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Seattle Foundation Celebrates 2017 Scholarship Recipients

Seattle Foundation hosted a celebration to recognize our 2017 scholarship recipients on June 1 


June 02, 2017

After a detailed application process, 280 students from around the state were awarded scholarships in varying amounts, for a total investment of $1.5 million by Seattle Foundation philanthropists. A record number of 1,500 scholars applied to the 35 various Seattle Foundation scholarship funds.

Students and their families and friends traveled from all over Washington to enjoy a celebration featuring a jazz quartet from the Garfield High School Jazz Band, catered food by Project Feast and inspirational speakers.

Seattle Foundation President and CEO Tony Mestres congratulated the scholars and said they would become future leaders in our community. “We’re just very, very honored to be participating in your journey and to be working with the philanthropists who’ve been incredible to support that journey,” he said.

Philanthropic advisor Stephen Robinson, who manages the scholarship program for Seattle Foundation, addressed the scholars about the importance of education as a way of cultivating resiliency in today’s world.

“I’ve spent many hours over the course of the last six months reading through applications, meeting with committees to talk about you and finally, deciding that in our most competitive year to date, that you were the right person for your scholarship,” Robinson told them.

Loren Smith said the theme that emerged for applicants to the Nora Stone Smith Scholarship, founded in honor of her mother, was the quality of compassion. Smith shared the stories of several applicants who had fled their home countries and were living here undocumented, but showed deep compassion and empathy for others despite hardships and challenges in their own lives. The Nora Stone Smith Scholarship was awarded to 31 students who have spent time in an English Language Learner (ELL) class at some point.

Hugo Pontes, recipient of the 2016 Doug Struthers Memorial Scholarship, spoke of challenges transitioning from high school to college at the University of Washington. Born in Brazil, Pontes moved to Spain at age two and then America at age 14. For Pontes, these moves and the experience of being an outsider in a new country shaped his approach to make friends and find a community and support system in college.

"Let me tell you, [college] is as hard as they say...but at the end of the day, if you're doing what you love, your work just turns into your passion," he said.

The celebration ended with the recipients receiving their scholarship certificates to the clapping and cheering of their families and friends.

We congratulate these exemplary 2017 scholarship recipients and wish them every success in higher education and beyond.

To learn more about Seattle Foundation’s scholarship program, please contact Philanthropic Advisor Stephen Robinson

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