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BHS students can ‘pay it forward’ for their education

Alma-May Magday - Photo by Steven DeDual
Alma-May Magday
— image credit: Photo by Steven DeDual

With one of the lowest graduation rates and one of the highest free/reduced-lunch rates in the state, Bremerton High School (BHS) students have not had the same scholarship opportunities other students in the state have enjoyed, until now.

Randall Start, a former teacher and president of the Bremerton High School (BHS) Pay It Forward (PIF) scholarship program, said the PIF scholarship is designed to give students who may not have the resources or family background of college a chance to go.

“We are a nonprofit independent of BHS, but existing solely for the purpose of providing a special scholarship to BHS grads,” she said. “There are a lot of kids who are in the 2.5 to 3.5 gpa range where there aren’t a lot of scholarships available to them,” she said. “And if you look at the big picture, which I am able to do at my age now, the movers and shakers of my graduating class, a lot of them didn’t amount to anything. They fizzled out. They peaked at 18. I think it is really unrealistic to only reward those that have a 4.0. There are a lot of people who have heart, desire and motivation, and they deserve an equal chance to go to college.”

The scholarship began last year and the program awarded that money to Kris Evron-Matro, who is starting her sophomore year at Olympic College (OC) en route to her nursing degree. This year’s recipient also has been chosen.

“We just gave our 2009 scholarship to Alma-May Magday, a soon-to-graduate student who will be going to Eastern Washington University in the fall to pursue a career as a dental hygienist,” Start added.

Although this is a scholarship, not a loan, it is not like standard scholarships which have been given away in the past.

“Our scholarship is unique in many ways,” Start said. “First of all, 95 to 96 percent of the money we collect goes straight to the scholarship fund. Also, applicants must have a gpa of 2.5 or above, be among the first in their family to attend college, be low income and be willing to ‘pay it forward,’ as in the book or movie, by doing at least three acts of community service.”

The scholarship is a total of $10,000, payable in four yearly amounts of $2,500.

This year, the program is hosting its first-ever “Run It Forward Bridge 2 Bridge 5K run/walk” June 27 to help raise money for the scholarship.

“The run begins and ends at Evergreen Park with the course crossing both the Warren Avenue and Manette bridges,” she said. “The Manette Bridge will be demolished in 2010, so this is a good opportunity for people to get out there and cross it now.”

Pre-registration is $15 and anyone who registers prior to June 15 will receive a fluorescent-yellow T-shirt.

“We are really pushing this 15 by the 15th,” Start added.

Day of Race registration is $18, but T-shirts will not be available at that time. Registration forms can be downloaded from the PIF Web site.

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