Education

Pierce County students with volunteer experience: this scholarship is for you

Willie Stewart greets students and well-wishers on Feb. 26, 2015, after the Tacoma School District renamed the Reengagement Center the Willie Stewart Academy in honor of his decades of service. A scholarship in his name is accepting applications.
Willie Stewart greets students and well-wishers on Feb. 26, 2015, after the Tacoma School District renamed the Reengagement Center the Willie Stewart Academy in honor of his decades of service. A scholarship in his name is accepting applications. Staff photographer

High school seniors who attend school in Pierce County and have spent time volunteering could earn money toward their college tuition.

The Willie Stewart Community Service Scholarship, named after Tacoma School District’s first African American principal, is currently taking applications.

The scholarships range from $1,000 to $2,500. Award money will be sent to the recipients’ college of attendance upon verification of enrollment.

Applications are due by Monday, April 1.

Applicants must be 12th-grade students in Pierce County and show they’ve completed 145 hours of community service between April 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019.

A letter of recommendation and short essay also are required.

Eighteen students from Tacoma, Puyallup, Gig Harbor, Fife, Sumner, Graham and Lakewood were awarded the scholarship last year.

Willie Stewart became principal of Lincoln High School in 1970 and spent 36 years with the Tacoma School District as an educator and principal. He served as a school board member between 1999 and 2005.

“I am so grateful for so many good things that have happened in my life,” Stewart said in a 2015 article by The News Tribune. “I feel obligated to serve. If I have energy, if I have talent, if I have money, I want to share it.”

In 2015, the Tacoma School Board voted to name a building after Stewart. The Willie Stewart Academy is a re-engagement center that provides individualized learning plans for students facing barriers to success.

The Willie Stewart Community Service Scholarship is offered by the United Way of Pierce County, a nonprofit that works to fight poverty.

For application details, visit uwpc.org/scholarship.

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