Community Education

14 local graduates earn Herons Key scholarships

Posted on June 28th, 2024 By:

In early June, 14 local high school seniors received $2,000 scholarships from the residents of the Herons Key retirement community.

Since the scholarship program began in 2018, Herons Key residents have awarded more than $83,000 to seniors from Gig Harbor and Peninsula high schools. This year a student from Henderson Bay High School also received an award.

This year’s scholarships were awarded to:

Bella Gordon

Gordon, from Peninsula High School, will attend Eastern Washington University to become an elementary school teacher.

Trevor Grayson

Grayson has a passion for physics and excelled as a member of the Gig Harbor High School STEAM club. He’s headed to Texas A&M with the goal of becoming a nuclear physicist.

Grace Holtzlaw

Holtzclaw of Peninsula High School, did exceptionally well in all her studies — from science classes to learning Chinese. She’ll attend University of California–Santa Barbara to study physics and astronomy to become a cosmologist.

Sarai Jimenez-Juarez

Jimenez-Juarez of Peninsula High School volunteered many hours at Children’s Hospital and has participated in nursing camp and other healthcare related activities. She’ll study nursing at Seattle Pacific University.

Jonathan Johansen

Johansen will attend Gonzaga University as a pre-med student, with the goal of working in pediatric oncology. He hopes to continue to celebrate his creative spirit through music, especially as a pianist.

Kylie Michalke

Michalke loves working with children, especially special-needs kids. She’ll attend Washington State University to study early childhood development. She plans to become a social worker.

Gavin Sheets

Sheets was a dual-sport athlete at Peninsula High School. He’s is headed to Utah Valley University to study mechanical engineering.

Evelyn Steffy

Steffy played in the Peninsula High School band every year. She also taught American Sign Language to second graders at Purdy Elementary and worked as a radiology assistant. In keeping with her love of animals, she’ll attend Brigham Young University in the fall to study veterinary medicine.

Madison Clement

Clement was active in her school’s STEAM club, the swim and dive team and speech and debate team. She plans to major in psychology at University of Washington.

Tristan Schaefer

Schaefer is headed to Umpqua Community College in Oregon and is still deciding on his future plans, but his college activities will likely include baseball.

Adriana Hamlin

Hamlin will attend a community college to study graphic design. Like several other award-winners, she triumphed over numerous challenges during her high school years.

Bobby Ward-Mack

After participating in a service project in Guatemala during spring break, Ward-Mack of Henderson Bay High School, is headed to Evergreen State to study environmental science to further his love of photography, science and nature.

Rosaria Jose

Jose, a daughter of Guatemalan immigrants, is the first in her family to receive a high school diploma. She was active in her church and her school’s Key Club and wants to enter the medical field after attending community college.

Kaden Munkres

Munkres was a student leader and multi-sport athlete in Unified Sports, bringing together students of different abilities. He’ll attend University of Washington this fall to work toward becoming a lawyer. His goal is to have a military career as a JAG officer.

Herons Key scholarship winners include (front row, left to right) Bella Gordon, Grace Holtzclaw, Kylie Michalke and Sarai Jimenez; and (standing, left to right) Evelyn Steffy, Madison Clement, Jonathan Johansen, Gavin Sheets, Tristan Schaefer and Trevor Grayson. Photo by Charlee Glock-Jackson

Inspirational stories

Madison Shaw, a previous Herons Key scholarship winner, also attended the awards luncheon and spoke about her current studies in viniculture and her internship at a winery in Eastern Washington. Shaw is finishing her senior year at Washington State University, thanks to a Herons Key scholarship. She advised the new winners to “be fully present in every moment, and find something you love to do.”

Heron’s Key resident Marilyn Colyar organizes the awards program every year.

“All of us who read the portfolios of this year’s seniors were so impressed with their skills, their ability to communicate, and their wish to make the world a better place,” Colyar said in an email. “The selection process, meeting the students, hearing their stories—all of this was a big injection of hope that seems to be in short supply right now.”