By Gabrielle Gasser EBS STAFF
BIG SKY – The Lone Peak High School graduating class of 2021 sat in spaced out chairs covering the gym floor while friends and family looked on from the bleachers. The occasion was the 7th annual Friends of Big Sky Education scholarship awards ceremony.
“Given the events of the past year, we are thrilled to be able to hold this ceremony in person,” said Dr. Marlo Mitchem, principal at LPHS.
Dr. Mitchem opened the event with that sentiment and added that this is her favorite time of year because it is time to honor the senior class ahead of their graduation.
“This ceremony is a reminder of the incredible community we are all privileged to be a part of,” Dr. Mitchem said. “A community that values education, individual pursuits, and most importantly, has a generosity of spirit.”
On Friday April 2, 2021 FOBSE awarded 37 scholarships to 22 Lone Peak High School seniors totaling over $70,000 in awarded funds, a number that shows just how generous the Big Sky community is. Of the 22 who applied, all received a scholarship and 11 of the applicants had A averages.
FOBSE is a non-profit entity formed in 2004 with the goal of supporting education in the Big Sky community. As part of its mission, FOBSE fundraised to build Lone Peak High School, aided in starting the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center, and spearheads the scholarship campaign to help fiscally support LPHS seniors in their post-high school endeavors.
There are 39 scholarships available for students to apply to each year and they range in amount from $400 to $6,000. Students are eligible to apply to and be awarded multiple scholarships which are reviewed by the FOBSE scholarship committee.
Anne Marie Mistretta, VP and secretary of FOSBE, said that she was very pleased with all of the applicants this year.
“Hands down this was the best set of applicants, these were the best applications in seven years of this program,” she said. “The students are introspective; they understand themselves and their responsibility to community, they were all phenomenal applications.”
Mistretta spoke at the ceremony following Dr. Mitchem and shared the duty of announcing students and their awards with Whitney Littman, a FOBSE board member.
Each student was called up to the podium along with the sponsor or sponsors of their scholarship and they were all preceded by thoughtful anecdotes and mention of their various accolades. Mistretta and Littman often quoted students’ applications when introducing them and sharing the various answers students provided when asked what they had learned about themselves.
The 22 students all provided thoughtful answers as well as a wide variety of plans for the future. Some are headed to four-year universities to study topics such as architecture, nursing and business. Others are interested in pursuing trades such as becoming a mechanic, learning to pilot helicopters or welding.
Nathan Browne plans to attend Wake Forest University in North Carolina this fall and while he hasn’t chosen a major yet, he is leaning towards business. During his high school career, Browne has been involved in volunteer efforts connected to the Gallatin River and he enjoys golfing and skiing.
Browne is the recipient of the Lee Poole Memorial Scholarship by Moonlight Basin which provides him with $5,000 for his post-grad endeavors.
“Receiving the generous scholarship from Moonlight Community Foundation was an honor,” Browne said. “I feel humbled about my work being recognized and very grateful to be a part of a community that not only recognizes me but supports myself and my classmates.”
He said that the scholarship money will help him to pay for things like textbooks and a computer, and it will give him freedom to participate in extracurriculars he chooses at Wake Forest.
Reilly Germain will be attending the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University in New York. She has been involved in a variety of extracurriculars while at LPHS including Big Brothers Big Sisters, Model UN, Volleyball and Track among others.
“Receiving these scholarships means so much to me because college tuition is only getting more expensive and we’re so lucky that we have a supportive community that wants to help us succeed,” Germain said.
She is the recipient of The Big Sky Vacation Rentals Scholarship and The Richard (Dick) Allgood Memorial Scholarship which together total $5,500 in awarded funds. Germain said the money will help her pay for her higher education and support her in pursuing a career in hospitality.
After the scholarships were presented to each student, Mistretta and
Big Sky School District Superintendent Dr. Dustin Shipman, offered closing statements.
Shipman pointed to the Big Sky community as a great example of resilience and praised all who were involved in the scholarship program. He asked students to stand and give a round of applause to the FOBSE board, sponsors, parents and the entire community.
Mistretta offered good wishes for the students to be successful in all of their future endeavors and capped her remarks with song lyrics.
“When you head out of state, we hope you keep in mind the words of cowboy poet and balladeer Dave Stamey in his song titled ‘Montana,’” she said. “The lyrics are: My parents gave me Montana\No matter where I go it carries me\When I look inside I see, Montana.”