I was amazed at the caliber of students from our area when I attended the Awards Night ceremonies at Sumner and Bonney Lake high schools. Scholarships were awarded and students were recognized for their achievements throughout the years.
I was also surprised to see how many scholarships were given, including two very sharp-looking young men who received full-ride scholarships to the Air Force Academy, valued at $415,000 each. Several other students received full-ride scholarships for their academic and athletic achievements. But the thing that stood out to me most of all, was how many were given from businesses and community organizations right here in our area. It was these organizations that made up the majority of scholarships given.
I am proud that the Bonney Lake Chamber of Commerce is one of those organizations who gives back to the community through the Bonney Lake Chamber Scholarship Fund.
When I arrived at the chamber one year ago, I was amazed when I learned about the scholarship awards given each year by the chamber. For the most part, chambers of commerce are like most other businesses working hard to stay afloat, giving back and contributing to the community in some small way, but certainly not giving thousands of dollars each year to deserving young students preparing to go off to college. I did some digging and found out about the story behind our scholarship awards.
I found record of the scholarship being established 24 years ago in 1985, just two years after the chamber was formed. The first award was given in the amount of $250. Small amounts were given each year until 1998 when, the chamber sold a piece of property it owned, at which time the scholarships got bigger. At that time, the board of directors chose to give the proceeds from the sale of the property to the Sumner School District to manage for the chamber’s scholarship fund. A check was presented to the Sumner School District in the amount of $80,757, the largest scholarship deposit ever made to the Sumner School District. The annual scholarships are funded with the interest earned, leaving the principal intact. Total amount for this year’s awards was $3,000.
The Bonney Lake Chamber Scholarships are awarded to students living in Bonney Lake. Other criteria include a demonstrated community contribution, overall contribution to the district and plans to major in business, economics, management or other business-related areas.
A scholarship committee is formed each year from chamber board members who review each application received. Applications are narrowed down and finalists are interviewed before a final determination is made.
I would like to express my gratitude to all current and past chamber board members who had a hand in the scholarship program. It is truly an honor to be part of such a rewarding tradition.
I would like to congratulate this year’s recipients of the Bonney Lake Chamber Scholarships, Netanya Rommel and Crystal Ann Davis from Sumner High School, and Brian Salo and Christopher Ward from Bonney Lake High School. Best of luck to each of you and best of luck to the Class of 2009.
Lora Butterfield is the executive director of the Bonney Lake Chamber of Commerce and can be reached at 253-222-5945 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The chamber is at 20608 state Route 410 East, inside Harborstone Credit Union. The Web site is www.bonneylake.com.
Bonney Lake Chamber