$76,000 goes to the class of 2019
By Bay Stephens EBS LOCAL EDITOR
BIG SKY – Sara Davis, 19, wakes up at 4 a.m. each morning to prepare for the day. Davis and her boyfriend leave their apartment in Bozeman by 5 a.m. so he can arrive punctually at his job at Spanish Peaks Mountain Club. Davis then drives the car back into town to work at the Country Market in Meadow Village from 6:30-ll a.m. when she heads to school at Lone Peak High School.
After school gets out at 2:45 p.m., she babysits her “little” Bentley, who she was paired with through the Big Sky chapter of the mentorship program Big Brothers Big Sisters. That’s a normal day for Davis, who, coming from an upbringing marred by drugs, alcohol and abuse, left her parents’ home in North Dakota as soon as she turned 18. She chose to finish her last year of school at Lone Peak High School, and is set to graduate in June.
On April 4, Davis was awarded three scholarships totaling $3,500 through the Friends of Big Sky Education community scholarship program, opening the door for her to attend the interior design program at Montana State University’s Gallatin College, something she’d never thought possible.
“Pretty much before this year, I wasn’t going to go to college,” Davis said.
She was one of 14 graduating seniors who received a total of $76,050 in scholarships from the Big Sky community. Kegan Babick, Kodi Boersma, Brooke Botha, Kolya Bough, Sam Johnson, Ava King, Cole March, Rowan Merryman, Dawson Raden, Milosz Shipman, Solae Swenson, Emma Tompkins and Myles Wilson were also awarded scholarships.
FOBSE has acted as a conduit for the community to give over $257,000 in scholarships to 72 students throughout the past five years, garnering the support of local businesses, families and foundations to aid students in their pursuits of higher education or trade school.
The organization was founded in 2003 by Anne Marie and Jerry Mistretta with the express goal of building a high school in Big Sky. Once Lone Peak High was realized in 2009, they concluded FOBSE’s purpose needed some refinement; in 2014, they decided to start a scholarship program, raising $25,000 from a few families who donated heavily.
“We wanted to give the community the opportunity to demonstrate to the kids their support for their hard work,” Jerry said.
Since then, an ever-growing number of donors and sponsors has allowed available scholarship funds to increase as BSSD’s graduating classes do.
Davis received a $1,500 scholarship from the Glore Family Fund, a sum designated for a student who lives in a non-nuclear family. Additionally, she received a $1,000 multiyear scholarship from the Agency Insurance Division and $1,000 from Big Sky Build, both of which are reserved for students with a trade related study trajectory.
“There are these stereotypes of Big Sky students as rich and privileged,” Jerry said. “That’s not true of all the students. The high school has the whole spectrum, and our goal is to serve every one of them, if they meet the criteria.”
Visit friendsofbigskyeducation.org to learn more about Friends of Big Sky Education.