There is nothing like helping someone achieve one of their dreams. For many high school students, a big dream is higher education, but it can seem unattainable due to finances. The Olympia Tumwater Foundation has been helping Thurston County high school students reach their dreams through their college scholarship program since 1967. It’s a main component of the nonprofit’s mission – to do good deeds within Washington State.

College Scholarships for Thurston County High School Students

In 1966, Ben Hazlitt, an Olympia Brewery employee and the first president of the O Bee Credit Union, wanted to create an education fund. “Hazlitt championed an education fund to memorialize the appreciation and high regard the workers felt toward the late Olympia Brewing Company President Adolph ‘Bump’ Schmidt,” shares Madeline Pennington, assistant director of the Olympia Tumwater Foundation. The first scholarship was the $500 Adolph D. Schmidt Memorial Scholarship, awarded in 1967 to Olympia High School Graduate Mike McGaughey.

Since then, the Olympia Tumwater Foundation has awarded more than $2.4 million in scholarships and grants to more than 600 seniors at Thurston County high schools who are attending Washington State colleges or universities.

The scholarship program is funded in a variety of ways. “Endowed scholarships are funded by donors who endow or establish a scholarship fund in their name for either a set period of time or in perpetuity,” explains Pennington. “Named scholarships are permanent or temporary scholarship funds created to honor a community member, and are funded through donations. Our OTF scholarships are in honor of community members and Olympia Brewing Co. employees or associates, and they are funded through internal funds dedicated to the scholarship program.”

2023 top scholarship winner Meridee Hill from Yelm HS accepts her $15,000 award from board president Lee Wojnar. Photo courtesy: Olympia Tumwater Foundation

Apply for the Olympia Tumwater Foundation Scholarship

All Graduating seniors from Thurston County public or private high schools who are planning on attending a Washington State college or university may apply for an Olympia Tumwater Foundation college scholarship. Students must be attending in-state schools due to the articles of incorporation, which state that the nonprofit do good within the state, Pennington explains.

“Our experienced scholarship committee takes pride in reviewing the many applications we receive,” shares Pennington. “Awards are based on financial need, educational achievement and potential, school and community involvement, leadership and personal interviews with the leading applicants.”

The amount awarded is based on financial need, outstanding academic achievements and community service.

“I am deeply appreciative of your support through the Olympia Tumwater Scholarship!” shared Veronica England, one of the Olympia Tumwater Foundation’s 2023 scholarship winners. “As an older sister to two younger brothers, I hope to instill in them the courage to follow their dreams – wherever that may take them. After all, this is what I hope to do at the University of Washington. Thank you again.”

To apply for a college scholarship, visit the Olympia Tumwater Foundation website. There, you can fill out the application and either email it to scholarships@olytumfoundation.org,  drop it off at the Olympia Tumwater Foundation office in Brewery Park at Tumwater Falls, or mail to P.O. Box 4098, Tumwater, WA 98501). Applications must be received by April 12, 2024, at 5 p.m.

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