Story last updated at 6/6/2012 - 2:11 pm
Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) has awarded almost $410,000 in scholarships to Sealaska shareholders and descendants and given a leadership award from a separate endowment to a student pursuing her master's degree.
The awards, funded mostly by Sealaska, will help students pursuing graduate and undergraduate degrees and vocational-tech training for the 2012-2013 school year. A portion also will fund language and culture studies.
The scholarships for university and vo-tech studies went to 327 Alaska Natives, and another 140 students are expected to participate in the institute's language and culture workshops, said Rosita Worl, president of SHI, which administers the scholarship program for Sealaska.
"These awards are based on merit and class standing," Worl said. "So, it's an accomplishment just to receive a Sealaska scholarship, and our recipients should be very proud of themselves."
SHI also made the third-ever Judson L. Brown Leadership Award from an endowment established in 2006 by a $100,000 donation from Chris and Mary McNeil. The award was named after Chris McNeil's uncle, the late Tlingit leader Judson Lawrence Brown, who was a forceful advocate for education and leadership development. The award supports college education and leadership development of Sealaska shareholders and their descendants.
That award of $5,000 was given to Tory Shultz, who is pursuing a master's degree in special education with an emphasis in early childhood. Tory (Giidaa King Gwaan) is Haida of the Eagle moiety, Frog house in Ketchikan. She has been a teacher since 2010 and has been involved in a multitude of school-wide and cultural activities. She has served as a basketball coach, tutor, and advisor for the Future Educators of Alaska club. She also opened her home for a mentorship program and helped coordinate healthy living activities and fundraisers. After receiving her master's degree, she plans to become a special education teacher in Ketchikan.