King City Lions Club provides $500,000-plus in scholarships over 26 years

243
King City Lions Club members Bill Gerkin (far left) and Rick Castle (far right) stand with the Tualatin High School seniors who were awarded Lions club scholarships at the school’s awards ceremony in June.
King City Lions Club members Bill Gerkin (far left) and Rick Castle (far right) stand with the Tualatin High School seniors who were awarded Lions club scholarships at the school’s awards ceremony in June. Photo/Jay Chism
- Advertisement -

The King City Lions Club marked a major milestone this year in its decades-long scholarship program. The club has given out an average of about $20,000 per year in scholarships to graduating seniors at Tigard High School and Tualatin High School since 1997, and this year the club surpassed the half-million-dollar mark.

When Lions club member Henry J. Marchion, who was club president in 1981-82, died, he bequeathed to the club an endowment of $350,000, which was invested with the Oregon Community Foundation. The club initially deposited $250,000 and withheld $100,000 in case taxes were required to be paid but ultimately was able to invest the full amount. Every year, the club uses the interest earned for scholarships, never touching the principle. As of this year, 498 awards have been given out to 431 students

Every year the club’s Scholarship Committee decides which scholarship applicants will be awarded funds, except for $6,000 of the total amount. Following Marchion’s wishes, school counselors at THS and TuHS each choose three outstanding students who may not qualify for traditional scholarships to receive a $1,000 scholarship.

Lions club members attend the two schools’ award ceremonies each June to hand out scholarship certificates.

This year two Scholarship Committee members determined the award winners with Harper Pulsipher with the Oregon Community Foundation, who lauded the club’s “incredible history of supporting students.”

 “The three of them decided who would get scholarships and the amounts of each,” said Lions club member Bill Gerkin, who has chaired the Scholarship Committee and presented the awards at the high schools for many years.

The following TuHS seniors received scholarships: Teejay Olomua – $2,500; Henry Cualio Palma – $2,500; and Joyse Gomez-Cortes – $2,500. The three students who received $1,000 scholarships were Alejandro Ayala, Carlos Cunningham and Joseph Patricio.

At THS, senior Abel Amenta won a $2,500 scholarship, and Jessica Zelazguy-Valdo received a $6,000 scholarship; she won a scholarship as a high school senior and will be a college senior but has accrued a lot of student debt and requested an additional scholarship.

THS counselors could not decide between four outstanding students to receive $1,000 awards and asked if all four could receive scholarships, to which the Scholarship Committee agreed. The four $1,000 scholarship winners are Ethan Michaelsen, Leslie Caloca, Gavin Richlick and Diana Rodriguez-Angel.

- Advertisement -