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Dunham scholarship awarded to Kyle Wunderlein

Scholarship applicants at the Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship Reception on May 12 are, from left to right, (top) Sarah Taylor, Hailey Lepp, Alyssa Suhm, Liana Shibuya, Anna Bond and the winner, Kyle Wunderlein; (bottom) Tara Nielson, Michaela Lee, Hailey Gullstad, Karissa Walker and Alyson Abe. Sonya Saepoff and Dakota Chenoweth are not pictured. - Contributed Photo
Scholarship applicants at the Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship Reception on May 12 are, from left to right, (top) Sarah Taylor, Hailey Lepp, Alyssa Suhm, Liana Shibuya, Anna Bond and the winner, Kyle Wunderlein; (bottom) Tara Nielson, Michaela Lee, Hailey Gullstad, Karissa Walker and Alyson Abe. Sonya Saepoff and Dakota Chenoweth are not pictured.
— image credit: Contributed Photo

Mercer Island High School senior Kyle Wunderlein has been awarded the Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship for 2011. The award, worth $5,000, is named for the late MIHS alumna, Class of 1960, best known nationally as the mother of President Barack Obama.

Wunderlein who will study at the University of Michigan this fall, was chosen from a group of thirteen applicants. The scholarship is awarded to a female graduating student at MIHS to support the education of young women who are already demonstrating passion to economic and social equality for people who are oppressed and impoverished world-wide and who are likely to make a real difference as leaders in the coming years.

The other applicants were: Alyson Abe, Anna Bond, Dakota Chenoweth, Hailey Gullstad, Michaela Lee, Hailey Lepp, Tara Nielson, Sonya Saepoff, Liana Shibuya, Alyssa Suhm, Sarah Taylor and Karissa Walker.

All of the applicants were presented with a copy of the newly published book. “A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mother”. They were individually autographed to the recipients by the author, Janny Scott. Scott, who writes for the New York Times.

The keynote speaker at the award presentation, which was held at the Mercer Island Presbyterian Church, was 1980 Mercer Island graduate Karen Kenyatta Russell. Russell, who is a successful employment attorney at the Seattle firm Davis Wright Tremaine, attended Georgetown University and Harvard Law School and is the daughter of NBA great Bill Russell. She spoke about working for the Obama 2008 presidential campaign and how Obama could have had any job he wanted, but chose to be a community organizer. She suggested to the upcoming graduates that they should push for their goals through community service and volunteerism. She told the young women to “guard your reputations, trust your instincts, and laugh often.”

Russell introduced her father, former NBA basketball player and coach and long-time Mercer Island resident Bill Russell. She spoke about how he sparked her interest in politics and public service.

Russell told his daughter, “Wherever you go in the world, you’ll be better able to take care of yourself than any man can, no matter the time, no matter the place.”

The audience was comprised of friends and families of the applicants, former MIHS teachers, and classmates of Stanley Ann Dunham. Directors of the Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship Fund are: Dayna Cole (Chair),  Lowell Ericsson (Vice-Chair), Curt Peterson (Treasurer), Amara Fanucci, Harry Leavitt, Tony Nugent, and Iona Stenhouse.

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