Story last updated at 8/15/2012 - 1:38 pm
ANCHORAGE - The Alaska Community Foundation recently awarded two Neal Thorpe Memorial Scholarships worth a total of $15,000 to Alaska high schoolgraduates who are the first in their immediate family to attend college.
Desirae Roehl of King Cove will apply her scholarship, worth $7,500, toward a degree in sustainable studies and an associates degree in business at Alaska Pacific University. Roehl graduated from King Cove High School in 1998 and now works for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium in Anchorage.
"It was such a blessing to learn that I was selected as a recipient of the Neal Thorpe Memorial Scholarship," Roehl said. "This generous gift means so much to me and will greatly contribute to the success of my educational journey. I currently work with people from across Alaska, helping to create healthier and more sustainable communities. This is my passion, and I'm confident that completing my degree will result in opportunities for me to contribute even further to the people and communities I work with."
Stacy Halverson of Yakutat, now entering her sophomore year at George Fox University in Oregon, received a Thorpe scholarship in 2011, which was renewed for 2012. A graduate of Mount Edgecumbe High School, Halverson is currently pursuing a degree in social work.
"My ultimate goal is to work with teenagers that come from a background full of adversity. I want to work with the kids that have lost the sense of hope for their future, and to be the support I once needed. I am hoping to show teens that there are other ways to achieve in life regardless of what was handed to them," Halverson said.
The other scholarship recipient from 2011, Jennifer Diep of Anchorage, graduated from Alaska Pacific University this spring with a degree in environmental science. She now works as an environmental scientist at the Bethel Native Corporation and eventually hopes to attend graduate school.
The scholarship was created to honor Neal Thorpe, a trustee and executive director of the Murdock Charitable Trust. He had deep ties to the state andworked to improve the quality of life for Alaskans. Thorpe is remembered as a person of strong faith, deep personal integrity and deep love for his family. He believed we all stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us, and with each day, we have the opportunity to be a blessing to those who will come after us.
The scholarships will be paid directly to the applicants' university for tuition assistance.
Established in 1995, The Alaska Community Foundation has become a statewide platform for philanthropy. The foundation currently holds over $55 million for the benefit of Alaskans, granting approximately $5 million each year to charitable projects and nonprofit organizations across the state. ACF is comprised of more than 280 funds and endowments, including five affiliate community funds, the Alaska Children's Trust, and many others.
ACF's mission is to grow philanthropy and connect people who care with causes that matter. ACF helps individuals, organizations and communities create funds, that - like the Alaska Permanent Fund - provide financial resources to improve the quality of life in Alaska now and forever.