Community editor and columnist Kris Capps is a longtime resident of Fairbanks and Denali Park. Contact her at, in the office at 459-7546 or by cell at 322-6334. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMKris.

Lathrop Spirit Rock

Lathrop High School's Spirit Rock Tuesday morning, August 20, 2019. The Fairbanks North Star Borough School District scored above average in the latest statewide performance evaluations, the state Department of Education and Early Development reported Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019.

At their 55th high school reunion, seven graduates of Lathrop High School’s Class of 1961 came up with a way to give back to their alma mater and graduating high school seniors.

These alumni, now successful business people, developed the Lathrop High School Alumni Scholarship Fund. It is intended to help students who are smart, but underperforming, yet have gone on to apply themselves and now have the potential to be successful in the next phase of their lives.

Three of the self-described “scholarship dreamers,” C.B. Bettisworth, Alan Richardson and Claudia Harris, acted on that vision and collected more than $6,000 to open a bank account to launch this new scholarship. It didn’t take long for donations to expand the fund to $15,000 and to date, it sits at $16,980.93.

After much discussion, the founding group decided to call it the “LHS Alumni Scholarship” instead of the “LHS Class of ‘61 Scholarship” to ensure that the donor base will expand and that the donation of many alumni from many classes will help build the scholarship fund and make a difference.

The fund will be managed by the Alaska Community Foundation. This is a statewide platform for philanthropy that connects people who care about causes that matter, according to the organizers. It manages more than 500 accounts including endowment funds and scholarship funds.

The new scholarship fund is currently a pre-endowed fund. At the $15,000 level, one $2,000 scholarship will be awarded next year. Once the fund reaches $50,000, it will be fully endowed and 4-5% of the fund will be granted as scholarships.

Here are the scholarship criteria: financial need; attend Lathrop High School for at least three years; cumulative GPA (grade point average) of at least 2.25 and demonstrate significant academic improvement in the two years before graduation unless the GPA is at least 3.0; submit an essay describing nonacademic activities while attending LHS, volunteer work, work experience and general life experiences. The essay should also include future goals and plans. Student must be accepted and attend an accredited post-secondary college, junior college or trade school offering a recognized degree or certification located in the United States.

Recipients of the grant may apply for a renewal for three additional years if they meet those requirements and remain in good standing at the institution they attend.

The selection committee will likely be the Lathrop High School principal or assistant principal, a current Lathrop teacher who has significant contact with the senior class and a retired Lathrop teacher who is a member of the Fairbanks Retired Teachers’ Association.

In addition to Bettisworth, Harris and Richardson, the LHS Alumni Scholarship Fund Founders include Jeff Cook (Class of ‘62), James Moran, Stefanie O’Brien and Margaret Cox Rich (Class of ‘68).

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Reach columnist/community editor Kris Capps at Call her at the office 459-7546. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMKris.