Parkrose businesspeople introduce honored student scholars

See how many $1,000 scholarships were given this year, and learn more about the Parkrose High grads who were thus honored …

These plaques, and scholarship checks, are on display, as the Parkrose Business Association’s June meeting begins.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The June meeting of the Parkrose Business Association (PBA) is typically a joyous affair – it’s the day when members and guests learn which graduates from Parkrose High School would receive a scholarship.

The meeting on June 21 was no different – the meeting room at the Holiday Inn Airport was again filled to capacity with members and guests.

New Parkrose Scholar Justine Shepard looks pleased about her lunch selection.

PBA President David Ableidinger of Parkrose Hardware welcomes attendees to the 2012 “Scholarship Luncheon”.

After the recital of the Pledge of Allegiance, and leading the group through the process of self-introductions, PBA President David Ableidinger gave brief announcements, and then called up the “Member Moment” speakers, Loretta Stites and Leah Gray.

Stites and Gray gave a brief history of the Russeville Grange, and the role that grange associations – including theirs – play in modern society.

PBA Past President and Scholarship Committee Chair Wayne Stoll of Century Associates kicks off the awards ceremony.

Next, Wayne Stoll, chair of the PBA Scholarship Committee, came up to tell about the program, and the selection of the 2012 honorees. He asked committee members Mary Brown, Gail Bash, Gordon Boorse, the perspicacious Mark Eves, Marsha Lee Grabinger, Alison Stoll and Mike Taylor to join him in the front of the room.

“From all the applications the committee received,” Stoll began, “we reduced the final number from 10 to 6 applicants – but, there was a tie for sixth place, and we really wanted to offer seven scholarships.”

So, Stoll continued, Marsha Grabinger asked the Parkrose Business Foundation – the organization’s non-profit funding affiliate – to authorize an additional grant.

“They agreed, so this year, we’re awarding seven $1,000 scholarships,” Stoll announced.

The funding for the scholarships awarded each year, continuously since 1998, wasn’t “just lying around”, Stoll continued – as he outlined the various functions the association has put on, including their mid-County PBA Cruise-in events and Holiday Party Silent Auctions.

Nowadays, funds are raised not by holding events, but through pledge drives held at their monthly meetings. [See the “Honor Roll” of 2012 PBA Scholarship Program below.]

> Read about this year’s pledge drive: CLICK HERE.

Wayne Stoll leads a round of applause for the first scholarship recipient, Andrew McLaughlin.

“So students, you receiving scholarships as a result of that hard work,” said Stoll.

“To tie things in together, I thought it might be fun if our very first scholarship recipient, Andrew McLaughlin, would also come up. After he graduated from Parkrose High in 1998, he graduated from George Fox College, and he now works for the Parkrose School District.”

2012 Scholar Elliot Beck is congratulated by Marsha Lee Grabinger.

PBA Scholarship Committee member Marsha Lee Grabinger called up the first of 2012’s Parkrose scholars, Elliot Beck.

“I read Elliot’s application for the scholarship,” Grabinger said, “and the first thing that came to my mind is, ‘This guy really likes school!’  From early preschool on through his senior year, it appears as if he has learned that a good education is important.  He has applied himself.  He is challenged himself.  He has done very well academically.  He’s also done a pretty well in sports.

“He’s gone out and done well in both Track and Cross Country events. And he’s won awards and recognition such as ‘Most improved’, ‘Scholar Athlete Award’, ‘Most Inspirational’, ‘Team MVP’, ‘Male Athlete of the Year’, ‘Fastest Varsity Time’, and ‘Team Captain’. Indeed, participating in sports instills a lot of discipline in a person.

“But I have a hunch that Eliot has always been a person of discipline. When I was e-mailing the scholarship recipients, it was always Elliot, who was the first to reply.

“Eliot is well-prepared for college; he has chosen Portland State University.  He is going to study business and mathematics.  He is possibly looking forward to a career in either accounting or engineering.  I have no doubt that he will succeed in whatever he puts his hand to,” concluded Grabinger.

2012 Scholar Jerry Hunter is congratulated by Bob Brown of Bob Brown Tire Center.

PBA Scholarship Committee member Bob Brown asked scholar Jerry Hunter to step up to the front of the room.

“Jerry Hunter has excelled in high school scholastically,” Brown said.

“He’s going to Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana, where he is going to play football. He has chosen to become a high school teacher.  And he’ll also be taking political science. He hopes to teach history. He should do real well at that; because he’s done real well in school.

“In sports, he’s a good football player; and he’s also gotten into track, shot put, discus, and wrestling – in fact, he placed sixth in wrestling.

“I’m sure he’ll do well,” said Brown as he handed Hunter his award plaque and check for $1,000.

2012 Scholar Breanne Smiley is congratulated, in absentia, by Alison Stoll of Central Northeast Neighbors.

Committee member Alison Stoll began, “It’s really fun serving on this committee, and also difficult to narrow down the choices to only six or seven kids. All of the applicants were scholarship-worthy.”

Then, as she held up a photo of scholar Breanne Smiley, she observed that the recent graduate was out of town, and unavailable to attend the luncheon.

“A little about Breanne Smiley,” Stoll said. “She was in a horrible car accident. She had a bad back injury – something with which she had to deal all this [school] year.

“While keeping up her grade point average, Breanne continued as a member of the Parkrose Dance Team. Even though she was going through [physical] therapy, she managed to maintain her status on the Dance Team – which is really amazing. The Dance Team won first place in the State competitions.

“Breanne also participated in Track and in Band, which are other interests of hers.

“She’s planning on attending Harding University in Arkansas. From what I’ve heard, she’s planning on majoring in sports medicine, which is interesting, with all the things she’s gone through,” concluded Stoll.

Committee member Autumn Marie congratulates 2012 Parkrose Scholar Justine Shepard.

Justine Shepard was announced as the next Parkrose Scholar by Autumn Marie.

“When I read Justine’s essay, I could tell that she was a very strong person,” Marie said.  “Through the many difficult situations she’s faced, she has handled them very well and in a very mature manner.

“Justine has a great personality; she’s really outgoing. The skill that she has, the way that she can handle things very well and still keep her positive attitude, are all fine attributes. I believe it will help her with her future career choice.

“She’s going to Concordia University to study Early Childhood Education, and she wants be an elementary school teacher. I believe she will succeed in anything that she applies herself to,” Marie concluded.

Committee member Wayne Stoll – and the very first PBA Scholar, Andrew McLaughlin – flank 2012 Parkrose Scholar Ruben Contraras, as they together present his award.

Wayne Stoll asked their organization’s very first scholar, Andrew McLaughlin, to tell about 2012 Parkrose Scholar Ruben Contraras.

“It’s funny to think that when I received my scholarship,” McLaughlin began, “these kids were all four years old!”

After chuckles died down after McLaughlin’s remark, he began, “This is Ruben Contraras. He is quite accomplished.  He’s planning to go to Mt. Hood Community College – and then hopes to go on to a four-year college.

“This is special, we learned, because he is the first person in his family to go to college.

“Ruben is very much involved with the community. He’s volunteered with AVID, which prepares ‘under-represented students’ for college. He’s also been involved in Students Working to Achieve Greatness (SWAG), doing tree planting and a number of other activities, including Special Olympics. He’s actually coached a Special Olympics team, which is really cool.

“He’s also been involved in sports as part of Snow Riders, and in training other snowboarders with the Chill Foundation. He’s also the Water Polo team and the Swim Team.

“He’s in the National Honors Society, and over the summer he participated in the Digital Connections internship, where he became Cisco-certified. Looking toward the future, Ruben is very interested in engineering, and is planning to major in mechanical engineering, and minor in philosophy.”

“Perhaps he has a career ahead of him in ‘philosophical engineering!’” Stoll piped up.

McLaughlin concluded, “Ruben hopes to have a double major – with his second major in environmental science. We believe he’ll do well.”

2012 Scholar Carlea Sundin is congratulated, in absentia, by committee member Judy Kennedy of Pacific NW Federal Credit Union.

Noting that scholar Carlea Sundin was not present, committee member Judy Kennedy held up her photo and said, “She can’t be with us today, she is off with her mother at the school of her choice.

“Carlea stood out for me, because of the community outreach that she has done since 2002.

“Carlea is also a top Honors Student. And she’s been on the Dance Team for the last three years.

“I want to thank all of you [PBA members] for providing scholarships. Y’all deserve a big pat on the back,” Kennedy added.

2012 Parkrose Scholar Breanna Markham is congratulated by committee member Mary Brown of Bob Brown Tire Center.

Finally, Mary Brown invited 2012 Parkrose Scholar Breanna Markham to come up to the front of the room.

“Breanna just got back from visiting her school,” Brown said. “She wants to go to Marymount College, located southwest of Los Angeles. She’ll take two years to prepare herself for nursing school; she wants to be pediatric nurse.

“Breanna’s very accomplished academically.

“She’s also very accomplished athletically [especially in the sport of] volleyball. Her team went to the State Championships for the first time in Parkrose Volleyball Team history.

“She plays the position ‘libero’ [a non-rotating back-row position]. She’s been voted by the coaches as the ‘#2’ player in the State.”

Markham clarified, “I got recognized nationally for ‘play of the week’ this year, and have been recognized as being ‘#2 All-Conference’ for two years in a row.”

Brown concluded, “She had health issues, which perhaps prompted her to help others and to be a nurse. I know she’ll be wonderful.”

Wayne Stoll gives each Parkrose Scholar parting gifts, including boxes of “Instant Mac & Cheese” which he says they’ll need, when they go to school!

“Honor Roll” of 2012 PBA Scholarship Program

Pacific NW Federal Credit Union  ~  ABC Sustainable Solutions
American Sani-Can  ~  Bob Brown Tire Center
Compaction and Recycling Equipment   ~  Davey Tree Expert Company
Dennis Harvey  ~  Estelle Fuller
Gail Bash  ~  Hookset Automotive
Jason Zwick State Farm Insurance  ~  Dr. Karen Fischer Gray
Mark Eves, PC Attorney  ~  Marsha & Brent Grabinger
Mary Brown  ~  Parkrose Hardware
Rossi Farms  ~  Russellville Grange
Wayne Stoll, Century Associates  ~  Teeney Foods
Key Bank  ~  Dalibor Simlesa
Loretta Stites  ~  Hollywood Chiropractic
Karen Taylor, Mary Kay Consultant

Here are the committee members and 2012 Parkrose Scholars.

Meet the PBA
On July 19, the Parkrose Business Association gets together for networking, lunch and to hear a speaker, starting at 11:30 a.m.

Come and meet this group of fun, energized business people. They meet at the Holiday Inn Airport, 8439 NE Columbia Boulevard (in the hotel building, around the back at the Flirt’s entrance – not the Convention Center next door. The meeting is free, and the buffet lunch is $17, including dessert and gratuity; reservations are NOT required. For more information, see their web site: CLICK HERE.

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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