Funding our future
At the brink of their high school careers, Lone Peak seniors receive community-funded scholarships
Some students were chosen for their prowess on the stage. Others, for their athletic success on the field, or their community service in developing countries. They’ll go off around the U.S. to study environmentalism, marine transportation, journalism, community service and much more.
The 23 recipients of the Friends of Big Sky Education 2018 community scholarship funds may have a wide variety of special attributes and future plans, but they all share at least one thing in common: a gratitude for the many scholarship opportunities made possible by Big Sky individuals, businesses, foundations and organizations.
During the 2018 Friends of Big Sky Education Foundation Community Scholarship Award Ceremony the seats of the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center were filled with representatives of those local interests, many known for their service on community boards and leadership as business owners.
“Volunteerism is a critical component of making Big Sky run,” said FOBSE Vice President Anne-Marie Mistretta during the ceremony before announcing the awards. “That’s why we call this project the community scholarship program.”
Forty-two scholarships added up to $70,000 in funds this year, the fourth in the program’s short history. Five scholarships targeted financial need, four will replicate the following year, and most were merit-based—awarded by academic performance, participation and community activities.
FOBSE was founded in 2004 to support secondary education in Big Sky with the goal of opening a high school. That goal was realized in 2009 and the group refocused to support all things education, K-12, as well as the community at large. The group also succeeded in bringing the WMPAC to Big Sky.
Mistretta and her husband Jerry started the scholarship program in 2014, offering a scholarship of their own in memory of their son who died in a car accident. In the community-supported program’s first year, $32,000 was raised for the class of 2015. Four years later, donations have more than doubled and so have senior class sizes.
“The Big Sky community is proud of Lone Peak High School and its students,” Mistretta said. “They are eager to say that they are proud of the students’ hard work, college acceptances and career choices.”
“In cases where a student is the first child to head to college, the parent and the student are just realizing some of the ‘hidden’ costs of college,” Mistretta added. “It's not just tuition and board. It’s a new computer. It’s transportation, and books and spending money for the snacks no longer provided by mom and dad. Because we live remotely here in Big Sky, it’s rare that a student lives here and commutes or telecommutes to college. Most LPHS students will go away to college, and that costs money.”