American Legion awards scholarships

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    By Richard Walker
    American Legion Post 108

    Photo courtesy Richard Walker
    In the top photo, Alexandria Ashbaugh receives her award from Post Cmdr. Raymond Taylor. In the bottom photo, Anika Thomas gets her award from Taylor while Post Legal Officer Jim Huffman looks on.

    Two local high school graduates have received $1,000 scholarship awards from our local American Legion Post 108. After diligent review of multiple applications, the awards went to Anika Thomas and Alexandria Ashbaugh. 

    Applicants were required to submit the application form, a personal statement/essay, proof of service for related veterans, a copy of their high school transcripts, letters of recommendation, documentation of citizenship and leadership activities, documentation of community service and/or work experience, and an acceptance letter from the school they plan to attend.

    The scholarship committee awarded points for all the various considerations, including GPA and ACT scores, and the highest point score determined the winners.

    Thomas’ activities, community service and work experience include dance, dance soloist, volunteer aide and paid teacher. She also has participated in theater and musical theater as a volunteer performer, production manager, dance captain and assistant choreographer. Thomas was also a part of the BSA Venture Crew 612 and served as crew treasurer and crew quartermaster. Additionally, she is employed as a swim instructor with Calm Waters Aquatics and as the site manager and facilities manager. Finally, she is an instructional aide for K-12 music lessons at Pagosa Family School.

    Thomas’ application packet included numerous letters of recommendation from a school principal, teachers and employers. Both of her grandfathers fought in Vietnam and her great-grandfathers served in World War II. Thomas will attend the Colorado Christian University in Lakewood, Colo. 

    Ashbaugh’s activities and service include BSA Venture Crew 612 president and Venturing Western Region vice president of programs. She was also the treasurer of the Future Business Leaders of America’s (FBLA) local chapter. She has participated in the FBLA toy drive for the past two years and produced handmade baby hats for Children’s Hospital for two years. Ashbaugh has volunteered at our Loaves and Fishes lunch program, Forest Service conservation projects, the Archuleta County Fair, the blood drive, Gorham Scout Ranch and at the Pagosa Springs Multipurpose Pavilion. 

    Ashbaugh received multiple letters of recommendation from her teachers, counselors and her advisor for the Venture Crew. Ashbaugh’s family has a rich history of military service including both of her parents and her grandfather and her mother’s grandfather, who both served in the U.S. Navy. Her mother, Julie, is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel. Ashbaugh will be attending the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colo.

    Please join the American Legion members and officers in congratulating these two outstanding students and young community leaders on their scholarships and in wishing them both much success in their continuing educational endeavors.