The Nooksack Valley School principal Matt Galley sent this information about the district's 2014 Graduates of Distinction honorees:
The Graduates of Distinction program began in 2004 as a way to honor past graduates for their outstanding service or achievement. Since then 24 wonderful graduates have been recognized. This year, Nooksack Valley is proud to add Stephen A. Jones, class of 1970, and Esther (Struiksma) Neufeld, class of 1969, to the list of distinguished graduates.
Jones has been a successful banker in the community since 1976. His vast community service models true stewardship to a community. He has been involved with 12 local service or civic organizations since 1977. He has spent the last 25 years on the Nooksack Valley school board, serving as alternating chairman. He was instrumental in establishing a "Dollars for Scholars" program at Nooksack Valley. Under his guidance, graduating seniors receive upwards of $80,000 a year to fund their post-secondary goals. In addition, he currently serves as a member and treasurer of the Opportunity Council and Whatcom County Economic Development Investment Board. Overall, the selection committee felt that he epitomizes community service in striving to make Nooksack Valley, and Whatcom County a great place to live, do business, and attend school.
Neufeld has devoted her life to the betterment of the less fortunate as a missionary in Togo, West Africa. Over her time, she helped women and children become advocates for themselves by supporting orphanages, schools for the blind, and single mothers by providing work. She organized a sewing school for orphans to provide training for young women who would have otherwise been "married off," or worse. Overall, the selection committee felt Neufeld's service to humanity provided a great example of what one can do in service of a community other than one's own.
The Bellingham Public Library and the Whatcom Community Foundation announced this spring that the Bellingham Public Library Endowment Fund has grown by more than $35,000 over the past year thanks to two bequests.
Katie Bray, public services librarian, said the estate of Norah Brusven left $17,830 to the library as an unrestricted gift and an anonymous donor left $18,000. The board of trustees decided to add the gifts to the library's endowment fund at the Whatcom Community Foundation.
STEM STUDENTS RECOGNIZED
Helene Berg-Kolin of the Bellingham branch of the American Association of University Women shared that 33 students from 12 Whatcom County high schools honored by the group in May for excellence in science, technology and math.
They are, from Bellingham High School, Julia Latimer, science; Sadie Steele, technology; Mo Dole, math; from Sehome, Jessa Clark, science; Sarah Welsh, technology; Dorothy Linneman, math; from Squalicum, Sarah Byron, science; Cora Peterson, technology; Abigail VonFeldt, math; from St. Paul's Academy, Yihan Amanda Chen, science; from Blaine, Athena Johnson, science; Hillary Kiele, technology; Alexandra Greguski, math; from Ferndale, Rajvir Kular, science; Amber Degenstein, technology; Ashleigh Seaton, math; from Windward, Lisa O'Dell, science; Serena Bowen, technology; Eireann Carter, math; from Lynden, Shaina James, science; Kelsey Hewson, technology; Julianne McKay, math; from Lynden Christian, Annika Filuk, science; Mindy Honcoop, math; from Meridian, Kami Geleynse, science; Katie Sue Edmonds, technology; Makayla Martin, math; from Mount Baker, Jordan Fleming, science; Kitty Zuniga, technology; Callie Zender, math; and from Nooksack Valley, Avery Tenkley, science; Abigail Steele, technology; Megan Compton, math.
COLLEGE PRESIDENT HONORED
Whatcom Community College President Kathi Hiyane-Brown received the 2014 Chief Executive Officer Award at the June Trustees Association of Community and Technical Colleges annual meeting in Yakima, according to a press release.
The award recognizes her dedication to student achievement and her focus on offering innovative academic and professional-technical programs that prepare students to successfully transfer to four-year schools and to excel in their careers. Among her accomplishments, supporters noted her ability to engage with partners to advance goals, her focus on campus diversity, and the development of professional development programs for faculty and staff.
MASONS GIVE SCHOLARSHIPS
Whatcom County high school students received college scholarships totaling $9,000 at the 48th annual Masonic public school recognition program presented by the Masons of the five Whatcom County lodges in April, according to Ken Gass, president of the Masonic Education Council of Whatcom County.
Julia DeVere and Timothy Lann, both from Squalicum High School, each won $1,500 scholarships. Trisha Snydar from Lynden High School, a junior scholarship winner in last year's program, was awarded $2,000 as the top senior girl in the state Masonic Scholarship competition.
PYLES WINS MERIT SCHOLARSHIP
Grace Pyles, daughter of James Pyles and Barbara Davis-Pyles of Everson, was named a 2014 National Merit Scholarship Winner. James writes that Grace is completing high school and an associates degree through the Running Start Program at Whatcom Community College. The school believes she may be the first Running Start student there to be a National Merit Scholar. She will attend Whitman College in Walla Walla in the fall.
Out and About is published Mondays in The Bellingham Herald. Reach Executive Editor Julie Shirley at email@example.com or 360-715-2261.