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By Andi Bourne

AAI Awards Scholarship and Youth Grants


Andi Bourne, Pathfinder

Russ Abolt congratulates Rayna Thompson, senior from Lincoln High School, for being the committee's choice for the 2017 Ruth Korn Memorial Scholarship.

SEELEY LAKE – Alpine Artisans, Inc. (AAI) announced the recipients of the youth grants and the 2017 Ruth Korn Memorial Scholarship recipient at the Alpine Revue: Art Auction and Talent Show May 12.

Lincoln High School Senior Rayna Thompson received the 2017 Ruth Korn Memorial Art Scholarship. Thompson loves her small community and doing art in various forms. She had an AAI youth grant back in 2012 for a sculpture class in Kalispell and displayed many of her paintings at the Alpine Revue.

Thompson will be attending the Flathead Valley Community College (FVCC) where she will be studying goldsmithing and jewelry design in their art program. Her ultimate goal is to start her own business in Lincoln "or at least a branch of it" following her graduation from FVCC.

Lilly Sherrill, a kindergartener from Lincoln Elementary School, was the youngest applicant AAI has ever had. Sherrill wanted to join the other kids who stayed after school for a dance class.

"[In her grant application] She got right to the point and had great graphics," said AAI Scholarship and Grant Committee Chair Dona Aitken who held up a drawing of her dancing. Below the drawing it read, "I wish I could go to dance class."

With her grant, Sherrill will be enrolled in the after school dance class at the Lincoln School next year with Rikki Davis.

Potomac fourth-grader Leah Nelson received a grant to help her go to the clay studio in Missoula. Her great, great, great grandfather was a redware potter and her grandmother is also a potter. In keeping with her family tradition, she wanted to learn more about pottery herself.

Danner Ployhar, also a fourth-grader at Potomac School, is interested in becoming a filmmaker. He will use his grant to take a digital film making class at the Roxy Film Academy in Missoula, Mont.

Condon sixth-grader Kaden Thornsberry likes to play the guitar. He has been playing acoustic guitar for the past two years after receiving an acoustic guitar for his 10th birthday.

The grant committee was impressed that Thornsberry purchased his first electric guitar using money he earned from lawn mowing. He would like to take lessons so he can play classic rock. His grant will give him electric guitar lessons at the Music One Workshop in Kalispell, Mont.

Ovando sixth-grader Iris Swanberg has been taking violin lessons for the past year and a half. She would like to go to the Montana Suzuki Institute Music Camp in Missoula for violin. Her teacher pointed out this is an opportunity for Swanberg to play her violin in an ensemble with other violinists since she is the only student in a school of eight that plays the violin.

Andi Bourne, Pathfinder

Dona Aitken presents Kaden Thornsberry a grant for music lessons at the Music One Workshop in Missoula to learn electric guitar.

Seeley-Swan High School freshman Jayla Kauffman from Condon received a youth grant for the second year. Since she had such a good time at the International Music Camp playing her trombone, she put in for another grant so she could attend again this year.

"The value of the arts to the youth of the community is almost beyond describing. It is incredible," said Scholarship and Youth Grant Committee Member Russ Abolt. "Of all the things Alpine Artisans does this is a highlight, giving young people an opportunity to not only enhance but discover the joy of the arts from the physical arts to the performing arts."

Aitken said that during the past 22 years of the program 57 youth grants of up to $200 each have been awarded to students in grades kindergarten through high school. Twenty-two scholarships were also awarded during that time.


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