Meet your 2020 Columbia REA Scholarship recipients
There were a lot of things about the 2020 Columbia REA Annual Meeting that were unusual. But thankfully, one agenda favorite that was not overly affected by the statewide “stay home, stay healthy” guidelines was our annual academic scholarship program. For the 21st year in a row, Columbia REA recognized three local High School seniors with a 4-year scholarship to continue their education at the college level. The Clark A. Brewington Memorial Scholarship is in the amount of $1,500. Two additional academic scholarships are in the amount of $1,000. Each scholarship is renewable for up to four years.
A volunteer committee made up of local educators evaluated 13 applicants from High Schools within the Columbia REA service area. Students were asked to submit a 500-word essay, transcripts and SAT or ACT scores and letters of recommendations from school and community leaders. Applicants remain anonymous and personal identifying information is removed from all documents throughout the evaluation process.
Ethan Haugen - DeSales High School
Ethan topped the list as evaluated by our committee, earning the $1,500 per year Clark Brewington Memorial Scholarship. Ethan’s accomplishments include being a member of the DeSales Track and Field, Cross Country and Swim teams, as well as a member of the National Honor Society and a Commended National Merit Scholar. Ethan also scored a 1520 on his SATs, putting him in the 99th percentile nationally. Ethan is currently finishing up his senior year (from home) and preparing for two upcoming AP exams in Calculus and Physics.
I’m very grateful for this scholarship,” says Ethan. “It means a lot to me. I’ve worked every summer since freshman year saving money for college. It is a huge amount of money compared to what I can make working a minimum wage job. It means a lot to me. I’m very grateful to the people at Columbia REA.”
Ethan will attend Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX) in the Fall with plans to study Finance.
“I got into personal finance through a book my dad gave me called ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad,’” recalls Ethan. “I’m not completely sure on it. I want to explore a little bit in college and look at some other things too, but finance is probably my best idea right now.”
Madison Case - Walla Walla High School
Madison Case of Walla Walla, also a National Merit Commended Scholar, earned a $1,000 annual scholarship and will attend Montana State University (Bozeman, MT) next Fall, and is looking forward to lots of snow!
“I’m so excited to graduate High School, and really excited to go to college and find out what my passions are, and just figure it all out’” says Madison, who plans to study Biological Engineering, with an eye toward pre-med.
Unfortunately, with our stay-home guidelines in place, Madison missed out on her senior tennis season and her final two concerts as part of the WaHi Symphony Orchestra, where she was first chair on the Viola. But she does feel very fortunate that she didn’t miss out on the opportunity for the Columbia REA scholarship.
“I saw there was a scholarship available about two weeks before the deadline in Ruralite Magazine, so I went and got all the stuff together,” recalls Madison. “I was also fortunate enough to receive some additional financial aid from Montana State, and I plan to work part-time on campus. Between that and what we got from Columbia REA…it’s really helpful to me and my parents. This is just an awesome opportunity. Thank you so much.“
Noah Beechinor - DeSales High School
Noah Beechinor of DeSales High School is our 3rd recipient, and will be headed to Washington State University in the Fall where he will major in Agricultural Tech and Production Management. Along with being on the golf, basketball, track and shooting teams, as well as 4-H Chapter President and National Honor Society President, Noah has accumulated over 30 college credits at Walla Walla Community College and hopes to graduate from WSU in 3 years so he can return home and officially carry the mantle as the 7th generation to work the Beechinor Family Farm, even though he actually started working on the farm years ago.
“Every morning I wake up about 7 and do my schoolwork until about noon,” says Noah. “Then I head out and work on the farm until about 6 pm. Right now it’s vertical tilling…working the ground. We just got done seeding corn and spraying the winter wheat.”
Noah was looking forward to the State golf tournament, until school cancellations wiped out that plan. Now he just can’t wait to get started with college, and is very thankful for the opportunity.
“For me, it’s like every dollar counts. I’m very grateful for this scholarship. It’s definitely going to help a lot.”
Why did he choose WSU…? Easy answer for Noah: “It’s close to home so I can come back and work weekends on the farm.”