Tongass School of Arts and Sciences teacher Amy Bauer this fall semester received the first Marvin Scott Memorial Scholarship award through the University of Alaska Southeast.
Bauer is working on her Master of Education — reading specialist degree through UAS, while working with students as the Response To Intervention coordinator at TSAS.
The scholarship was created in 2018 and endowed by the university in early 2019 in honor of Ketchikan local and Alaska Native Marvin Scott, who perished in an avalanche in February 2018.
UAS Ketchikan Campus Student Services Manager Gail Klein, one of the key people who helped to create the scholarship, said the process of setting it up was gratifying.
“Personally, I was just really astounded by this community,” she said in an interview at her Ketchikan campus office.
The September 2018 fundraiser, hosted by Paula Weisel at the Arctic Bar, brought in more than $40,000, Klein said.
“For me, that says a lot of things,” Klein added. “One, it says a lot about who Marvin was, because so many people responded because of this young man who really had just lived his life in a way that was extraordinary.”
She said that because of that, it was important to the group who worked to create the scholarship endowment to carry on Scott’s legacy.
On a poster distributed to attendees of the fundraiser were Scott’s principles he lived by, as listed by Scott’s brother, Louie Scott.
Those principles were: Be kind to everyone you meet. Introduce two friends who may have not otherwise met. Go for an adventure. Explore and love your culture. Grow your hair out. Do something for your parents. Enjoy those around you. And, smile big and keep smiling.
Because the fundraiser brought in far above the minimum $25,000 required to endow a scholarship fund, Klein said the university was able to award a $1,000 scholarship the very first year. Typically, she explained, it takes about five years for a scholarship endowment to earn enough to allow awards to be given.
Chad Frey, Klein, Shawn McAllister, Pete Rice, Bob Widness and Mark Woodward comprised the team that spearheaded the scholarship project. Klein said they regularly checked with Scott’s family as they made decisions.
Klein said that it was important to Scott’s family that the scholarship be set up to fund education for any student.
“They wanted to make sure that everybody who had a financial need could apply for this,” Klein said.
She said the scholarship is open to any UA student from Ketchikan.
The scholarship committee, in charge of choosing the perfect match for the scholarship awards, is made up of a Scott family representative, a university representative and a Ketchikan Gateway School District educator.
Klein said she felt it was important that people hear about the human side of both the creation of a memorial scholarship and the person who receives the award.
“I think the main thing I want them to know is when you see the fundraising efforts and you hear all these people asking for money, it does make a difference,” she said.
McAllister, in a Friday morning interview, talked about the process of creating the scholarship.
“A group of us that were Marvin’s good ski friends, after he’d passed, wanted to get together and figure out a way to honor Marvin’s legacy,” he said.
They quickly determined that a scholarship in Scott’s name was the best idea, he said.
“One of Marvin’s thoughts was, if you could educate local people here, they might stay,” McAllister said.
He also spoke of the legacy that Scott left behind.
“The community valued Marvin so much, in so many different ways,” McAllister said.
He added, “His family loved him and he helped them with everything he could. He fished with his dad, he helped his mom with her house, he was over there every Sunday night for dinner.”
McAllister said Scott also was a big supporter of the arts community in many ways, often utilizing his web design and photography skills to help out.
McAllister said he got to know Scott when Scott was a kayak guide for Southeast Exposure, near McAllister’s home. Soon after, they began backcountry skiing together.
“You really get to know somebody really fast when you go spend the whole day in the mountains with them,” McAllister said.
He said that Scott was the first skier to buy an old snowmachine to help the skiers access the slopes — most often, Dude Mountain.
“His patience never ended,” McAllister said. “He would tow us up there, I mean, he would get like, five of us up there.”
McAllister added that it was Rice was the one who came up with the scholarship idea, and the group built momentum by each donating seed money, starting a GoFundMe account, contacting potential donors, then bringing Weisel into the project. He said that Scott’s partner, Ann Froeschle, also was key in pulling the project together.
“It was a fun group of people to work with,” he said, “and with so much support from the community, it was pretty easy to do.”
Award recipient Bauer, who is enrolled in two graduate-level courses this semester, said in a recent interview that she deeply appreciated the scholarship.
When Klein telephoned her to announce that she’d been chosen, Bauer said, “I was just overjoyed. I almost cried.”
Bauer has faced some tough obstacles on her journey to earn her master’s degree. She began her teaching career in Ketchikan in 2012 as an English-Language Learner paraprofessional before earning her bachelor’s degree in education.
In 2017, Bauer signed up to further her education, and soon after was met with daunting obstacles.
“I started working on my master’s in education as a reading specialist,” Bauer said. “I’m a new teacher and I found out very quickly that I just need more tools in my toolbox to be able to help the students with reading, so I started the program. But, shortly after I started the program, I was diagnosed with cancer, and I’m a single mom with two boys.”
Shortly after, her father became ill, then passed away.
“It was a really hard year,” she said.
Bauer said costs of medical bills added to the costs for school became overwhelming among the stressors and she was forced to drop out of her school program.
Now that she is back in school, bolstered by the Marvin Scott scholarship award, her enthusiasm was easy to see. She explained that as the RTI specialist working at TSAS, she works with students that fall within the 30th percentile on assessments for math and reading. She noted that a majority of those students are Alaska Natives.
“Which makes me really excited for this scholarship, because Marvin Scott was Alaska Native, so in his honor, we’re helping, even though I’m not Alaska Native myself,” she said. “I’m able to help Alaska Native students through him, and that makes me really excited.”
She added, “Also, this is a huge new adventure for me, and he was such an adventurous person that I love that it’s in honor of such an adventurous person. That excites me.”
Bauer also spoke of what receiving the scholarship money meant to her.
“With the cost of education, it’s just so helpful,” she said. “I think everybody has their own challenges that they’re trying to overcome. The scholarships — you know a thousand dollars may not seem like a lot to one person, but it’s a lot of money to another person, so, every little bit helps in being able to support.”
She added, grinning, “And I love that, as I’m studying, I’m going to have this knowledge that, ‘Oh, this is helping me and I have Marvin on my side.”