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McChord OSC awards scholarships to Air Force teens, spouses

Graham-Kapowsin High student awarded $4,000 Joan Wasserstrom Student Scholarship

Joan Wasserstrom awards Graham-Kapowsin High School senior Bryce Fields with a scholarship certificate during a ceremony Tuesday at McChord Field. /Tyler Hemstreet

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Bryce Fields is extremely grateful for all the different things he experienced growing up in an Air Force family.

Those experiences have helped shape him into the person he is today and have given him some direction of where he wants to go in the future.

Fields received a nice boost to help him along on his future path Tuesday during a ceremony at McChord Field, as he was awarded the McChord Officers' Spouses' Club's Joan Wasserstrom Student Scholarship. The $4,000 gift will go toward Fields' education at Western Washington University when he starts in the fall.

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. The scholarship funds come from a variety of sources, including fundraising efforts by club members, proceeds from the base thrift store and the scholarship auction. The program was established to aid the continued education of students who have demonstrated the highest personal and intellectual qualities through their superior academic performance. The OSC encourages applicants who have also participated in and have led extracurricular and community activities, volunteered, trained and/or held outside of school employment to apply for the scholarships.

In Fields' application essay, he detailed his experience being a part of a military family.

"I talked about how important the base was and living on base and appreciating how examplary the people are here and how good of an example they set," said Fields, a Graham-Kapowsin High School senior. "I didn't really realize that until I lived off base. And it was just amazing to me how much they were role models in my childhood."

He also described how the many moves with his family affected him.

"It really helped strengthen my adaptability in different circumstances," he said. "It really opened me up to new people and new cultures, which was really helpful in my leadership opportunities and just being really friendly and outgoing."

Despite the fact it took him nearly a month and about seven drafts to finish the application, it was all worth it when he was notified he had won.

"It was crazy ... I ran around my house clapping wildly for like 20 minutes," said Fields, whose father, Thomas Lee, is currently stationed at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. with the 412th Logistics Test Wing.

Fields wants to study behavioral neuroscience and international business when he starts at Western in the fall.

"I've always been really fascinated with the brain," he said.

He's currently taking a University of Washington biology class offered through G-K that's one of two of its kind in the nation.

"We're learning all about the brain and genetics and how addiction influences everything," he said. "The human mind is so expansive and so interesting."

Other high school scholarship recipients included Jacob Hatzinger ($3,000), Darcie Olive ($3,000), Peyton Lindsley ($2,500), Ryan Toney ($2,500), Alexis Richardson ($2,000), Raymond Kenworth ($2,000), Kimberley Terpening ($2,000), Sara Ellington ($1,500) and Deborah Schloemer ($1,500). Spouse recipients included Rachel Van Devender ($4,000; Jeanne Czubaj Scholarship), Kimberley Caldwell ($3,000), Claudia Crosby ($2,000), Aylah Clark ($1,500) and Kimberly Blankenstein ($1,000).

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