Kent students awarded BECU Foundation Scholarships

Jeffrey Lee - Courtesy photo
Jeffrey Lee
— image credit: Courtesy photo

For the Reporter

As part of BECU's commitment to education and assisting outstanding students, the BECU Foundation awarded 75 BECU student-members with $3,000 scholarships toward their college education.

This year two students were awarded scholarships from the Kent area:

Jeffrey Lee

Lee, who attends the University of Washington, volunteered in the child life department of Seattle Children's Hospital for his main service project.

Here is what Jeffrey had to say about his experience:

"I volunteer at Seattle Children's hospital, working in the Child Life department with kids of varying ages and backgrounds. My goal, every week, is simple – to use an hour of my time to bring happiness to children who are tormented by disease or illness, while inspiring a curiosity to learn about the world around them. This volunteering experience is a microcosm of my overall purpose in life – to devote my life to helping other people by providing the tools for proper health and education, the basic tools necessary to pursue and accomplish any goal in life."

Molly Hughes

Molly Hughes, (inset photo) a Kentridge High School student, will attend the University of Arizona. She volunteered as a peer tutor and mentor through the Special Chargers program for her main service project.

Here is what Molly had to say about her experience:

"Besides attending class everyday, peer tutors are required to take a handicapped student of their choice under their wing and frequently bring them along to out-of-school outings in order to assist them in learning to behave without their teachers or parents present. My outings have included taking students to basketball games and out to eat which are both activities that teenagers their age thoroughly enjoy doing. This class and volunteer work has opened my eyes to how doing simple things can bring a smile and offer crucial skills to handicapped students."

BECU's commitment

For more than 18 years, the BECU Foundation has awarded these scholarships to outstanding high school and undergraduate college students.

Through additional fundraising and community support, the BECU Foundation was able to expand the scholarship program by giving away more scholarships than previous years, said Debbie Wege, executive director of the BECU Foundation.

"We take pride in the fact that our program continues to grow each year and that these student-members are putting the credit union philosophy of 'people helping people' to work in their communities," she said.

Each year, the BECU Foundation awarded top honors to two high school and two college students.

In the college category, the W. Jim Roller Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Kristina Knutson for her work sponsoring the Burned Children Recovery Foundation. The BECU Board of Directors Recognition Award was given to Daniel Konzelman for volunteering to perform music at local events, festivals and benefit concerts.

In the high school category, the M. Bud Jewell Memorial Award was given to Crystal Chindavongsa for her work fundraising for Relay for Life of Kent, and the Gary Oakland Scholarship was awarded to Shelby Mensalvas for serving as team captain of Relay for Life.

"Over the years, we've given more than $1.7 million dollars in scholarships to 790 students, and every year I look forward to giving out the next set of awards," Wege said.

The recipients participated in all types of service projects, from creating a non-profit business – Foster Bikes, to serving on the board of the Pierce County chapter of United Way and serving as Young Life Student President.

The BECU Foundation received hundreds of applications and selected 75 recipients based on academic achievement, amount of time dedicated to volunteering in the community, and an essay about their community involvement.

For a complete list of the recipients as well as additional information, visit

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