GRAND MOUND — The top 25 graduating students from both Centralia and Chehalis were honored by the business community and received scholarships Monday at the annual Rob Fuller Luncheon hosted by the Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce.
The seniors spoke briefly on plans to attend colleges, trade schools or join the military to become everything from teachers and nurses to accountants and underwater welders during the event at the Great Wolf Lodge.
“Education is the building block for any community,” keynote speaker and Centralia City Councilor Peter Abbarno said. “Graduation is not the end or beginning. Life is a series of chapters in a book.”
At this point, one chapter is closing and another one is beginning for the students, he said.
As the seniors head out into the world, they were encouraged to come back to the area to better the community they were raised in or go out and settle in a new community and work to benefit their neighbors.
“Dreams are not wishes granted by fairies,” Abbarno said. “They are earned from hard work.”
Centralia’s Hannah Jeffries, Nikolas Evans, Noah Thomas and Chehalis’ Andrew Mann, Allison Haakenson, Kimberly Frazier and Jordan Norquist were awarded the Rob Fuller Scholarship.
Chamber Executive Director Alicia Bull noted the scholarship was once called the Chamber Scholarship, but in 2011, when local businessman and community activist Rob Fuller died, it was renamed in his honor.
Another scholarship awarded to Centralia’s Samantha Teitzel was $1,000 from the Visiting Nursing Foundation to help her become a nurse. Senior Will Alexander was awarded with Rainier Connect Scholarship and Chehalis’ Andrew Painter was awarded with the Boys and Girls Club of Chehalis scholarship.
The Olivia Mitchell Scholarship, named after Olivia Mitchell, who died of heart complications, was awarded to Emma Manning, of Adna. Manning is the little sister of Olivia’s best friend, Bull said.
Over $11,000 worth of scholarships were given out on Monday, Bull said.
Aside from the scholarships, gift cards were raffled off to the students. One lucky student won a $500 gift card from Southwest Airlines. All of the students received gift packages with items donated by local businesses.
Students from Centralia High School who were honored include Hannah Jeffries, Hodges Bailey, Noah Thomas, Joseph Maxwell, Abigail Hopkins, Lacey Duffy, Brian Murray, Megan Holmgren, Nikolas Evans, Connor Spencer, Felicia Knapstad, Itzmaria Zaldivar, Chloe McLachlan, Kary Sathre, Christian Jimenez, Gloria Reyes, Sidnee Arcury, Samantha Teitzel, Maya Patraca, Luke Smith, Zackary Stelzner, Cheyllyn Collinsworth, Caleb Sevey, Maryanna Wu and Lydia Anderson
Students from W.F. West High School honored included Kaelen Bach, Jason Chung, Andrew Painter, Andrew Mann, Jeong Min Kim, Chloe Bradley, Jordan Norquist, Shannon Flexhaug, Kimberly Frazier, Hunter Snyder, Kyndra Haller, Grace Redmon, Kenna Knoll, Allison Haakenson, Aurora Biggers, Kayana Curwood, Andrew Gregory, Danielle Dugo, Brandan Touhey, Tysen Paul, Alexandra Johnson, William Radtke, Shiann Davidson, Kristen Dipo and Colton Pruitt.