By Amanda Haines, Communications Specialist
Four Pierce College students will be honored as members of the 2011 All-Washington Academic Team at noon Thursday at South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia. The ceremony recognizes top scholars from community and technical colleges from all over the state with scholarship prizes.
This year, the team members representing Pierce College Puyallup are Kiersten Walden and Marie Lahar. The team members representing Pierce College Fort Steilacoom are Jeanine Ellisor and Phillip Foster.
Seeking new challenges and responsibility, Kiersten Walden, 17, of Puyallup, started at Pierce College through the Running Start program. This year, she will graduate high school with a diploma and an associate’s degree, and a career path that is very clear. After volunteering at a local hospital, she knows she wants to work in nursing, specifically pediatrics. She said she most enjoys interacting with patients and helping others.
As a violinist, reporter for the campus newspaper, Running Start student, and active volunteer for a number of organizations, Marie Lahar, 18, of Puyallup, is as busy as they come. But, it’s all worth it to achieve her dream of attending a four-year college. She will finish this year at Pierce College with a high school diploma and an associate’s degree. She plans to study environmental engineering this fall.
Pierce Fort Steilacoom
It was a personal tragedy that led Jenine Ellisor, 48, of Dupont, to higher education. Her 20-year-old son died by suicide and Ellisor wanted to do whatever she could to ensure no other mother would have to face such loss. A motivated student, she takes her learning outside the classroom by helping other students in crisis, solidifying her commitment to becoming a youth crisis counselor.
Looking at Phillip Foster now as a tutor, gifted student, and aspiring physicist, it’s hard to believe he knows what it’s like to struggle in school, fall behind, and finally drop out, but that was his reality as a teenager. Today, just as education helped Foster, 27, of Puyallup, get his life back on track, he has made it his mission to help others struggling with the same tough choices.
All four students, by virtue of their inclusion on the state team, will receive $750 scholarships from Key Bank and the Northwest Education Loan Association. In addition, they are now nominated for the 2011 All-USA Academic Team. Officials from Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for students of two-year colleges, will select students for the All-USA team.
For more information on the All-Washington Academic Team and the ceremony, visit www.spscc.ctc.edu/allwa.