Alice Van Gunten and local students recognized for volunteer efforts
By Lailani Upham
High School graduate Alice Van Gunten receives prestigious Gates
Millennium full-ride scholarship to Washington State University in
Pullman, Wash. (Courtesy photo)
RONAN — Young leaders of America are being fostered right here in
the Mission Valley through serving and donating hundreds of hours of
time and energy to more than a few organizations throughout the area,
according to recent release from the United Way Volunteer Center.
United Way is honoring two high school graduates and one college student from the Flathead Reservation boundaries.
High School 2011 graduate Alice Van Gunten, a CSKT tribal member, who
gave more than 125 community service hours to number of locally-based
Van Gunten donated time to organizations such as: the National
Honor Society volunteer projects, Ronan High School Student Council,
Health Occupation Students of America, Peer Mediation, Big Brothers/Big
Sisters, The Boys and Girls Club, Little Dribblers and leadership roles
within her own athletic activities.
Polson High School 2011 graduate Sarah Devlin, donated more
than 275 community service hours in the Polson area, including Life
Savers Animal Rescue, Key Club, National Honor Society volunteer
projects and serving as a soccer coach for the Polson Youth Soccer
Salish Kootenai College pre-nursing student Jeanette
Hungerford, offered more than 800 hours of community service in the
Lake County area. Hungerford included much of her off-class time to the
Polson and Ronan Little Dribblers, Ronan High School boys' basketball,
Highway Cleanup and the St. Luke's Community Healthcare.
Van Guten is not only honored along with Flathead local peers
through outstanding volunteer efforts in the community through the
United Way; she is also a Gates Millennium Scholar recipient.
Guten plans on attending Washington State University this fall. "My
decision to attend Washington State University was finalized when I
recently attended two days of summer orientation. It was two full days
of workshops on how to adjust to college life, living options, student
involvement, community fairs and academic success. It was a lot to take
in. To say the least, it was an experience for me and my mother. As
soon as we arrived there were so many students and parents, it was
overwhelming. After the first day, I found out that there were 4,000
freshmen who were enrolling or transferring to WSU. By the end of
orientation, I left singing the school song, a goodbye from the
counselors, my Cougar Card in my hand, and was registered for my first
semester of classes," Van Gunten explained.
GMS, a highly
competitive scholarship selects 1,000 talented students across the
nation each year to receive a good-through-graduation scholarship to
use at any college or university of their choice.
Van Gunten said not long after her orientation trip she got
word from the GMS scholarship officials indicating she was awarded.
"They wanted me to go on-line and reject any loans to cover my cost of
attendance. They said I do not need to accept any of these loans if I
wanted the GMS scholarship to cover my unmet needs. My Mom just smiled
at me and said, 'yes!'"
"When I receive emails from Gates I just smile. I really
haven't completely comprehended what this scholarship will do for me,
but what I hear from everyone, this is pretty darn great! As I grow
older I will fully understand what an opportunity this has allowed me,"
van Gunten added.
GMS also provides their scholars with personal and professional
development through leadership programs and makes available academic
support throughout the student's college careers. "One of the first
things they wanted me to do was register with the Gates Millennium
Scholars site, it gives lots of features, discussions, events, lets you
set goals and wants you to get connected with other students. I found
out that I get to attend a leadership conference this fall in Los
Angeles. It provides orientation for new Scholars and a chance for
Alumni, mentors and freshman Scholars to engage about everything from
navigating a college campus to the four Rs that are the pillars of the
GMS Program: Rigor, Relevance, Responsibility and Relationships."
The scholarship has been around since 1999 and was initially
funded by a $1 billion grant from Bill and Melinda Gates to provide an
opportunity to African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian
Pacific Islander American, and Hispanic American students with high
academic promise and have a financial need. The Gates scholarship is
designed to increase the representation of these groups in the computer
science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public
health and science disciplines.
"It's going to be hard figuring out how much money I'll have to
budget per month so I don't go broke, but I need to make sure I have
enough money for any activities, and you know and foo foo stuff, well
that's what my Dad says anyway," Van Gunten expressed.
The target is to diversify the future leaders of America
through making sure successful completion of bachelor's, master's and
doctoral degrees are reached. "They encourage campus clubs and
organizations because they serve as introductions to people who share
my background and experiences and diverse people and cultures. They say
students who get involved in campus activities earn better grades," Van
Gunten said. "I'm going to get involved in intramurals. I love playing
volleyball," she added.
"There is so much to do to get ready for school, so much to get
and so little time. But, I am ready to see what lies in front of me, I
am excited and yet a bit scared, but I know I can do this."
Van Gunten begins her fall quarter on August 22.