The 2019 Dick Nichols Scholarship: Honoring 14 Local High Schoolers

Rotary of West Olympia Dick Nichols Scholarship Portfolio
Ethan Loveless (center), one of 14 2019 Dick Nichols scholarship recipients, receives his portfolio which includes three letters: one from Governor Inslee, one from his coach, and one from his parents. Photo courtesy: Nate Naismith

There’s something every Dick Nichols Scholarship recipient has in common with one another, excellence. The Rotary Club of West Olympia joined with Rotary Club of Olympia and the six other local Rotary Clubs (Capital Centennial, Gateway, Hawks Prairie, Lacey, South Puget Sound and Tumwater) to host their annual scholarship award recognition luncheon this spring. The event honored 14 young people from high schools across the community with a $1,500 scholarship that will help contribute to their future education goals.

Rotary of West Olympia Dick Nichols Scholarship Stephen Henderson
Stephen Henderson emceed the 2019 Dick Nichols Scholarship Luncheon where 14 local students each were awarded a $1500 scholarship. Photo courtesy: Nate Naismith

The Dick Nichols Scholarship is named for local legend Dick Nichols, who is best known as the voice for local sports on KGY Radio for 50 years. Nichols also had a long local communications career and received several lifetime achievement and hall of fame awards. Now, the Rotary scholarship bears his name and is awarded to stand-out youth who excel in academics, athletics and contributions to their community.

Two recipients were honored from each of the seven area schools. The 2019 winners are part of 317 award winners over the past 22 years, which have shown academic and athletic excellence in their schools as well as leadership qualities and commitments to their communities.

“Each student receives a portfolio that includes a letter from the governor, a letter from their coach or a teacher and a letter from their parent, and it’s a special thing for the student to have,” says Sandy DiBernardo, vice president, marketing director for Olympia Federal Savings (OlyFed) and Rotarian. OlyFed is a longtime sponsor of the event. “These students do so much and they are just a great inspiration to all,” she adds.

This year’s speaker, Tanya Greenfield, has also been greatly involved in local youth sports. Head coach for girls basketball at Black Hills High School, Greenfield has mentored hundreds of student athletes over the past 13 years and was named 2019 State Tournament Coach of the Year.

Black Hills High School

A well-rounded athlete, Ethan Loveless, excelled for four years as an all-academic in baseball, basketball and football, spending four years on Black Hills High School’s varsity teams in baseball and basketball. He gives back to his community as a youth basketball coach. He plans to attend the University of Portland on a baseball scholarship.

Mackenzie Theophilus shined as an all-academic in bowling and softball for three years at Black Hills High School, taking second place in state bowling her senior year. She volunteered for over 450 hours at Olywahoo summer camp. Next year, she plans to attend Grand Canyon University to study secondary education with a focus on chemistry.

Capital High School

Betsy Knutson-Keller spent four years as an academic all-American on Capital High School’s varsity volleyball team, and went to state in 2017. Also active in high school band, she plans to attend California Lutheran University to study psychology.

A 4.0 scholar athlete, Chris Penner set a total of 13 all-time school records in basketball and football. He is also Washington state’s Tourette’s Youth Ambassador. Still undecided, Chris plans to attend Seattle Pacific University to play basketball.

North Thurston High School

Multi-skilled WIAA athlete Brooklyn Harn, set two records in basketball. In addition to playing on the varsity basketball team for North Thurston High School, she played on their volleyball and tennis teams. She also assisted with Lacey Fire Department’s Adopt-a-Family project for the past four years. She has her sights on a career in dental hygiene.

Shea Thomas was chosen most inspirational for North Thurston High School’s basketball team where he received an athletic scholar award in both basketball and baseball. He coaches youth basketball and baseball and plans to attend Edmonds Community College to play baseball.

Olympia High School

Beatrice Asomaning participated in varsity volleyball and track at Olympia High School where she was also the girls discus champion. She demonstrated leadership talent as an ASB Vice President in the 2018-19 school year. At Capital Christian Center, she works with young children. She will attend the University of Washington.

Jordan Kamimura, an Olympia High School AP scholar, swam on the varsity team for four years. He has given over 600 hours volunteering at the Thurston County Food Bank. Still weighing his options, so far he has been accepted to the University of California Davis.

River Ridge High School

Ryley Larson played varsity football, baseball and basketball for River Ridge High School where he was a team captain. An AP scholar, he ranks in the top five in his class. He volunteered regularly for the Lacey youth sports community. He has his sights set on Lower Columbia College.

A member of the National Honor Society, Madyson Neuzil was a varsity soccer and basketball captain for River Ridge High School. She volunteered by helping to feed people experiencing homelessness and assisted with the school blood drive. She plans to attend Montana State University to study human sciences.

Timberline High School

Hunter Campau played varsity football for three years, was named The Olympian’s Player of the Year, and played four years of varsity basketball for Timberline High School. He is on the honor roll and was recognized as student of the month. The youth of his community know him as a referee and coach of both football and basketball. His future includes plans to attend Central Washington University.

Lauren Schutt stood out at Timberline High School as the 2018 Student of the Year in English and U.S. history. She participated in varsity swimming and tennis and volunteered at the community kitchen for four years. She will study political science when she attends Washington State University.

Tumwater High School

Sara Bocksch served on Tumwater High School’s ASB as senior treasurer and junior secretary. With four years on varsity track, she was a three-time state competitor as well as senior line leader. She volunteered with multiple community and church events totally over 400 hours. She plans to attend Point Loma Nazarene University to study nutrition and graphic design.

Patrick Williams received the all-academic award from 2015-2019, with a 4.0 GPA at Tumwater High School. He played varsity football, first team all-league varsity basketball and set a school record, all while making time to serve on Tumwater High School’s ASB as senior president. He plans to attend Grand Canyon University where he will major in pre-med.

The recipients of the Dick Nichols Scholarship award have made lasting marks on our community, but don’t be surprised if you see their names again. Their best is yet to come.

If your business would like to help sponsor future award winners, contact the West Olympia Rotary.


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