Thank you to Brenda McAferty, McKinney Vento & Foster Care Liaison with North Thurston Public Schools for Your Support of North Thurston Students!

“I am writing to share our appreciation for the amazing support North Thurston Education Foundation (NTEF) has provided to students in North Thurston Public Schools. Currently there are over 750 students who qualify for services under the McKinney Vento Homeless Assistance Act, due to housing instability and homelessness. Additionally, there are countless more families who have access to housing, but struggle on a daily basis to provide the most basic needs for their children.

When our community began to feel the effects of COVID-19, and schools were suddenly closed, NTEF stepped up immediately, and asked what was needed to support our students. During this unprecedented time, families who have never experienced financial struggles in the past, suddenly find themselves without a job. They are not only struggling to keep food on the table, but unable to pay their rent or mortgages. The Family & Youth Resource (FYR) Center, with the financial help from NTEF and donations from the community, has been able to provide food, hygiene kits, household items, and fuel cards to over 100 families per week through our drive-thru program. None of this would be possible without the generous support of NTEF.” ~Brenda McAferty, NTPS McKinney Vento Student Navigator and Foster Care Liaison 

Thanks Brenda for the kind words, and all of your hard work for students in our district!

Thank You For Your Support for Our “Sponsor A Senior” Program!

“Thank you so much for your support of the Sponsor A Senior Program. It’s so wonderful each year to hand out graduation cap and gowns to our very exciting seniors. This year it was even more moving knowing what each of them went through to get to graduation. I won’t get to go cheer for them this year at the ceremony, they didn’t get a prom for me to gush over them, and no honors night, but giving them the gift card and an overflowing goodie bag of treats was wonderful and all were so moved by how we made it special for them!

Thank you for allowing us to celebrate their achievements and assuring each one got to walk if they wanted to. This program makes such a huge difference to our homeless students to insure equity and inclusion.” ~Deanna East, NTPS McKinney Vento Student Navigator

Thank you very much to Academy Mortgage who made a generous contribution of $1500.00 to the Sponsor A Senior Program! We are so thankful for your ongoing support!

Student Scholarship Testimonial – Julian Ruatos

“The application process went really smoothly thanks to Mrs. Stepherson, from River Ridge’s College & Career Center, who helped me— she is an amazing resource for scholarships and the instructions were easy and transparent,” says Julian Ruatos, 2020 graduate of River Ridge High School and recipient of the Frank Parker Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $7,250.

This scholarship was established as a memorial to Frank Parker. A true renaissance man, Parker was a US Navy pilot, electrical engineer, musician, lover of outdoor pursuits and a great raconteur. As the owner of Parko Electronics, his creativity and superior problem-solving skills enabled him to contribute to the success of NASA’s Apollo Project. (Some of the parts he designed are currently resting on the moon as part of the Apollo landing.)

This scholarship is for a student who intends to pursue coursework with a math or science focus who will attend a two or four-year college or university. This scholarship is for $2000 but with evidence of success each year, the scholarship is renewable for $1,750 each year for 3 years, to total $7,250.

Julian plans to attend the University of Washington Seattle Campus and is enrolled in the College of Engineering program to study mechanical engineering. “The North Thurston Education Foundation Scholarship will be a tremendous help for me this upcoming school year. By allowing me the opportunity to focus more on my academics and less on the stress from tuition and other expenses, I am far more confident and prepared moving forward into my freshman year!”

Congratulations Julian and best wishes!

Student Scholarship Testimonial – Madison Vu

“I’m an expert at math, but writing is not my strong suit,” so the essay portion of the scholarship application was a little challenging for me,” says Madison Vu, 2020 graduate of North Thurston High School. “But thankfully I had Ms. Ponzoha, the Career Center Specialist, to help. She was the one who recommended I apply for the scholarship.”

Madison is the recipient of the John Gott Educational Scholarship. The one-year scholarship provides $1,000 with potential renewals of $1,000 for three additional years (for a total of $4,000) upon evidence of continuing academic success. It was established in honor of Dr. John Gott, former Superintendent of North Thurston School District upon his retirement in 1991 and is intended to support the education of a graduating senior who is pursuing a career in education.

“I love math and want to help young people find the joy in learning, particularly in a subject that some find challenging,” says Madison. “This scholarship is going to help offset the costs of living on campus, which I’m excited about because it will give me the true college experience.”

Madison plans to attend St. Martin’s University full time in the fall and live on campus. Congratulations Madison and best wishes for a bright future!

Student Scholarship Testimonial – Collin Moore

A 2020 Graduate of Timberline High School, Collin Moore is the recipient of a Lewis R. Hawthorne & Edna C. Hawthorne Scholarship in the amount of $10,000. These scholarships were established by a bequest from the estate of Lewis R. Hawthorne and Edna C. Hawthorne, Lacey residents whose nephew and niece taught at North Thurston High School and Timberline High School, respectively.

“The application process was definitely a bit challenging, but Ms.Gold at Timberline High School was really helpful,” says Collin. “I had to write an essay as well as gather other information including personal recommendations.”

Collin plans to attend South Puget Sound Community College full time in the fall and pursue studies in the area of mathematics. “I really love math and want to do something math-related in the future,” says Moore. “This scholarship will help significantly with first year expenses and I’m so thankful that I was awarded this gift that will help me continue my education.”

We are so glad to help support Collin and other students! Congratulations and good luck next year, Collin!

2020 Scholarship Award Recipients

Timberline High School 
Maria Jelaine Barretto – Foundation Scholarship
McKenzie Bowers – Davies Vocational-Technical Scholarship
Arianna Bush – Foundation Scholarship
Elyanna Calle – Foundation Scholarship
Morgan Cromartie – Foundation Scholarship
Jada Daniels – Jeannette Hostetter Ford Memorial Scholarship
Lauryn Daniels – Foundation Scholarship
Alexander Dimico – Foundation Scholarship
Riley Gonzalez – James Koval Memorial Scholarship
Madison Hamilton – Foundation Scholarship
An Ho – Foundation Scholarship
Jasmine Matchawate – Foundation Scholarship
Jordan Moldenhauer – American Workforce Scholarship
Collin Moore – Lewis R. & Edna C. Hawthorne Scholarship
Mackenzie Phan – Lewis R. & Edna C. Hawthorne Scholarship
Isaac Quiocho – Dr. Roy Pedersen Memorial Scholarship
Michael Rogers – Foundation Scholarship
Ian Teodoro – Nicholas T. Walker Scholarship
Isaiah Utto – Galarneau – Dr. G. Sue Shannon Scholarship
Dominique Wolf – Charles E. Callahan Education Scholarship

North Thurston High School 
Thomas Arend – Foundation Scholarship
Lochla Glass – Foundation Scholarship
Samantha Harding – Foundation Scholarship
Nia Harris – Foundation Scholarship
Payton Huss – Alex Ward Memorial Scholarship
Hayden Kosmider – Foundation Scholarship
Daniella LeBlanc-Debruler – Lewis R. Hawthorne & Edna C. Hawthorne Scholarship
Jacob Olson – Foundation Scholarship
Carianna Plascencia – Foundation Scholarship
Kyle Shimabukuro – Lewis R. Hawthorne & Edna C. Hawthorne Scholarship
McKenzie Squires – Foundation Scholarship
Madison Vu – John Gott Education Scholarship
Emma Waldon – Foundation Scholarship

River Ridge High School 
Bridgette Byerly – Foundation Scholarship
Willa Eisel – Foundation Scholarship
Jacie Fabela – Colton Thorstrom Smith Scholarship
Eli Francom – Foundation Scholarship
Madison Mercado – Lisa Corwin Memorial Scholarship

Congratulations, students! Great work and we wish you the best of luck in the future!

North Thurston Education Foundation Awards $136,000 in Scholarships to 41 Students!

The North Thurston Education Foundation has awarded scholarships with a total value of $136,000 to 41 graduating seniors from North Thurston Public Schools.

“It was a challenging year for the graduating class of 2020 in many respects. Application procedures were changed based on school closures and students were required to submit their applications by mail,” said Cathy Callahan, Foundation Scholarship Chair.  “Due to the high quality of the 52 applications the Foundation received, the selection process was difficult. After careful consideration, the scholarship committee was pleased to award scholarships to 41 students who will be attending community colleges and colleges and universities across the country.”

Scholarships awarded range from $2,000 to $10,000. Applications were evaluated on a number of factors including academic achievement, school and community activities, references, quality of the required essay and financial need.

The following graduating seniors received this year’s awards:

 North Thurston High School: Thomas Arend, Lochla Glass, Samantha Harding, Nia Harris, Payton Huss, Hayden Kosmider, Daniella LeBlanc-Debruler, Jacob Olson, Carianna Plascencia, Kyle Shimabukuro, McKenzie Squires, Madison Vu and Emma Waldon

Timberline High School: Maria Jelaine Barretto, McKenzie Bowers, Arianna Bush, Elyanna Calle, Morgan Cromartie, Jada Daniels, Lauryn Daniels, Alexander Dimico, Riley Gonzalez, Madison Hamilton, An Ho, Jasmine Matchawate, Jordan Moldenhauer, Collin Moore, Mackenzie Phan, Isaac Quiocho, Michael Rogers, Ian Teodoro, Isaiah Utto-Galarneau, Dominique Wolf and Grace Zhang

River Ridge High School: Bridgette Byerly, Willa Eisel, Jacie Fabela, Eli Francom, Madison Mercado, Julian Ruatos and Samuel Taylor

Sixteen of the scholarships are named after individuals in the community and funded by bequests from or donations on behalf of the persons for whom they are named. The remaining scholarships were funded solely by the Foundation’s annual fund-raising and by an unrestricted grant from the Dawkins Charitable Trust.

Congratulations Seniors and Best Wishes!

North Thurston Public Schools’ Family & Youth Resource Center is a Hub of Compassion in Action!

When North Thurston Public Schools  (NTPS) began operating the Family & Youth Resource Center (FYR Center) last August, its leaders and staff had no idea it would become a vital logistical hub for youth and families negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis just six months later.

COVID-19 and the economic contraction it triggered have compromised the income security of countless Thurston County families. As parents facing layoffs scramble to cover the cost of housing, food and everyday living supplies, NTPS has worked quickly to organize enhancements to its already robust network of support services. “We’re seeing people we’ve never seen before,” says Leslie Van Leishout, director of student support. “These are people that don’t know how to navigate support systems because they’ve never had to.”

These resource center pickups are made possible by a cooperative web of local nonprofit organizations. Van Leishout and other district leaders emphasize that the financial support provided by the North Thurston Education Foundation (NTEF) is critical to their work. “We literally could not give out everything we’re distributing without the Education Foundation,” says Van Leishout. Funds from NTEF are used to supplement the supply of food and necessities donated by other community organizations. This school year so far, NTEF has invested about $36,000 in the work at the FYR Center, including support specifically for homeless youth.

Read the full Thurston Talk article HERE

*Photo Courtesy North Thurston Public Schools