Fair Awards $6,000 in Scholarships to Alaska Students

The Alaska State Fair has selected the recipients of its 2021 scholarships; a total of $6,000 will be awarded to five Alaska high school students through the Fair’s annual scholarship program. The Fair’s 2021 scholarship recipients include:

$2,500 first-place recipient Vea Tungul. Vea, a senior at Dimond High School in Anchorage, plans to attend the University of Washington this fall. With a GPA of 4.29, Vea has earned an AP scholar award, is an officer of her school’s Key Club, and is a member of that National Honor Society. In Vea’s scholarship application essay, she explored ways that the Fair would improve its educational programming by exposing cultures, implementing technologically advanced activities, and marketing for a more sustainable future. “The current generation has greatly diversified,” Vea wrote. “The multitude of race, religion and sexual orientation that is becoming more prevalent should be reflected in one of Alaska’s largest events.”

$1,500 second-place recipient Lillian Bleeker. Lillian, an Anchorage-based senior at the Interior Distance Education of Alaska (IDEA), plans to attend the Master’s University, where she will double major in communications and music with a vocal performance emphasis. “I remember my first introduction to folk music at a free Redhead Express concert at the Alaska State Fair. I knew at that concert that I wanted to write and play beautiful music for my community to enjoy. Since that time, I have worked hard to become a skilled musician,” Lillian shared in her application. In her essay, Lillian described how she would help young musicians overcome their stage fright by organizing an annual folk jam session at the Fair. 

$1,000 third-place recipient Katherine Payne. Katherine, a senior at Mat-Su Career Tech High School in Wasilla, plans to attend Brigham Young University – Provo. In addition to her studies, Katherine is active in tennis, Partners Club and the National Technical Honor Society. In her scholarship essay, she described how she would use her planning and marketing skills to help her talented friend open and operate a bakery booth at the Fair. “A spot at the Alaska State Fair would be our biggest hopes realized. Our two passions would come together. She would be the chef extraordinaire and I would be in charge of customer interaction and satisfaction,” Katherine wrote. 

$500 honorable mention recipient Kylie Mullaly. Kylie, a senior at Seward High School in Seward, plans to attend Kenyon College, where she will study anthropology – a field she knew she wanted to enter since discovering it in middle school. Kylie, who is vice president of her school’s environmental club, described in her scholarship application essay how she would use a booth at the Fair to help fairgoers create their own reusable bags using donated t-shirts. “Instead of charging for these bags, we would encourage donations. It is important that people are choosing sustainable alternatives, not that we are making a profit,” Kylie wrote. 

$500 honorable mention recipient Jillian Holland. Jillian, a senior at Mat-Su Middle College School in Palmer, plans to attend the University of Alaska Anchorage to pursue a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. A student worker at the Matanuska Experiment Farm and Extension Center, Jillian wrote a scholarship essay describing her vision for increasing community participation in the Fair’s flower and crop exhibits. “With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, food shortages were seen across the state. Many people thought to remedy these shortages by trying to grow their own produce. There is now a wave of people seeking information about how to grow their own food and flowers to enjoy. The Fair provides the opportunity for educational information about gardening to be distributed to all who are interested,” Jillian wrote. 

The 2021 scholarship recipients were selected out of a pool of 48 applicants. Every student who submitted a completed application will receive two free admissions to the 2021 Fair, which is scheduled for August 20 – September 6.

“Educate” is a key part of the Alaska State Fair mission, and as part of this focus area, the Fair is pleased to award annual scholarships to Alaska high school students. Fair scholarships are open to all Alaska junior and senior high school students who plan to attend college or vocational school. The application period typically opens in January and runs through March. Scholarships are awarded in May of each year.

Author: Betty Shadura

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