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Pay it Forward awards first scholarship

Randall Start, a teacher at Naval Avenue Elementary School, launched the “Pay it Forward” scholarship in hopes of making college a reality for at least one Bremerton High School student.

That reality finally came true as Evron Matro, a senior at BHS, became the scholarship’s first recipient.

“I’m so glad that I won the Pay it Forward scholarship,” Matro, originally from the Philippines, said Wednesday. “It will help me so much.”

The Pay it Forward scholarship is designed to help low-income students, who come from traditionally non-college families, fund a college education.

Matro will receive $10,000 for college funds — $2,500 a year for four years — to help pay for college expenses.

In return, Matro will follow the crux of the scholarship — to “pay it forward” — by volunteering in the community she lives.

“There are a lot of things in my mind,” Matro, who plans to join Habitat for Humanity, said of how she will pay it forward. “I’m willing to do everything.”

Matro learned about the scholarship through an Advanced Via Individual Determination (AVID) class.

“I became so interested,” she said. “When I found out it was exclusive to Bremerton, I was like, ‘Wow.’”

Submitting letters of recommendation, her transcript and an essay, Matro proved exactly to be exactly the type of student for whom the Pay it Forward Scholarship Committee was looking.

“Evron went the extra mile, which is exactly the type of person we’re looking for,” Start said. “We think she’s a great representative.”

With a few weeks to decide where she will attend college, Matro knows exactly what type of program she is looking for.

“My passion is really to be a nurse,” she said. “I want to go to college and finish, become a (registered) nurse and help people.”

Start said she hopes the scholarship gains more popularity, the long-term goal to send five students, on $20,000, to college every year.

“I don’t think going to college should be an economic discriminator,” Start said. “This is the right thing to do.”

More information about Pay it Forward is available online at the Pay it Forward Web site: www.bhspayitforward.org.

Donations should be made payable to “Pay it Forward Scholarship” and be mailed to P.O. Box 5317, Bremerton, WA 98312.

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