Wild Rivers Coast Alliance (WRCA), Bandon Dunes Golf Resort and Brookings-Harbor High School are pleased to announce that Brookings-Harbor High School Class of 2021 seniors Nohemi Fernandez and Aaron Parkinson are recipients of the Jim Seeley Memorial Scholarship.
The Jim Seeley Memorial Scholarship was created to honor the longtime WRCA Executive Director in his role of bridging community needs with leadership and grant assistance. Each scholarship given is a four-year renewable full-tuition scholarship worth $80,000. Recipients of this scholarship have shown outstanding character, high academic achievement, and demonstrate collaboration with others throughout their high school years.
The annual scholarship is awarded to one male and one female high school student in the WRCA service area, which includes high schools in Brookings-Harbor, Gold Beach, Port Orford-Langlois, Bandon, Coquille, Myrtle Point, and Powers. This is the second year awarded, and the first time Brookings-Harbor students have received the award.
Both students graduated on Saturday, June 5, with the news of this major scholarship coming in the days after graduation via Zoom video calls with the representatives of Bandon Dunes, WRCA, and the Oregon Community Foundation on the call to announce the amount of the award and share the story of Jim Seeley. Aaron was notified on June 8th, and Nohemi on Monday, June 28th.
“I was speechless,” recalled Aaron of hearing the news. “All I could do was sit there awestruck. My whole family was surprised, me most of all. I don't personally think that there is that much that sets me apart from my peers, but I am very thankful that I can be so lucky as to get the full ride.”
Aaron participated in Career Technical Education classes and FIRST Robotics competitions while at BHHS.
“I've spent most of my life wondering if going $80,000 into debt was worth the degree. I've spent almost ⅛ of my life working at Wild River Pizza just to make sure that I can be a little more prepared to pay off that massive amount of money. As the first of my family going to college it means so much to know that I won't have to worry about finances after high school. My entire scholastic career has led to this point, and I am very grateful to the Bandon Dunes Scholarship foundation, they have definitely helped change my life for the better,” Aaron added.
During Nohemi’s call, Bandon Dunes Golf Resort General Manager Don Crowe shared how the Keiser family, owners of the internationally famous resort near Bandon, wanted to honor Jim Seeley after his death in 2020 and set up this scholarship fund for students with financial need.
Crowe praised Nohemi for outstanding character and collaborative leadership and for taking challenging classwork in high school, being active in student government, soccer, and tutoring her peers.
“I have to admit, I was not expecting to hear this news,” Nohemi reflected after logging off the call, and completing a shift at the Brookings DQ Grill & Chill. “I knew that all of my hard work throughout high school would pay off eventually, however, I never imagined that it would be through a full-ride scholarship and I could not be more grateful for this opportunity. This scholarship means a huge deal to me as well as it does to my family. It is a financial relief that has turned my dreams into goals.”
Nohemi plans to attend the University of Oregon in the fall and major in Clinical Psychology with hopes of attaining her Doctorate of Medicine and becoming a bilingual psychiatrist. Aaron plans to attend Oregon State University and major in Engineering Technology with hopes to make his mark on the electric automotive industry in the future.
Learn more about Jim Seeley and his legacy at https://wildriverscoastalliance.com/jim-seeley.
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