Local AF kids get scholarships

By Tyler Hemstreet on May 4, 2012

With dreams of becoming a dentist, Jacob Hatzinger knows there are years of school and tuition payments ahead of him.

That's why he's getting an early jump on saving up for college.

The Graham-Kapowsin High School senior is off to a good start. Hatzinger was recently awarded a $3,000 scholarship from the McChord Officers' Spouses' Club as part of its annual Outstanding Student Merit Scholarship Program.

The OSC awards scholarships as part of its welfare program every year to graduating high school students who are dependents of both military and/or civilians at McChord Field and dependent spouses of both military members and/or civilians at McChord Field.

Besides listing his community involvement and other extra curricular activities, Hatzinger submitted an essay detailing the many benefits of growing up in a military family.

"I wrote about the experience of seeing the dedication and hard work of all the different military people around you," said Hatzinger, whose father, Cary, is a retired command chief master sergeant who ended his military career recently but still works on McChord Field in a civilian capacity and belongs to the VFW Post 969 in Tacoma.

Jacob also wrote about his great experience living in Europe while his father was stationed in Germany.

"(The military lifestyle) exposes you to different cultures," he said. "That was an unbelievable experience being in Europe because just seeing how the different culture is and how different it is from America. It's an invaluable experience."

Earlier this year, Jacob earned a $1,000 scholarship from the Veterans of Foreign Wars' Voice of Democracy Program for his audio essay on the topic "Is There Pride In Serving In Our Military?"

His essay was submitted to Post 969 won at the district and state levels and was in the running for a $30,000 scholarship.

Jacob wants to study biochemical engineering at the University of Washington.

"Once I've graduated from there I want to become a dentist," he said. "I'll probably go to a graduate program for that. I'm thinking about (going to the) Armed Forces Medical School."

Steilacoom High school senior Darcie Olive also took home a $3,000 scholarship from the OSC.

"I'm elated," she said with a grin.

Olive is headed to Willamette University in Oregon in the fall. She plans on studying pre-medicine there with hopes of becoming a pediatrician. 

All of the scholarship applicants submitted strong awards packages, and OSC board members looked at those who put in volunteer work in the local community in addition to their scholastic achievements, said Jenn Schnoebelen, OSC scholarship chair.

"With so many thrift shop volunteers putting long hours in, we wanted to make sure (scholarship) recipients were putting hours of service into other locations," Schnoebelen said. "We wanted to make sure that was a match, and we weren't just giving them a scholarship because they just turned in an application and didn't have service."