The Rural Alaska Honors Institute, or RAHI, was busy this week celebrating a large donation from Wells Fargo, as well as its 35th cap and gown graduation ceremony.
Although this week marked the end for the 35th installment of RAHI, it started off with a donation from Wells Fargo.
Over the last 10 years, Wells Fargo has donated almost $500,000 to the RAHI program.
At a check signing ceremony on Monday, July 10th, the financial institution handed over $25,000 dollars in front of the 42 students who participated in this year's program.
Community Development Manager for Wells Fargo, Judith Crotty discusses why it is so vital for businesses, including Wells Fargo, to help fund RAHI.
"I would really encourage other businesses to look into supporting RAHI. Last year they had 68 youth across Alaska be able to participate in this and this year we only had slots for 45 due to reductions in support for the RAHI program. And if we do not as a state invest in our youth, our state is not going to have good leaders going forward."
On Thursday, July 13th in the Shaible auditorium on the UAF campus, the students, teachers, friends and family gathered to see the culmination of six weeks of the intensive curriculum including academic, physical fitness, and civic responsibility.
Out of over 200 applicants, only 42 were accepted into the program.
Brian Conwell, this year's traditional valedictorian for RAHI, was not initially part of the chosen applicants. The self-described "RAHI Reject" was at first an alternate in March, but later found out that he made it into the program in early May.
The 4.0 student from Unalaska has a message for those who are interested in applying for next year's program.
"I would focus on your grades, focus on your standardized tests STT and SAT. Just be a really good person overall and just think about the way you act around people. I think my School Study teachers said that it's nice to be important but it's more important to be nice."
Ana Stringer was awarded valedictorian for the RAHI research class, as well as a $1500 scholarship to UAF, and $200 for her volunteering efforts.
The resident of Utqiakvic discusses how RAHI has prepared her for her continuing academic journey.
"RAHI has an immense impact on the way I see my academic future. Not only does it prepare you for college in the rigurous acedemic courses, it prepares you to be in new experiences and new settings with people you've never met before."
This year's RAHI students were over achievers in over achieving. They broke the record for the amount of straight-A students with 18 total, as well as the highest GPA's ever in the program, and they had a combined 620 hours of community service.
Their hard work and determination show that they are ready to become tomorrow's leaders.