July 7, 2022 – Pierce County, Wash. — This year marks the 22nd anniversary of the annual
Willie Stewart Community Service Scholarship. From the very beginning, United Way of Pierce
County (UWPC) has supported this scholarship program to recognize a select number of Pierce
County high school seniors who demonstrate a tireless commitment to volunteering in their
This year's cohort of 11 recipients hails from high schools across the county, including Charles
Wright Academy, Bethel High School, Bonney Lake High School, Dr. Dolores Silas High
School, Lakes High School and Rogers High School. Recipients were selected based on their
leadership, impact, service, and commitment to service beyond high school. These 11 students
performed nearly 5800 combined hours of community service. Two students completed over
1000 hours on their own!
United Way and local leader Willie Stewart granted $2,500 to each scholarship recipient.
Recipients will use their awards to help pay tuition at colleges and universities across the
country. On behalf of the entire community, United Way congratulates the following students for
their dedication to giving back through volunteerism: Cannon Combs, Taylor Galbreath,
Shanalyn Goulding, Kylie Hammett, Kaelen Hoseth, Isha Hussein, Jessica Konop, Alison
McDougall, Julia Odhiambo, Zana Stewart, and Braden Wesenburg.
United Way has partnered with Willie Stewart for all 22 years of the scholarship's existence to
celebrate the Pierce County high school seniors most dedicated to community service. Stewart
and his good friend, the late Karl Anderson, started the program after Stewart ran for the Tacoma
School Board in 1999. Anderson was his campaign treasurer. When the successful campaign was
over, they had funds leftover, and Anderson suggested they be used to start a scholarship
program for young volunteers in the community. Stewart wanted a large, recognizable
organization to oversee the program's administration, so he took the idea to UWPC's CEO at the
time, Rick Allen. Allen loved the idea. In 2000, the program honored its first cohort of seniors.
As an educator, a veteran and a community leader, Stewart continues to be an inspiration for
generations of Pierce County students. "The future of this nation is going to be based on
volunteerism," Stewart says. "We need more people born with heart and compassion. The only
way we'll get out of our situation is with love, respect, and getting involved. Community service
is the first step."
United Way of Pierce County collaborates to break the cycle of poverty by removing barriers
and focusing on long-term solutions. By helping build strong families and successful kids, we
create a community that will thrive.
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