ELKO – Three Elko County seniors won a $1,000 scholarship last week for their thoughts on community service, concluding another year in the Student of the Week program.
Rylee Molyneux, Luna Gonzalez and Heather Morrill were announced as the winners, who were also among the 105 academic, athletic and artistic nominees recognized during the school year.
All nominees received an opportunity for the scholarship by submitting an essay on the topic of giving back to the community and the lessons learned from those experiences.
Molyneux, an Elko High School senior and academic nominee, wrote that participating in multiple clubs and volunteering in local events gave her a new perspective on her family and life.
“Taking part in all of these activities and doing volunteer work made me grateful for all I had,” she said. “I learned this especially during Shop with a Cop. I never had to worry about whether or not I would get presents on Christmas like those kids did. It made me look at my family and made my gratitude grow.”
The academic scholarship was sponsored by Kidwell & Gallagher, and Molyneux said she is planning to attend the University of Utah to major in business administration.
“I’m going to try business. It’s always been interesting to me. U of U has amazing opportunities, and I’m excited to take advantage of all of them,” she said.
For Gonzalez, an athletic nominee from West Wendover High School, community service allowed her to be “an active participant in the community. I can empower individuals with aspiring futures.”
“As an individual within a tight community, giving back to the community is the betterment of the people surrounding me and myself as a young adult into a booming world,” she wrote.
Gonzalez received her scholarship sponsored by the Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital as a surprise during an end-of-year assembly at West Wendover High School on May 27 in front of the student body and faculty. She said she didn’t know what she would do after graduation.
Morrill also received her scholarship as a surprise on May 26 at Spring Creek High School. Her essay described her volunteer activities that range from the National Honor Society to handing out food to the needy at FISH to participating in the restoration of Lamoille Canyon by collecting and dispersing mahogany seeds in the burn area.
“Simply being a good friend can be the best kind of service,” Morrill wrote. “Getting lost in the service of others helps me maintain a good mindset and gratitude for what I have. It helps me forget about my problems which, after put into perspective, are small.”
As for her scholarship sponsored by the Northeastern Nevada Museum, Morrill said she would use it at Brigham Young University and explore her degree options while taking her general classes.
“I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to major in yet,” Morrill said. “I might major in psychology and become a therapist of some sort, but we’ll see where life takes me and what passions I discover.”
Since 2012, the Student of the Week program has recognized hundreds of high school seniors in three categories throughout the Elko County School District and is sponsored by local businesses.
Starting in August, students are nominated by their teachers and counselors in recognition of their achievements. The nominees are published for 35 consecutive weeks in the Tuesday edition of the Elko Daily Free Press.
Scholarships have also been awarded annually to close out the school year.
Below is a gallery of the 2020-2021 Student of the Week Triple A nominees: