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Two WRHS students earn WAVE

High-performing career and technical education White River High School students Victoria Marsh and Natasha Graves were selected to receive a 2009 Washington Award for Vocational Excellence (WAVE) scholarship grant.

Three students from each of the state’s legislative districts have been awarded up to two years of free tuition at a Washington public or private college or vocational school of their choice.

The Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board recently announced the winners. Established by the Legislature in 1984, the WAVE awards pay undergraduate educational tuition for two years (six quarters or four semesters) at an accredited public or private college or university or licensed private vocational school. Students are reimbursed for their actual tuition costs – capped at $6,720 per year.

Some 146 winners were selected from a highly competitive process. Each application was reviewed by a committee representing business, labor, education and government, along with interested citizens. Two high school students, and one from a community or technical college, were selected from each of the state’s 49 legislative districts.

“WAVE scholarships honor students who have found their passion through an education that connects the working world with the experience of learning,” said Eleni Papadakis, executive director of the Workforce Board. “As these students continue on their amazing academic and professional journeys, they demonstrate how effective career and technical education is in launching them into a lifetime of learning.”

To be eligible, students must have completed high school or college career and technical education courses. Scholarship winners immersed themselves in subject areas as varied as architecture, accounting, agriculture, business, marketing, culinary arts, criminal justice, digital media production, welding, teaching, network design, nanotechnology, nursing and natural resources, among others. Many emphasized a strong, hands-on connection to their courses and their pleasure at discovering a career that motivated them to take their next educational step.

Many scholarship winners mentioned the toll the crumbling economy has taken on their ability to invest in their education, a financial roadblock to an otherwise clear education and career path. The WAVE scholarship, many said, was vital to continuing in school.

Marsh, selected for her high school study of agriculture science and natural resources, plans to attend Washington State University. She is the daughter of Sandra and Paul Marsh. Graves, who was chosen for her studies in business and marketing, plans to attend Green River Community College in the fall. She is the daughter of Wendy Preston.

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