Roughly 300 former teachers and students, city leaders, and friends and family members of scholarship finalists were present last Saturday to witness the sister of President Barack Obama award two $5,000 scholarships to young women about to finish their education at Mercer Island High School.
Maya Soetoro-Ng and Barack Obama are daughter and son of Dr. Stanley Ann Dunham (now deceased), who graduated from MIHS in 1960. Soetoro-Ng described her mother in a 2008 Seattle Times article as “uncommon” and as being an “intellectual rebel.” We also witnessed in Maya that day a very warm, personal woman with solid presence. The room of smiles and frequent standing ovations attested to the approval and enjoyment of a remarkable day.
The criteria for receiving the scholarships last Saturday was exceedingly rigorous.
While we claim Stanley Ann here on the Island, she quite frankly also belongs to metropolitan Seattle (she attended Eckstein middle school), and the entire nation.
This is an annual event that has grown in stature on the Island, and deserves to be made even more prominent in promoting high education quality. Mercer Island has had decades of commitment to education, and, from what I observed last Saturday, will continue indefinitely.
To the Scholarship Board: you deserve the Island’s thanks for a meaningful and fruitful year’s search for winners (all finalists were!), for the day’s ceremony and for bringing Dr. Soetoro-Ng to her mother’s high school. I trust we will hear much more from you in future years.