Puyallup community invests in students with annual scholarships
Puyallup community invests in students with annual scholarships
Posted on 06/12/2017
kerry sawyerThe generosity of local service clubs, foundations, and individuals has made it possible for hundreds of graduating seniors to further their education each year after high school.

The list of contributors is long, and many have spent the past several decades or more helping students pursue their dreams at vocational, technical, two-year, and four-year colleges or universities.

No matter what the dollar amount, students are quick to offer their gratitude. Each scholarship is significant, they say, and in some cases can make or break whether or not they will be able to afford post-secondary education.

For some, the award pays for a chunk of their tuition. For others, it pays for books or supplies. Most important, students say, is the feeling of satisfaction they get from having received such an honor.

The Puyallup Schools Foundation awarded more than $149,250 to more than 90 graduating seniors in the class of 2016. This year, the Foundation expects to award another $157,500 worth of scholarships to 92 students.

Other major scholarship contributors include the Washington State Fair Foundation, as well as area service clubs and civic groups such as Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, Eagles, and Elks.

This year, for example, the Washington State Fair Foundation will award a total of $27,750 to 11 Puyallup School District seniors. The award total was $28,500 distributed to 15 recipients in 2016.

The Kiwanis Club of Puyallup, which has given out scholarships for several decades, will award over $16,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors in the class of 2017. The local Daffodil Valley Kiwanis Club and Kiwanis Club of Puyallup Sunrisers also sponsor several annual scholarships.

Another long-time supporter of schools, the Puyallup South Hill Rotary Club, will award a total of $9,000 in scholarships this year. Additionally, the club set up an endowment at Pierce College to fund a $1,000 scholarship for a student already enrolled there who is selected by the college.

Parent teacher associations and booster clubs from schools throughout the district are also strong supporters of annual scholarships, as are Philanthropic and Educational Organization (P.E.O.) chapters, Altrusa International of Puyallup Valley, the Puyallup Education Association, area businesses, and a host of individual donors.

Many individual donors have set up trusts in memory of family members who lived and often worked in the Puyallup School District.

Some of the awards are merit-based, while others seek to help students with financial need.

Beginning with the 2017 graduating class a new scholarship program was instituted by Kerry Sawyer, owner of Toyota of Puyallup (pictured above). Sawyer has chosen to annually honor Puyallup students with four financial scholarships – one for each of the districts high schools including Emerald Ridge, Puyallup, Rogers, and Walker.

The Toyota of Puyallup A.V.I.D. Inspirational Scholarship recognizes students who inspire others through their leadership and strength of character. 

Advancement Via Individual Determiniation (A.V.I.D.) is a secondary elective class designed for all students. The purpose of this scholarship is to reward A.V.I.D. students who demonstrate personal and community responsibility and will use those qualities to inspire others.

Two thousand dollars have been awarded at each high school for a total of $8,000 of support for Puyallup students.

Recently, students were made aware of their scholarship during awards ceremonies. Students earning the Toyota of Puyallup A.V.I.D. Inspirational Scholarship include:
Brianna Armenta, Rogers HS
Sandra Diaz, Emerald Ridge HS
Marguarita Daisy Gonzales, Puyallup HS (pictured above)
Liadela Valencia-Moran, Walker HS

At their meeting on June 19, at Edgemont Junior High, beginning at 6 p.m. members of the Puyallup School District Board of Directors will thank Ms. Sawyer and her family for the generous support of Puyallup students.