Foundation awards $740,000 in scholarships

IMG_4659The Centralia College Foundation is celebrating its most successful campaign ever by awarding more than $740,000 in educational funding to 254 Centralia College students for the 2014-15 academic year.

This amount represents a 20 percent increase over the amount awarded in 2013, and illustrates the unprecedented generosity of foundation donors over the last campaign year, said Julie Johnson, director of donor and alumni relations.

This year’s awards are being distributed to students as scholarships, financial aid, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) grants, and tuition waivers. Of the 254 students receiving awards, 217 are pursuing associate degrees/certificates, 26 are pursuing bachelor’s degrees in Applied Management, and 11 are pursuing bachelor’s degrees in Diesel Technology.

The average award is about $2,551 for students pursing associate degrees/certificates and $2,000 for students in the bachelor’s programs.

“This is life-changing money for our students and that’s an amazing feeling. We have only our donors to thank for their incredible generosity and commitment to education,” Johnson said. “But, every year, the financial needs at the college increase and the foundation is constantly striving to meet those needs. We’re already fundraising for 2015!”

Students can begin applying for 2015-16 scholarships from the Centralia College Foundation on Dec. 1. The deadline for scholarship applications for the 2015-16 year will be March 1. Applications will be available on the college’s website.

For more information on the Centralia College Foundation, donor options, or scholarship opportunities, visit or call 360-739-9391, ext. 290.

Winner chosen for annual Elk Hunt Raffle

ElkHuntADwebTransAlta Centralia Generation employee Phil Jaramillo is the winner of the 2014 Centralia College Foundation’s Elk Hunt Raffle drawing.

The winning ticket was drawn Aug. 4 at the Centralia College Foundation office. A total of 324 tickets were sold garnering $8,110. The funds will be split between a 2014-15 scholarship and the Dave Sherwood Endowment.

By winning the raffle, Jaramillo has the opportunity to hunt on TransAlta land for a single bull elk, three point minimum, during the upcoming Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s modern rifle hunting season.

The Elk Hunt Raffle began four years ago to honor TransAlta employee Dave Sherwood, an avid hunter who died while hunting elk in the east county area. TransAlta offered the Elk Hunt Raffle to the Centralia College Foundation to honor Sherwood’s memory. The raffles have been so successful that a Dave Sherwood Endowment has since been created to ensure a sustainable source of scholarships for the college.

Dave’s wife, Sue Sherwood, noted that she is very grateful to TransAlta for continuing this opportunity to remember Dave.

“I am grateful so many students will benefit from the proceeds in his memory,” she said.


Centralia College student is Harvard bound

Lillian Albright will study at Harvard University this fall.

Lillian Albright will study at Harvard University this fall.

Lillian Albright was destined to begin her college career at Centralia College. Her mother Hyesoo Albright has worked at the college library since 1990, and her brother, famed classical pianist Charlie Albright, is a 2007 graduate. In fact, Lillian’s baby shower was held in the Centralia College library nearly 19 years ago.

Though it may have been predetermined that Lillian would attend Centralia College, what she did with the opportunity is quite another matter for this determined and extremely bright young lady. At the age of 16, Lillian began her educational career at the college as a Running Start student, attending classes to earn her high school diploma, while also attending more advanced classes in chemistry, math, and English to earn her associate degree.

She graduated this June with a perfect 4.0 GPA, and was named a 2014 Outstanding Student by the college. Lillian was also named co-valedictorian for her class at Centralia High School.

The next step in Lillian’s education will be a big one; she has received a full-ride scholarship to attend the very prestigious Harvard University in Boston, Mass., this fall.

“I couldn’t have done it without the help of several professors, Dr. Ruby, Pat Pringle, and Dr. Weil to name a few, but I’m especially grateful to my Running Start counselor Peggy Goldberg,” said Lillian. “She is so kind and caring, and I am so thankful for the help and support she provided so I could achieve my dream of going to Harvard.”

While Harvard may be the oldest university in the nation, Lillian credits her time at the oldest college in Washington State as the reason she is prepared to attend such a prestigious school.

“Centralia College will always be home for me,” said Lillian. “I couldn’t have imagined going to any other college. My time here has set me up to be successful at the university level.”

Student on the fast-track to the state patrol

John Meyers is working towards a career with the Washington State Patrol.

John Meyers is working towards a career with the Washington State Patrol.

Centralia College student John Meyers is proving a strong work ethic can yield huge results in a relatively short amount of time.

A graduate of Winlock High School, Meyers began his studies in the criminal justice program at Centralia College during summer 2013.  By the end of that fall, he expressed a sincere desire to pursue a career in law enforcement with the Washington State Patrol.

Knowing that the state patrol hires cadets as young as 19, Greg Gilbertson, an associate professor of criminal justice at Centralia College, spent the next several months guiding Meyers through the WSP application process. Meyers juggled the challenging application while taking up to 20 credits per quarter in Centralia College’s accelerated criminal justice degree program and working part-time as a logger.

After nearly nine months of extremely hard work, Meyers has successfully completed the WSP application and is presently awaiting an offer of employment.

“I have no doubt John will be hired by the Washington State Patrol and become a tremendous state trooper,” said Gilbertson. “He is a remarkable young man.”

Meyers is one of many criminal justice students earning their associate degree in just 15 months – jump-starting their careers a full year ahead of most other programs.

“The criminal justice program has dozens of students that are presently pursuing similar academic paths and realizing their dreams of careers in public service,” added Gilbertson.  “Washington State Patrol is projecting up to 400 trooper vacancies over the next several years, but it is not the only agency or employer seeking qualified applicants in the criminal justice or social service fields. Jobs are plentiful in Washington and throughout the country in criminal justice at this time and for the foreseeable future.”

For more information about a career in criminal justice, contact Gilbertson at 360-736-9391 ext. 663 or

Weekly Lyceum lectures offered Sept. 24- Dec. 3

Centralia College proudly presents another round of the Lyceum lecture series this fall.

This one-credit lecture series is open to the public and features weekly lunchtime lectures on a variety of topics. This fall’s lineup tackles issues of social change, religious values, health, green living and much more!

To sign up, register for 3476 Humanities 284A. Classes are held from 1 to 1:50 p.m. Wednesday in Washington Hall, Room 103.

Sept. 24           Introduction to Class – Dr. Jody Peterson

Oct. 1               Cambodia

Centralia College faculty members Dr. Steve Norton and Dr. Greg van Alstyne will speak of their 25-day exploration of Cambodia this summer.

Oct. 8               Hinduism: A Way of Life in Washington

Cultural scholar Ratna Roy will lead a discussion on some of the tenets and history of Hinduism, the world’s third largest religion, and explore its presence and impact in our state.

Oct. 15             Changing Perspectives on Human Trafficking

Presenter Khurshida Begum is a survivor of human trafficking and one of the founders of A.S.H.H.O. (Advocate-Serve-Honor-Humanity-Organize), an organization that confronts and combats all forms of human trafficking.

Oct. 22             Stress: Basic Tools to Manage in our Daily Lives

Learn to recognize common stress symptoms and learn some really basic tools to manage your stress. Presented by Carrie Johnson, a faculty member at Centralia College.

Oct. 29                       Miss Wheelchair America

Be inspired by Jennifer Adams, the 2014 Miss Wheelchair America. Born with partial limbs, Jennifer considers her struggles a gift, allowing her to learn that fulfillment and purpose can only be found when we push beyond our limitations.

Nov. 5             Keep Your Food – and Money – Out of the Trash

The average American wastes 209-254 pounds of edible food each year, costing a family of four about $130 a month. Gabby Bryne from the Thurston County Solid Waste Program will provide tips on how to waste less food.

Nov. 12                        La Causa

In the late 1960’s, Latin American farm workers fought for civil rights, and battled racism and indecent working conditions. Experience this chapter of American history as one young woman fights to see her people free of poverty. Presented by Living Voices .

Nov. 19                       Cultural Kaleidoscope

The colors, flavors, sights and sounds of another country reflect similarities and differences from our own. Hear international students discuss their cultures and travels, and their challenges in the U.S.

Nov. 26                       NO CLASS

Dec. 3             To Be Announced


STP provides big boost to CC Athletics

This year, STP garnered more than $40,000 for Centralia College’s athletics programs.

This year, STP garnered more than $40,000 for Centralia College’s athletics programs.

When the Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic rolled through Centralia College on July 12-13, crowds were drawn to the music, food, and high-energy fun of the annual 200-mile bike race.

For 10 years, Centralia College has been the central stop along the route, providing riders and race fans a needed respite from the heat and a chance to connect with each other over a cold beverage.

For the college, the relationship is a rewarding one. This year, STP garnered more than $40,000 for Centralia College’s athletics programs. The college raised money by providing showers, renting overnight accommodations and RV sites on campus, collecting sponsorships and vendor fees, serving the annual breakfast, and hosting the beer garden.

With more than 10,000 cyclists and an estimated 8,000 family, friends, and race supporters on campus in those two days, the event is a major boon for the athletics programs. More than 200 volunteers, including all Centralia College athletes, did everything from washing and folding towels to serving food to directing traffic.

It’s a huge effort to coordinate such an event, but the results are worth it, said Steve Ward, Centralia College’s vice president of finance and one of the key organizers of STP on campus.

“This was our tenth year and, honestly, it was our best year,” he said. “All the riders, everyone, has been raving about how well it went and how much fun they had. It came together perfectly and we were able to raise $40,000 for our athletics programs.”

The hard work isn’t over, however. Organizers have already been meeting about the 2015 STP.

To learn more or to see photos from each year, visit

Upward Bound students learn ‘sweat equity’

Upward Bound students tend the rose gardens in Chehalis.

Upward Bound students tend the rose gardens in Chehalis.

Few things foster deep emotional bonding like hard physical labor for a good cause.

Such was the lesson learned by 22 students from Centralia, Rochester, Toledo, and W.F. West high schools during Centralia College’s TRiO Upward Bound summer program June 23-Aug. 1.

For the first time in the program’s history, community service projects were included in the itinerary of career and college prep programs. Service projects were completed in each of the four represented communities and the students worked together to identify and complete each task.

  • In Toledo, the Upward Bound students cleaned the high school baseball field concession stand and bathrooms, edged the field, picked up trash, and cleared debris from the tennis courts.
  • In Rochester, they helped overhaul the community gardens at the ROOF Food Bank/Kids Place and transplanted trees.
  • In Centralia, they worked with the city to pick up trash and paint over graffiti on the Gold Street viaduct.
  • In Chehalis, they removed 14 bags of weeds from the rose beds along 13th Street.

“The service projects allowed students from different schools a chance to really get to know each other,” said Program Specialist Caytee Cline. “More importantly, they are now invested in each other’s communities, friendships are forming, and walls are coming down like never before.”

Over the six-week summer program, the students also received assistance with college applications, toured colleges around the state, and attended cultural events, all at no cost to them or their families. They also received extra instruction in English, math, science and foreign languages, and explored different careers.

TRiO, a national program in its 50th year, has a variety of programs that support low-income and first-generation college students. For more information about TRiO programs, visit or contact Lisa Preslan at 360-736-9391, ext. 223.