Role models | Editorial

Of course, the selection of both Susan Kaplan and Terry Pottmeyer as the 2011 Mercer Island Citizens of the Year makes perfect sense. The two have worked tirelessly for schools, youth and community for years. Yet they will be the first to say that others are more deserving, and “gee, they didn’t do anything more than anyone else” — and yes, of course they are right — there are many, many people who serve this Island, its people and values.

But what makes people like Pottmeyer and Kaplan stand out is how they conduct themselves in these endeavors with both passion and grace. Only they know the countless unseen hours that each has put into these myriad activities. They have been involved in everything — from preschool parties to crafting education policies to conducting fundraisers to help bankroll key initiatives. The two women embody the skills of corporate directors (which they both have been) who move seamlessly between financial management, rules of law, and whipping up support, oh and yes, a bit of quilt-making too. At the same time, they excel at cajoling everyone else to join in as well.

Another story this week is about Kyle Wunderlein, an outstanding Mercer Island High School student awarded a scholarship in honor of President Obama’s mother, Stanley A. Dunham, an alumna of Mercer Island High School. The scholarship is to commemorate the courageous and unconventional path that Dunham followed in her life. Dunham was an admirable person, yet one does not have to go as far as Hawaii or the Philippines to find role models such as Kaplan and Pottmeyer and others like them right here. They have shown us through their actions what leadership and community values are all about.

Finally, on page 10 is a brief story about Morgan Burdick, a senior at Forest Ridge High School, who was awarded a full four-year scholarship at Seattle University after a rigorous application process. Just nine such scholarships were given out of 312 applicants.

We honor all of these women.

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