*Bryan Barnett II, Thermon Jackson honored as youth scholarships recipients
*Part of annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Banquet at SPSCC
*Scholarships awarded by The Thurston Group of Washington State
South Puget Sound Community College students Bryan Barnett II and Thermon “Tre” Jackson were named youth scholarship recipients by The Thurston Group of Washington State at the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Banquet. Not only were they the first SPSCC students to receive the scholarships, but it was also the first time non-high-school students have earned the scholarships.
Barnett and Jackson, along with six area high school students, were all awarded the $1,000 scholarships in front of the 275 attendees at the banquet, which took place on Jan. 16 in the Student Union Building at SPSCC.
SPSCC Director of Diversity and Equity Eileen Yoshina said the honors could not go to more deserving students. Barnett and Jackson teamed up to help form the Black Students Union on campus.
“Together, Tre and Bryan identified a need on campus and worked to fill it - to support themselves, their community, and our campus as a whole,” Yoshina said. “They are truly wonderful representatives of what SPSCC students can do in the world.”
Yoshina said both bring unique talents to the college, making them outstanding fits for the scholarships.
“Tre makes a great candidate for this scholarship because he is such a smart, talented young leader with a passion for his own success as a college student, but also for African-American students overall,” Yoshina said. “Tre took the time to research retention and completion rates for African-American college students on a national level and saw that we all have work to do in making sure more college students complete their goals. He works hard to encourage other students and to remain a successful student himself.”
Barnett has also been an active voice for change on campus, Yoshina said.
“Bryan has shown great leadership in his time on campus by noticing how few black students we have on campus and that there was a need for community building and support for those students,” Yoshina said. “The mission of the Black Students Union is to challenge negative stereotypes about African-Americans, to support the black students we have on campus, and promote student success for our African-American SPSCC students. The club has done all three and is a valuable sense of support and encouragement for the students who are participating.”
The banquet — a partnership between SPSCC, the Thurston Group of Washington State and Olympia Federal Savings — is an annual event honoring the legacy and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Along with the presentation of the youth scholarships by SPSCC Trustee and founding member of the Thurston Group Barbara Clarkson, this year’s banquet also featured a keynote address by CBS Sunday Morning contributor, actress and comedian Nancy Giles. The evening also featured musical performances by Jennifer Hermann and the SPSCC Chamber Choral Ensemble, and several community awards were presented by the Thurston Group.