Olympia Tumwater Foundation Supports Exemplary Thurston County Graduates with Scholarships


For over 50 years, the Olympia Tumwater Foundation has awarded scholarships to local, graduating high school seniors as they pursue their educations within Washington. These talented youth provide inspiration and hope for the future of our community and the world. Despite everything that has happened this year, the Foundation continued that tradition by awarding three local graduates for 2020.

Putnam Lieb Potvin Dailey LogoJonathan Holder, Top Prize Recipient

Wise and thoughtful at 19-years-old, Jonathon Holder is heading to Whitworth University in Spokane, his first-choice school. The scholarship will support his vision of completing college with as little debt as possible. “It was a huge honor to receive this,” acknowledged Jonathan as he expressed profound gratitude.

Initially, Jonathan will earn his bachelor’s degree in trumpet performance and then continue with a master’s in speech-language pathology. He believes that his personal journey with stuttering will uniquely qualify him. “I know exactly what people are going through every day,” he shares. Jonathan has his own experiences with speech therapy, related struggles and successes, that he can drawn upon while study and, eventually, with his own patients.

Olympia High School graduate Jonathan Holder will continue playing the trumpet at Whitworth University and study speech and language pathology. Photo credit: Katie Bossio

Along with playing the trumpet and guitar, Jonathan sings. He participated in Olympia High School’s chamber choir which met at ‘zero hour’ (7:00 a.m.) five morning a week. That’s commitment. Jonathan explains that when he sings, he’s fluent, meaning the stutter does not get involved. “It’s cathartic,” he says. Similarly, the more complex multiple tonguing in advanced trumpet playing is also going well. It probably helps that he practices almost every day.

Outside of school music, Jonathan is part of the music ministry at his church. He has shared his gifts of singing, playing music and conversing to seniors at local assisted living facilities, which has highlighted the importance of making connections.

He is thrilled to be on a life path that is meaningful to him in so many ways. Jonathan is ending the summer with a family trip to Bend and then saying, “Goodbye,” to his local friends as he says hello to a bright future.

Lily Storbeck

Lily is also incredibly thankful to be a 2020 Olympia Tumwater Foundation winner. She will pursue her complimentary interests in biology and environmental policy. The scholarship will provide financial stability as an incoming student at Western Washington University. Lily is enrolled in the Honors College where her fall quarter will be filled with prerequisites including English, history and math. She is making room to take more biology classes next year.

Lily Storbeck, Olympia High School graduate, starts in the Honors College at Western Washington University with ambition plans to help our environment. Photo credit: Cara Doyle

When school starts, Lily will still be living in Olympia at her parents’ home, as WWU is teaching remotely for the first quarter. Not surprising, Lily is disappointed to be missing the dorm experience, but holds hope that as time passes, more on-campus activities will open up and she and will eventually move to Bellingham. To help delineate the high school senior from the college freshman, Lily is redecorating her bedroom. “I’m excited,” smiles Lily, who knows it is not the same as living on campus but accepts the reality of the current situation.

To keep her brain in gear Lily spends time keeping up with her French while also learning Korean. She is studying for a math placement test and likes to keep up with current events. Her interest in history, she explains, helps her understand many different points of view. Her current favorite book is “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” by Yuvai Noah Harari.

Lily is realistic about the environmental challenges looming on our earth. “The world doesn’t matter if it’s not getting fixed,” she says and adds, “The future is unclear, but it’s bright.”

Gracie Mathis

Yelm High School graduate Gracie Mathis has been accepted at the University of Puget Sound, her dream school. Receiving the scholarship cemented her ability to attend. Classes will begin remotely this fall, so Gracie has chosen to continue living at home. Though not ideal for her vision of going away to college, “I’m going to make the best of it,” she affirms.

Gracie Mathis, Yelm HIgh School graduate, will be a legacy student at the University of Puget Sound where her parent met and is pursuing a writing career. That’s her cat Max. Photo courtesy: Gracie Mathis

Her attention is on creative writing. She’s already completed multiple short stories and holds the vision of writing a novel. Gracie is practicing different genres, but finds a mix of science-fiction and fantasy a desirable combination. Her all-time favorite series is “Throne of Glass” by Sarah J. Maas, which follows a teenage assassin in a corrupt kingdom.

Her family lives on Lake St. Clair, which is perfect for her outside activities like swimming, kayaking and paddle boarding. She likes to be out in nature and often goes hiking. Gracie works at Jamba Juice, where she enjoys being with co-workers who are her age.

Gracie is working on her baking skills and reported making cinnamon rolls for breakfast and shortbread with chocolate and caramel topping for later in the day. There’s nothing like banging around in the kitchen to get your creative energies going.

We congratulate these three hard-working and talented young adults as they move along their collegiate adventures. We’re cheering for you.

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