Setting an example for her younger siblings was a major reason Jacqueline Sandoval was excited to earn a scholarship at the Fort Lewis Family Member Scholarship Fund Awards Presentation at the Family Resource Center on Lewis Main May 31.
The 21-year-old University of Hawaii junior was surrounded by family as her 6-year-old brother, Jacob Diederich, a kindergartener at Carter Lake Elementary School, placed a lei around her neck. Sisters Jennovi, 11, a fifth-grader at Carter Lake, and Janine, 12, a sixth-grader at Woodbrook Middle School, handed her a bouquet of red roses.
Her mom, Janell Diederich, snapped photos of Sandoval to preserve the proud family moments.
Sandoval’s stepfather is retired Chief Warrant Officer 2 John Diederich, and she is one of four family member university students who received scholarships at the event. Twenty-six high school students and eight military spouses also received scholarships at the event for $60,550 in awards.
The Fort Lewis Family Member Scholarship Fund has been providing funds for Army scholars since 1989. Money comes from various donor businesses and organizations, including the Fort Lewis Thrift Shop, Lewis Community Spouses Club, Sergeant Major Association of the Northwest, Amazon Smile, J.C. Penney Co., My Giving Program and private donors.
McChord Field offers a separate scholarship program for Air Force family members.
“This is a record number of awardees this year,” said Vicki Jurgensmeier, vice chair of the Fort Lewis Family Member Scholarship Fund.
The scholarships are expected to help with the educational goals of each recipient, including Sandoval, who said she grew up moving frequently as an “Army brat.” She spent her last few years of high school at Leilehua High in Wahiawa, Hawaii.
“This (scholarship) helps with my housing,” she said. “I do get some help from my (stepfather), but it’s so expensive for housing in Hawaii.” “With (a scholarship from the University of Hawaii) and this scholarship, I will have all my housing paid for.”
As well as being a University Recipient for Spouse award, Shannon Brown, of Lacey, earned the Claire Marsh Scholarship. The scholarship is a separate award funded by the Fort Lewis Thrift Shop and named in honor of a woman who was instrumental in helping preserve the JBLM Family Resource Center, according to Jurgensmeier.
Brown, a mother of three teen daughters and wife of Sgt. 1st Class Kelly Brown, 2nd Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 2nd infantry Division, graduated from Kentridge High School, in Kent, Wash. After 18 years of military life, the couple plans to retire in the Northwest.
Shannon Brown is currently a para-educator at Lacey Elementary School in Lacey. She plans to earn her teaching certificatein elementary education.
“I was a stay-at-home mom for a lot of years,” she said. “And now, with my daughters old enough, it’s my turn and I will be able to spread my wings. I’m blessed to be able to work with kids in a school that’s (ranked second) in the poverty level for the county. My heart leans toward helping children who need direction and a lot of love.”