WENATCHEE, Wash. – While the pandemic certainly changed the course of the year, it has not altered Stemilt’s efforts to partner with the Washington Apple Education Foundation (WAEF) to award students of local agriculture families scholarships to pursue their secondary education goals.
“Stemilt’s founder and my grandfather, Tom Mathison, knew how important it was to invest into the up and coming generation, so he partnered with WAEF over 25 years ago to ensure students of Stemilt employees and other ag families in the area had the opportunity to earn college degrees,” explains West Mathison, Stemilt president. “Today, we honor his spirit and kind heart by awarding multiple scholarships to numerous students every year.”
Currently, Stemilt offers 16 scholarships that are either renewable or single use for one academic year. Stemilt awards four renewable scholarships based on financial need, four renewable scholarships based on merit, and six single-year scholarships based on financial need, academic performance, and school and community involvement. Tom’s family also created the Thomas K. Mathison (TKM) Memorial Scholarship which awards two students $20,000.
“The TKM Memorial Scholarship is awarded to one student whose parent is a full-time employee of Stemilt and one student whose family is in the agricultural business, but not necessarily directly involved with the company,” explains West. “This award is focused on strong character and a will to succeed. My grandfather was the first to admit that school studies weren’t his strong suit but rather focused on merit and striving to become a well-balanced individual.”
The two students who received this scholarship are Karina Gonzalez, a freshman at the University of Washington pursuing a degree in Mathematics with a double minor in Chemistry and Spanish and Leticia Garcia, a second-year student at Heritage University pursing her nursing degree.
“Both of these students have shown great dedication to their studies, especially while learning how to balance life and school during the pandemic,” explains West. “They’re currently enrolled in school, however attending classes through online platforms. Both demonstrate their need to succeed as well as maintaining a positive outlook even when times are tough meeting the criteria of the TKM scholarship.”
West and the entire Stemilt team are pleased to help students like Gonzalez and Garcia strive towards fulfilling their educational goals and look forward to helping more students like them in the future.
“Both of these students demonstrate Stemilt’s values and norms and we are thrilled to be supporting them to achieve bigger and greater things,” explains West. “And although my grandfather cannot congratulate these students himself, my family and I know he would be extremely proud of their accomplishments and desire to flourish.”
Stemilt is a family-owned grower, packer, and shipper of tree fruit. Owned and operated by the Mathison family, Stemilt’s mission is to cultivate people and delight consumers with its World Famous Fruits. Stemilt is a leader in sweet cherries and organic tree fruits, and a key supplier of apples and pears. The company stewards an environmentally sustainable and socially responsible business through its Responsible Choice® program, which has been in place since 1989. For more information about Stemilt, visit www.stemilt.com.