By Emily Fitzgerald / [email protected]
Staff at Jester’s Auto Museum & Event Center had to roll out extra tables Monday afternoon to accommodate the many family and community members who gathered to celebrate local scholarship recipients and the top 25 graduating seniors from Centralia High School and WF West High School.
The seniors were each asked to introduce themselves to the crowd at the 2022 Rob Fuller Top 25 Scholarship Luncheon and briefly share their post-graduation plans, which ranged from pursuing a degree in a science, technology, engineering or math-related fields at the University of Washington to take a gap year to travel or serve a church mission, playing basketball at Centralia College and working at a tattoo shop while studying art.
“This is a great time of the year to celebrate a great time of your life when you’re making lots of plans and getting ready for change,” said Centralia College President Bob Mohrbacher during his keynote address at Monday’s event.
Mohrbacher — who recounted his college experience getting kicked out of the Library of Congress — encouraged the graduating seniors to “plan on being surprised” and to not get hung up on plans that don’t turn out the way they expect.
“Say ‘yes’ to opportunities that come along to you,” he said, adding encouragement for the seniors to stay curious and continue learning new things.
Mohrbacher ended his address by advising students that they’re always welcome at Centralia College.
“If we can help you out with anything, just come knock on our door and we’re happy to see you,” he said.
The luncheon was hosted by the Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce and featured a variety of giveaways — including gift cards from local coffee and fast food businesses and treats from Lewis County Coffee Company and Lucky n Lawless Bakery — and raffle items donated by Walmart for students.
Below are lists of the top 25 students from Centralia and WF West high schools.
Centralia High School
Riley Babka, Athens Corona-Garcia, Trinity Dawson, Annarazelle Garcia, Asia Gardner, Lilly Gress, Jadyn Hawley, Elizabeth Hopkins, Landon Kaut, Annabelle Lewis, Jennifer Lopez, Isabella Martinez, Steven Neely, Leslie Nehls, Lucy Nowicki, Ella Orr, Victoriano Reyes, Hannah Robbins, Evie Rooklidge, Christopher Rose, Madelyn Sievert, Austin Ulrigg, Nathen Wethington, Natalie Wilkerson, Brandon Yeung, Shelby Zandecki
W. F. West High School
Reese Blinks, Lily Bagley, Wesley Bowers, Joseph Chung, Kaylynne Dowling, Amelia Etue, Abigail Finley, Xavier Flores, Emma Greene, Accadia Hazlett, Elaina Koenig, Claire Kuykendall, Logan Moore, Myah O’Neill, Jocelyn Robertson, Cassandra Sanchez- Franco, Ian Schow, Taylor Shipp, Kambriah Simper, Carissa Smith, Mimi Tien, Audrey Toynbee, Mason Walters, Elsa Wearner, Anna White
In addition to honor the graduating seniors, the Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce formally awarded approximately $15,000 in scholarships during Monday’s luncheon.
The names of the scholarships and the students who received them are below:
• Rainier Connect STEM Scholarship: Austin Ulrigg, Centralia High School
The $1,000 scholarship was awarded to Ulrigg based on his educational experience with STEM, according to Amanda Singleton, who presented the scholarship.
Ulrigg plans to major in mathematics at the University of Washington with the goal of becoming a college professor.
• Centralia Community Foundation Education Scholarship: Evie Rooklidge, Centralia High School
Rooklidge’s strong application, her exceptional academic record and her commitment to community work were reasons why she was chosen to receive the $1,000 scholarship, said Larry McGee, who presented the scholarship. Rooklidge plans to attend Corban University to pursue a degree in secondary education with an endorsement in teaching English to speakers of other languages (ESOL).
• Visiting Nurses Foundation Scholarship: Annarazelle Garcia, Centralia High School
Garcia plans to attend Evergreen State College with the goal of becoming a genetic oncologist.
“We want to be part of that journey for you so here’s a $1,000 scholarship. We’re really excited to see what you do and just help to support your dreams. So thank you for having ambitious goals and good luck,” said Jackie Jones, executive director and the Visiting Nurse Association, who presented the scholarship to Garcia on Monday.
• TwinStar Credit Union Business Leader of Tomorrow Scholarship: Taylor Shipp, WF West
Shipp’s commitment to stepping up to tutor his peers during the COVID-19 pandemic while maintaining a high GPA and working a part-time job were reasons why TwinStar awarded Shipp the $1,000 scholarship, according to Shane Wood of TwinStar Credit Union.
“This courage and compassion reflects that same drive that we strive for at Twinstar Credit Union,” he said.
Shipp plans to attend the Foster Business School at the University of Washington.
• Althauser Rayan Abbarno, LLP Cheyllyn Collinsworth Scholarship: Evie Rooklidge, Centralia High School
The Cheyllyn Collinsworth Scholarship, which awards a minimum of $500 to a WF West or Centralia student pursuing a teaching career, was created in memory of a former Centralia High School senior and aspiring teacher who died in a car accident shortly after her high school graduation.
“This scholarship goes to another very amazing young woman who is pursuing a career in teaching,” said Rep. Peter Abbarno, who presented the scholarship alongside Cheyllyn’s mother, Deborah Collinsworth.
• Title Guaranty Company of Lewis County Scholarship: Claire Kuykendall, WF West
Kuykendall was selected for this $1,000 scholarship based on her outstanding “citizenship,” according to the Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce. She plans to attend Gonzaga University this fall to study human physiology.
• Olivia Mitchell Scholarship: Alyssa Davis, Adna High School
This $500 scholarship was created in honor of an Adna High School and Running Start student who was set to graduate with both her associate of arts degree and high school diploma when she passed away her senior year.
“Olivia was very involved with the community and she volunteered often; she really, she really loved people, and she was a really good soul. So the student that I’ve chosen for this scholarship she’s also very community-oriented,” said Olivia’s mother, Susie Mitchell, who presented the award to Davis.
“She’s very driven, such an impressive young girl,” said Mitchell of Davis.
Davis intends to attend Centralia College and pursue either forensic criminology or elementary education.
“I’m certain that whatever path she chooses, she will be very successful,” said Mitchell of Davis.
• Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce Rob Fuller Scholarships: Esmeralda Acuna-Gaspar, Kate Alexander, Amelia Etue, Logan Moore, Gideon Priest and Cassandra Sanchez-Franco
These scholarships of up to $1,000 were awarded to seniors at WF West or Centralia High School who are children or grandchildren of current Chamber of Commerce members. The Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce scholarship fund was developed to encourage and promote educational opportunities for children of chamber members. In 2011, the Chamber of Commerce changed the name of the scholarship to honor long-time Lewis County resident, president of Fuller’s Inc. and philanthropist Rob Fuller, who passed away in 2011 from lung cancer.