Ketchikan's Henry Clark is one of 123 high school seniors to receive Pacific Lutheran University's president's scholarship.
More than 400 incoming college freshmen applied for the $30,000 per-year scholarship, according to a January PLU press release.
Clark, a Ketchikan High School senior, is the only student from Alaska to receive the scholarship for the fall 2021 semester.
The release stated that president's scholars are "selected based on academic achievement, service and leadership, as well as the potential to effect positive change and leadership in both the academic and co-curricular life of PLU."
On average, the 2021 president's scholars have a grade point average of 3.99.
Clark is the president of the Kayhi Student Body Association and serves as the student representative with the Ketchikan School Board. He also participates in the Kayhi drama, debate and forensics team; and the Kayhi Rotary Interact Club.
He first heard about the scholarship from Kayhi's junior- and senior-class counselor Robert McClory.
"And so I looked into it, (and) I thought that it was a really good match for me," Clark said, speaking to the Daily News via phone from Kayhi on Monday morning.
The senior explained that he thought the scholarship meshed well with his personality — "just with leadership and the writing part."
He added, "I'm a really big history nerd, and I like social studies, so I thought it would be a really good program to apply for."
The process of applying for PLU's president's scholarship was long, and involved labor-intensive essay and short-answer assignments.
"I had to write one (essay) on how I view the political scenario of the United States, and then a little bit of the history on the United States, and bringing the history into (the) now and how whatever time period I chose was similar and or different than it was, whatever time period it was that I picked," Clark said.
"It's not something you can just do in one sitting," Clark said about the process. "You have to do a lot of applications, you have to get your resume fixed up again."
"The papers themselves took almost weeks to write because I wanted to make sure they were very good," Clark said. "There was a lot of editing done after I wrote each paper."
He continued, "Even some of the papers I used that were already written, I still had to spend at least four hours editing to make sure it matched the prompt perfectly and to make sure it was all correct."
The process also included an interview with a member of the school's scholarship selection committee.
"The interview was kind of difficult to understand because we don't all get interviewed by the same people," Clark said. "We just have the discussion and they talk to me about some of the things that I do, not even education or academics wise."
His interview focused primarily on his experience with volunteer radio at KRBD's radio station.
"And they were asking me how long I've been doing it, why I enjoy doing it," Clark noted. "So that part was really interesting because it was focused less on the academics, unlike the rest of the entirety of the program leading up to that time."
Clark learned that he had received the scholarship prior to a virtual meeting of the Ketchikan School Board, for which he serves as the student ambassador.
"I was going through my email to try to get ready to get on the School Board meeting. ... So I'm sorting through my email and I saw it on there," Clark recalled.
Clark had debated on whether or not to open the email when he saw it in his inbox just before the meeting began.
"But I checked it, and it was really exciting," he said.
The president's scholarship offers more than financial help.
"It's a large sum of money that they give you to go to their school, and also gives you a chance to talk to some of their teachers and staff before the school year starts," Clark said. "You get to kind of get a little bit of a head start."
With the graduation of the class of 2021 just a few months away, Clark said he is looking into the business school at PLU.
"Right now I am really focused on going into accounting," he said. "At least staying somewhere in business. But accounting right now is what I really want to go in."