Anchorage Running Club 2010 Scholarships
Article by Bonnie Swanson
The Anchorage Running Club's scholarship chair, Bonnie Swanson, recently heard from one of our 2010 scholarship recipients, Moyo Ajayi. Here is what she has to report:
Aroyo's academic courses include swimming, Masterpieces of European Literature-Philosophy, University Writing, General Chemistry, Calculus1, and Masterpieces of Western Music. He has gone hiking in the Catskills, attended a performance of “Carmen” at the Metropolitan Opera House, is active in a premedical society, and is mentoring a high school junior who is also interested in becoming a physician. He has started rowing, and reports that it helps him to stay focused and budget his time, the same as running did.
Aroyo said that he cannot “thank you” enough for helping him financially, and for believing in his ability to succeed and that he hopes “...the next class of recipients benefits from (ARC’s) contribution just as, or even more, than I have this past semester.”Thank YOU Moyo for taking the time to write, and you can be sure that the Club wishes you the best in your future endeavors
Anchorage Running Club’s Scholarship Committee met on March 24th and selected three high school runners from eleven applicants who will each receive a $1500 scholarship next year. The criteria for selection include evidence of academic success, at least 2 years of involvement with either cross country running and/or track, some sort of community service, and to some degree, financial need. In 2009 the Committee added an essay on “what running means to me” to the application in an effort to flesh out each applicants commitment to the activity. Over the years the Committee has been impressed by the quality of the applicants, and 2010 was no exception.
Theo (Trey) Chenier attends West High School. He has high SAT scores and GPA (3.8), has volunteered over 50 hours/year at various community events, including races, and will need financial assistance as his high ambitions have led him to apply to some of the most competitive, and thus more expensive, colleges in the country. Trey not only was a member of both the cross country and track team for all four years of high school, but was elected team captain for both. The most inspiring aspect of Trey however is that he succeeds, both academically and in sports, despite being legally blind; both his coaches and Trey describe multiple instances where he fell while competing during events, and he admits that it takes him three times as long to read school material as it takes a normally sighted person. Yet he has not let his disability hold him back, but in the words of his coach, “has learned to compensate for his limited vision with hard work, grit, and guts”. His determination and persistence are inspirations to all of us.
Susan Bick, a senior at Bartlett, is an avid athlete and runner. Although she began running in middle school, she did not push herself at first, and began high school absolutely at the back of the pack. However, somehow over the years of high school her passion for and dedication to running grew, and she decided to push herself. She began to train more seriously, expanding both time and intensity to her workouts. The payoff was obvious; during her senior year, Susan’s running coach described her as “consistently one of the best runners in the state of Alaska”, culminating in a third place rank in State and being voted “Most Valuable Player” by her teammates. She recently was offered an athletic scholarship to run for the University of Alaska, Anchorage. She is both active in school and the Anchorage community. Her academic record, while not stellar, is solid, and her GPA of 3.6 despite average SAT scores offers further evidence of her willingness to work hard to succeed. Susan’s essay describing her higher than average need for financial aid, along with strong letters of recommendation by her coaches and counselors convinced the Committee to support her desire to make a better life for herself by bestowing a scholarship.
The third scholarship recipient is , a senior at East High School, who has a history of running since junior high school, when he excelled in track and field, and received 2 first place district titles. However, he admits he did not learn the true joy of running until he joined the cross-country team in high school. He admits that he’s never won a race in cross-country, and is rarely close to the front. Yet Moyo has learned to enjoy running as “a journey towards (his) academic goals”, and “use (his) senses to soak in the surroundings”. He describes how practice became an escape, a way of relaxing, and helped him learn to pace his academic endeavors the way he learned to pace his athletic ones. Moyo also has an exemplary record of community service, including working at the Food Bank of Alaska monthly, coaching soccer for the Alaska Rush Youth Academy, delivering Thanksgiving dinners, tutoring at Math Camp for the last 2 years, heading the “Day of Caring Food Drive”, and the Angel Tree (toy) and winter food drive last year. He excels academically as well, ranking third in his class of over 500 with a GPA of 4.08.
Because the Big Wild Life Runs, as ARC’s biggest fundraiser of the year, provides the bulk of the monies for these scholarships, all three scholars have agreed to attend the pre-start festivities on that day. Please look for them on August 15, 2010, either at the start, or possibly running alongside you during one of the races! As Anchorage Running Club members, we should all be proud to be able to help support these exceptional young people.