To honor the ‘quiet influence’

Reporter Staff

Reporter Staff

Applying for scholarships is a big part of how high school students and their families prepare for graduation and college. And certainly, part of the suspense and drama of the Mercer Island High School commencement each June is finding out who will win the handful of scholarships given by community members.

But one family who have offered a scholarship in the memory of an Island grad who died just three years after her own graduation, has found interest in the honor waning.

It may be that students cannot nominate themselves — the nomination must come from a third party.

Krishna D. Vara was a 1998 graduate of MIHS who died of cancer in 2001. The scholarship was her idea, and is carried out today by her family and friends.

The family hopes that more students will think about who would fit into spirit of the award and put forth a name.

This award is not based on academic merit, but rather seeks to recognize the extraordinary impact of community involvement, remarkable spirit and true friendship

Nominations are being accepted until May 25 for the sixth-annual Krishna D. Vara award. The prize is a $2,000 scholarship, which will be awarded to one Mercer Island High School senior in early June.

“When she was sick, Krishna was thinking a lot about her place in the world and about how people should live,” her sister, Vauhini Vara said. “Her thinking was that this scholarship would be a worthwhile way to honor someone who was quietly an influence — a good friend, a person who cared. In that way, it’s a very different scholarship than most.”

Nominations for this award are not to be self-submitted or solicited. Those who would like to nominate a specific person should fill out a questionnaire, which are available in the counseling office at the high school.

Vauhini Vara said that the committee (made up of Krishna D. Vara’s family and friends) gets together to review the nominations and select a winner, giving them a chance to reflect on Krishna D. Vara’s life and reconnect.

“This was her idea,” Vauhini Vara said. “We’re looking for people similar to how she was.”

The scholarship is also publicized through the high school bulletin, teachers at the school, and in the video announcements.