When Nattapon “Genie” Oonlamom moved here from Thailand at 10, “hello” was about all she could say in English. Today, the Everett High graduate is bound for the University of Washington with the aim of becoming a neurosurgeon.
As she worked to graduate from Sequoia High School, Mackenzie Roberts had a full-time job at McDonald’s while raising her daughter. Her little girl, Emma, will turn 2 in September. Roberts plans to study early childhood education at Everett Community College.
With different goals and lives, the two young women are among nearly 50 students whose achievements and perseverance were recognized recently when the Rotary of Club of Everett awarded $214,000 in scholarships.
“These students will be our future,” said Steve Miller, the Everett Rotary’s president, in a statement released June 10. That day, scholarship certificates were mailed to recipients, with grants ranging from $500 to $21,000.
In May, the Rotary Club of Marysville’s Education Foundation awarded $171,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors in the Marysville, Lakewood and Granite Falls school districts.
With large gatherings banned due to the coronavirus, the clubs found creative ways to celebrate their scholarship winners. In Marysville, awards were presented at a drive-up event, while the Everett club put together an online program via Zoom.
“It’s going to help me plan my financial needs long-term — the bigger picture,” said Oonlamom, 18, one of four recipients of the Everett Rotary’s $21,000 Anthony G. Bozich STEM Scholarship. “I’m planning on going to medical school. This will help me save for that,” she said Tuesday.
Oonlamom’s Everett High graduation Saturday was a drive-through event, with her 30-year-old brother at the wheel. Her family moved here from Thailand about eight years ago.
Featured as a Herald Super Kid late last year, Oonlamom said teachers were supportive as she toiled to learn English. “I started from the kindergarten book,” she told The Herald’s Stephanie Davey in December. “I’m surprised I made it this far.”
She learned so well that her senior year classes included biotechnology, AP government, AP literature, AP calculus, AP Chinese and AP biology.
For Mackenzie Roberts, the $2,000 Rubatino Scholarship she received from the Everett Rotary will help as she moves on to EvCC. At Sequoia, she participated in a child development class as Emma was in the day-care center there.
Sequoia, she said, “was the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”
“I felt like I was at home there,” Roberts said. In a speech she wrote for graduation, Roberts noted that some may equate the alternative high school with “bad kids.” With a goal of becoming a teacher, the young mom said she’ll remember Sequoia as a place where “everybody is supported by everybody.”
“I struggled a lot,” said Roberts, whose 40-hour weeks at McDonald’s had her working until 1 a.m. weeknights and 4 a.m. weekends. “I’m sleep deprived,” she said.
This year’s seniors missed traditional commencement ceremonies. They’re being launched into adulthood as health worries and economic jitters brought on by the pandemic paint an uncertain future. Through it all, the Rotary clubs of Everett and Marysville made generous commitments — with scholarships totaling $385,000.
Rotary Club of Everett scholarship winners
$21,000, Anthony G. Bozich STEM Scholarship: Ian Bjelke, Hannah Tran, Cascade; Liam Rock, Nattapon Oonlamom, Everett.
$12,000 Puget Sound Kidney Center Scholarship: Karen Vo, Cascade.
$10,000 Brett Akio Jensen Scholarship: Jaxon Roberts, Cascade.
$9,000 Loren Baker Scholarship: Ainsley Jordan, Cascade.
$7,500 Saunders Foundation Scholarship: Maliya Jackson, Jasmine Brar, Cascade; Mackenzie Swenson, Craydi Moen, Everett.
$6,000 Helen Jackson Memorial Scholarship: Erin Cotton, Cascade.
$5,000 AVID Scholarship: Ashley Barquest, Everett; Nelly Aguilar-Santos, Cascade.
$4,000 Pat (Steve) Miller STEM Scholarship: Makia Manselle, Cascade.
$4,000 EverTrust Foundation Scholarship: Montana Miller, Everett.
$4,000 Hermes Scholarship: Madison Houston, Sequoia.
$2,700 Hol Mabley/Kay Lyons Scholarship: Tessa Holmes, Everett.
$2,500 AVID Scholarship: Dietrich Rodgers, Sequoia; Rebecka Manland, Everett.
$2,500 Everett Clinic Scholarship: Jenifer Pacheco, EvCC.
$2,400 William Dobler Scholarship: Alaska Luna, Cascade.
$2,200 Evelyn Hoffman Everett High English Lit Scholarship: Megan Low, Everett.
$2,000 Dwayne Lane’s Auto Family Voc Tech Scholarship: Ahmed Al-Sadoon, Sequoia; Leslie Luna, Cascade.
$2000 Botesh, Nash & Hall Architecture Scholarship: Cameron Arreola, Cascade.
$2,000 Moss Adams Business Scholarship: Sofia Regan-Bone, Everett.
$2,000 Providence General Foundation Scholarship: Miriam Fox, Everett.
$2,000 Rubatino Scholarship: Mackenzie Roberts, Sequoia.
$1,500 Fred Sjoholm Business Scholarship: Amanda Tang, Cascade.
$1,500 Adelaide Dykestra Scholarship: Brooke-Lynn Wilmes, Everett.
$1,400 Bernie Webber Memorial Scholarship: Antonio Mejia Wolf, Kamiak.
$1,300 Don Loken Scholarship: Jenna Depew, Cascade.
$1,000 AVID Counselor Scholarship: Jenny Vo, Sequoia; Naide Perez, Everett; Melissa Diaz, Cascade.
$500 AVID Shopping Spree: Jose Herrington, Elle Risley, Kylie Nydoske, Sequoia; Makayla Bouslaugh, Anjuli Dahal, Ashlee Holden, Yuliana Rincon-Cruz, Everett; Yarely Torres, Trevor Nguyen, Marcellio Mendez, Hannah Gaffney, Cascade.
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; firstname.lastname@example.org.