The Association of Washington Cities Center for Quality Communities has announced eight recipients of its 2023 scholarships, including three from Kitsap County.
The eight Washington high school seniors will each receive a $2,500 scholarship for college or trade school this fall and are invited to speak at the AWC Annual Conference in Spokane June 22, a news release states. City officials and staff from each of their communities nominated the students based on leadership skills and dedication to civic service.
AWC CEO Deanna Dawson said: “I often hear from city officials that the pipeline of young people who are choosing a career in civic service is dwindling. We see this scholarship as an opportunity to both help the students complete their education and to build up the future leaders of our communities.”
Since 2012, the CQC scholarship program has awarded 78 scholarships totaling more than $100,000, per the release. Prior recipients have gone on to launch careers in public service, elected office, government, law, finance, STEM, medicine, communications, teaching, public safety, IT and more.
Gigi Hendrickson, Bainbridge Island: Has a passion for public health and believes in the power of teaching, training and empowering people to reach ambitious goals. She has been honored with the Dr. Frank Kitamoto Legacy Award for social justice work. Hendrickson serves as vice president of the Future Health Professionals club and has done pre-med shadowing in the Dominican Republic. Closer to home, she volunteers with the local food bank and cooks for a community meal kitchen. She plans to work as a doctor for a global health organization and advocate to expand healthcare access to all.
Benen Lawler, Poulsbo: As a result of the tragic loss of his mother, Lawler moved to the U.S. during the pandemic and ultimately became 2023 class valedictorian at North Kitsap High School with a 4.0-grade point average. He serves as Associated Student Body class president, is an Honor Society member and received the gold medal in French biliteracy through the Global Seal of Biliteracy. He is captain of the varsity track and football teams and serves as head coach for the middle school flag football team. Lawler likes learning about biology and the human body and is interested in pursuing a career in medicine or athletic training.
Claire Warthen, Bremerton: A field trip to a cultural center in grade school inspired Warthen to learn how governing can help those in need. She has served as class president, Model United Nations secretary general, a state Senate page, and as a member of her state senator’s youth council. Claire has played soccer and golf throughout high school, volunteers as an assistant coach for Kitsap Alliance Soccer Club, and is a Spanish translator for the Bremerton School District. Her honors include the Bausch & Lomb Honorary Science Award and Rotary Youth Leadership Award. Warthen plans to pursue a career in politics or public policy to bring positive change to her hometown.