson was required to write a five-year business plan based on his intended major. This meant studying actual business plans, as well as researching opportunities for self-employment using his field of study, psychology.

That, however, was the easy part.

Anderson read several business plans.

"Most were about 20 pages long," he said.

He was required to condense his into one page.

Aside from the NASE award, Anderson received scholarships from the Peninsula Oilers Booster Club, the American Legion, Star of the North Lutheran Church, the Mary Rounds scholarship and the Martin Luther King Jr. scholarship.

For the Mary Rounds scholarship, Anderson was interviewed. For the Martin Luther King Jr. scholarship, he wrote an essay on the impact the pacifist had on the United States as a community.

Anderson also was valedictorian of his class at Nikiski. Aside from high grades, he was required to complete honors courses, including four years of science, four years of math, two years of foreign language, and 100 hours of community service.

Learning a foreign language is important, he said. At one time, he traveled through parts of Canada with his parents.

Everyone could speak English, he said, but there were many times that the family would enter a business or restaurant and hear Canadian French all around them.

"It kind of makes you realize how isolated we are," he said.

Anderson is one of those fortunate young people who has not been isolated. He participated in varsity sports, including soccer and football, until his senior year, when he decided to concentrate on work and scholarship applications.

His parents, Mark and Carrie, gave him guidance and helped him keep track of deadlines.

"Mom was always there in the morning ... making sure I had a lunch and everything," Anderson said.

"Dad was there on the weekends, saying, 'This scholarship is due this week. You might want to work on it this weekend,'" he said.

Following college, Anderson wants to do some work as a criminal investigator. He is considering applying to the FBI.

For now, he is beginning a new phase in his life. His goal is keeping his focus at school. He plans to limit his extracurricular activities for the first year while he adjusts.

"I'm just taking it one step at a time," he said.

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