I was amazed and inspired by our latest group of scholars this past Saturday at our Scholarship Celebration Breakfast. Hearing their stories of overcoming challenges and working hard to achieve their goals made me realize how much I love this work.

I had the opportunity to talk one-on-one with many of our new 2012 Pride Foundation Scholars. Be sure to read more about where they come from and what their goals are.

Four scholars shared their stories with the crowd of 400 guests. Hailing from different parts of the Northwest, their insightful, funny, and heartwarming stories of their coming out experiences and pursuits for higher education brought tears, laughter, and inspiration. And though each story was unique, there was one common theme amongst them: more than the financial support, knowing that there was an entire community standing with them in support and encouragement means they know they can achieve their goals!

Check out our Facebook photo album from the event.

Looking ahead, two things are very clear to me. The first is our community is in great hands with these fabulous LGBTQ and straight ally student leaders. And the second is that now, more than ever, we need to commit to supporting access to higher education.

I can’t imagine a world without these bright, revolutionary, and dedicated individuals who are pursuing higher education and positively impacting LGBTQ equality. These individuals are making a commitment. I want to ask each of you reading this to make a commitment too. Next fall, we will need hundreds of volunteers to help us review scholarships. Consider donating your time and, if you are able, also financially supporting our scholarship program.

A big thank you to our speakers including alumni George Froehle, and 2012 scholars Viktor Bogatko, Nawwal Moustafa, Mistie Tolman, and Danny Wakefield. Another group that needs to be thanked is the 400+ volunteers that vetted applications and interviewed students, as well as presenting sponsor, Microsoft.

Anthony Papini is Pride Foundation’s Director of Educational Leadership. Email Anthony.

Posted In: Blog, Supporting Students