Soroptimist awards $22,000 in scholarships

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Soroptimist International of Whitefish gave $22,000 in scholarships and awards to women succeeding in all walks of life. (Daniel McKay/Whitefish Pilot)

Ten different women, all succeeding in different walks of life, received a total of $22,000 in education scholarships recently from Soroptimist International of Whitefish.

Soroptimist member Barb Mansfield handed out 10 scholarships for three different awards during an awards ceremony March 13 at The Springs at Whitefish.

The primary award is Live Your Dream, which is given to a woman who is the head of her household and plans to attend or return to college. Four Live Your Dream awards were handed out.

Paula Halama earned the award in the amount of $4,000 and a chance to compete for a regional scholarship. Halama is pursuing a master of science degree in nursing to be a nurse practitioner.

Three other recipients each received $2,000 also earning Live Your Dream scholarships — Christin Didier, Margaret Hall and Molly Stroupe.

Didier is studying early childhood education and hopes to own a trauma-informed early childcare center. Hall is attending Flathead Valley Community College and pursuing certificates of applied science in practical nursing certificate and licensed practical nursing.

Stroupe recently graduated from FVCC with three associates degrees and is going to pursue a bachelor’s degree in business management. For Stroupe, gifts like these bring the impossible within reach.

“Without donations or scholarship I wouldn’t be able to continue college, wouldn’t be able to get to where I am today,” she said. “To me, an education is the foundation for a better life.”

Mansfield said the Live Your Dream award is her favorite.

“Sometimes this is the first time they’ve gotten an award for anything,” she said. “Some of these women are very in-need. When you look at what they’ve overcome and the various hardships it’s nice to be able to give them the award.”

The Past President Scholarship awards $2,000 to five Whitefish or Columbia Falls graduates in their sophomore, junior or senior years of college. This year’s recipients were Allison Foust, Kelsey McFadden, Monique Schoech, Brittany Barnes and Meredith Stolte.

Foust is attending Regis University in Denver and majors in peace and justice with a minor in communications and politics. McFadden is studying elementary education at the University of Montana, Schoech is studying political science at the University of Southern California and Barnes is attending Montana State University with a statistics major and a music minor. Stolte is majoring in psychology and religion at St. Olaf College in Minnesota.

The Fellowship Award is given to one woman who wants to further her education in her field of study. Anna Harapat was awarded the $2,000 scholarship. Harapat attends FVCC and majors in nursing.

Mansfield said the scholarships fit the Soroptimist mission to improve the lives of women and children.

“It’s a monetary award, but it also says people believe in me,” she said of how it makes recipients feel.

Soroptimist International is a volunteer service organization for women who work to improve the lives of women, girls and children in local, national and world communities.

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