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Anchorage Running Club 2011 Scholarships
Article by Bonnie Swanson

Rose Hanson is a student at Service High School. With a weighted GPA of 4.20, she ranks 2nd in her class of 413 students. She has been running with the Service cross country team since 2009. During her final season she was voted co-captain of the the nationally ranked running team. She has also participated in several community races both as a runner and as a volunteer, including ARC's Big Wildlife Runs. When not running and attending school she is involved with multiple community projects organized through her church. She is also a member of Service High's chapter of the National Honor Society where she serves as treasurer. Her coach spoke of her amazing “drive, efforts, leadership, and dedication.”  Those exceptional qualities were recognized this past year when she received the one varsity letter that is given to a runner not for speed and running ability but rather for their ability to lead and inspire others. Rose loves to run, and stated in her essay that, “one of my qualifications for a college is that it has running trails, because I need to run outdoors to be happy."

Rebecca Wolfe attended East High School where her weighted GPA of 4.12 placed her at number four in her class of 484 students. She ran for her school’s cross country team for 4 years, and was selected team Captain during her senior year. Her counselor’s letter of recommendation was glowing, particularly with regard to her commitment to our community. Rebecca spent hours working at “Kids Kitchen” and Beans Cafe, and, as president of East High’s “School Within a School” program, encouraged her fellow students to become more involved with community service projects. Her counselor attributes the significant increase in applications to the SWS program over the past year to Rebecca’s leadership. The letter of recommendation from her coach was equally complimentary; he described several specific instances where Rebecca planned and organized activities for the team which resulted in increased team cohesiveness. He states emphatically that she is absolutely dedicated to the team and the sport of running. 

Silas Talbot attends Service High School, has a weighted GPA of 4.08, extremely high SAT scores, and has already been admitted to Dartmouth where he plans to major in engineering. Silas has been a serious runner since he was in 7th grade. His running abilities are stellar--selected for cross country running team captain, Region 4 champion 5K for large schools and record holder for course, selected ‘Most Valuable Player” for the past two years, and has placed well in several mountain and road races. He is a gifted athlete in other areas as well--besides winning multiple awards and honors for his cross country skiing abilities, he also participates in soccer, and enjoys camping, hiking, kayaking, and the Yoga Club.  He is the president, and co-founder of Service’s Recycling Club, and has spent over 200 hours planning and participating in that effort since 2007. In addition, he volunteered over 100 hours as teacher’s aide for Special Ed at Trailside Elementary, has taken two service trips to Guatemala, and has volunteered at several local races. He attributes his drive for excellence to the memory of his mother, who died two years ago; she not only encouraged his passion for sports, but taught him that he could do anything he wanted with hard work.

runner pictureBenjamin Wheatall’s application also exemplified what the Committee looks for in an applicant. His GPA is 4.06, his rank in class is 12/413, and his letters of recommendation were effusive regarding his academic abilities, his character and his involvement with running and the community. Ben plans to become an engineer and participate in “Engineers Without Borders” in order to use his skills to help those less fortunate. His enthusiasm for running, a healthy lifestyle, and community service shone throughout his application. He began running for his high school as a freshman, and would like to continue his running career by participating on a college level. He is also training for his first marathon this year. He volunteers for an impressive array of service projects around town, including Spring Clean-up by both the Arctic Bicycle Club and the Alaska Triathlon Club, setting and sweeping the courses for the Tuesday night Race Series, and has helped at several other events including the Gold Nugget Triathlon, the Ski for Women, and the Ski for Kids. He also volunteers for the Covenant House and for his church. If all that weren’t enough evidence for his commitment to our community, he also spent countless hours as a co-founder of “BLAK”,an  ongoing service project that seeks to create computer software in order to aid emergency responders and improve rescue response on Anchorage’s trails. He too loves to run outside, stating, “It is the lure of the wilderness that calls us to leave the secure, banality of our house and venture into the woods”.


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