Seattle Schools Scholarship Fund

About the Seattle Schools Scholarship Fund

Each year since 1974, the Seattle Schools Scholarship Fund awards scholarships to graduating seniors of Seattle Public Schools and in recognition of students who have overcome significant life challenges to achieve their dreams.

The scholarships are in the amount of $5,000 and are awarded to students each year for tuition expenses at any college or university or vocational training of the student’s choice.

The scholarship is funded largely from an annual contribution from the Seattle School Retirees Association, as well as generous donations from community members.

Scholarship Recipients

A large group of students gather for a photo in the auditorium

Scholarship Awardees

See names and schools of Seattle Schools Scholarship awards.

View awardees

Eligibility Requirements

Candidates are selected by school counselors and the Scholarship Fund Committee Trustees.

In order to be eligible to receive a Seattle Schools Scholarship Fund award, the student must:

  • be a graduating senior of a Seattle Public Schools high school during the year the award is awarded,
  • be a current resident of the Washington state, and
  • have demonstrated a certain level of academic achievement and potential for college success.

Selection Criteria

Consideration is given to the following criteria in determining both the candidates and recipients of the Seattle Schools Scholarship Awards:

  • financial need
  • recognizable contribution to their school and/or the community
  • performance in academic pursuits
  • candidates have overcome significant life challenges to obtain a high school diploma.

Donation Forms and Fund Sources

All gifts to the Scholarship Fund, regardless of the amount, are greatly appreciated. 100% of every donation is applied directly to the scholarships. Please be assured that  any gift, small or large, will support worthy and deserving young people.

An annual contribution, currently $25,000, from the Seattle School Retirees Association (SSRA) has benefited the fund significantly over the years.

An annual gift of $10,000 by the Tricia and Richard Taylor family honoring the memory of Sharon Woerner Loberg supports the scholars from Rainier Beach High School. 

An annual gift of $10,000 by Michael and Marie DeBell supports the scholars from Ballard High School, in honor of Chuck Chinn and Phil Brockman, former Ballard distinguished principals.

An annual gift of $10,000 by Lynn Frances Guthrie supports the scholars from Franklin High School.

An annual gift of $5,000 by Manisha Powar and Vineeth Madhusudanan honoring the memory of Mr. B.B. Powar supports the scholar from Alan T. Sugiyama High School (at South Lake).

An annual gift of $5,000 by Eric Benson honoring the memory of longtime Nathan Hale High School teacher and Trustee of the Scholarship Fund, Elaine Wetterauer, supports the female scholar from Nathan Hale.

An annual gift of $5,000 each from Steve and Liann Sundquist and from Glenn and Molly Seaverns supports the scholars from Chief Sealth High School, in honor of John Boyd, former Chief Sealth principal.

Donations have come from many sources including district employees and the community. Since the inception of the Scholarship Fund in 1974, the number and amounts of scholarships granted has increased to 28 scholarships of $5,000 each.

The 2017 ceremony honored former Franklin High School teacher and longtime fund trustee Phil Konkel who passed away in 2016. His passion and tireless efforts dedicated to the success of the students of Seattle and the Scholarship Fund will be greatly missed. His legacy lives on through a generous bequest to the Fund of nearly $200,000.

In 2004, Nora B. Adams, former teacher and principal in Seattle Public Schools, left a bequest of nearly $600,000 to the Seattle Schools Scholarship Fund. Nora B. Adams (1928-2004) was a teacher at  Sharples Jr. High and T. T. Minor Elementary and also served as principal at T. T. Minor, Bryant, Sacajawea, Dunlap, and Seward Elementary Schools.

In 1999 the fund increased by $11,000 when contributions in honor of long-time school board member, Ellen J. Roe were made upon her retirement.

In 1983 Superintendent Donald Steele recorded an album with country singer Tammy Wynette. All proceeds ($90,000) from its sales were directed to the Scholarship Fund.

  • Michael DeBell (Chair) – Retired School Board Director, Seattle Public Schools; Parent of three SPS Graduates
  • Eric Benson (Vice-chair) – Retired Principal, Nathan Hale High School, Seattle Public Schools
  • Ronald Boy – Attorney; Former Executive Director Labor Negotiations, Seattle Public Schools
  • Linda Ellingboe – Former PTA and PTSA President, Four Generations of Seattle Public Schools Graduates and Students
  • Lynn Frances Guthrie – Former Tutor Seattle Public Schools Powerful Readers; owner/tutor READ WRITE LEARN
  • Leslie Harris – Current School Board Director, Seattle Public Schools
  • Myrna Bigno Muto – Retired Teacher, School Counselor, and Career Technical Education Specialist, Seattle Public Schools
  • Kathie Pham – Seattle Colleges, Office of Advancement, Scholarship Manager; Former Seattle Schools Employee 2013-2019; Ballard High School Graduate
  • Clara Scott – Retired Principal, TOPS K-8, Seattle Public Schools
  • Dietrich A.C. Schmitz – Parent of two Seattle Public Schools High School Scholars
  • Richard Staudt – Risk Manager, Seattle Public Schools; Parent of two Chief Sealth Graduates
  • Paulette Q. Thompson – University of Washington Academic Advisor (Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity, College Access Unit); Former Teacher, Seattle Public Schools; Roosevelt High School Graduate
  • Eleanor Toews – Retired Archivist, Seattle Public Schools; Parent of two Garfield Graduates

Seattle Public Schools Consultants

  • Bev Redmond (Public Affairs and Chief of Staff)
  • Julia Warth (Board Office)
  • Valerie Koo (Board Office)
  • Amy Fleming (Financial)
  • Meaghan Kahlo (Archivist/Website Manager)

Seattle Scholarship Fund Recognition Wall Plaque

Recognition Wall

The Seattle Scholarship Fund Recognition Wall listing Tributes, Memorials and Donations can be found in the public lobby of the John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence. 

Currently, donations of $500 or more with a stated designated honoree/memorial will result in that person’s/organization’s name being added to the next available space on the Scholarship Fund Recognition Wall.

This will result in a letter from the Trustees announcing the donation to the family of the person memorialized or to the honoree. (This is why it’s important to include an address to be used for the donation announcement.) It will also result in a letter from the Trustees as a letter of receipt to the donor. 

The $500 donation size may also be reached by multiple donors separately honoring or memorializing the same individual to have that name added.

Another way a name (individual/family/organization) may be added to the Scholarship Recognition Wall is if there is an ongoing annual donation over $500.

The Seattle Schools Scholarship Fund was established in 1974 to provide financial assistance to deserving graduates from Seattle Public Schools for first year college related expenses. The major goal of the fund is to reward students who have overcome significant life challenges to obtain a high school diploma and who might not ordinarily be considered for a higher education scholarship.These non-renewable awards of $5,000 each are distributed among young men and women from both traditional and alternative high schools in Seattle Public Schools who reflect the diverse ethnic population of the school district. Awards are disbursed directly to the institution.