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Students awarded Ifft scholarships

January 2, 2007
ISU Marketing and Communications

Kelsi Hardison of Highland High School, Derek Sluder of Century High School and Breanna Thompson of Pocatello High School have won 2006 Ifft Leadership Scholarships to Idaho State University.

The scholarship program was established by the late G. Nicholas Ifft III, former publisher of the Idaho State Journal, and Sara White Ifft. The two-year full-tuition scholarships are awarded annually to local high school graduates who have shown exceptional leadership qualities but who might not qualify for academic scholarships. The 2006-2007 recipients make a total of 37 who have received the leadership scholarships.

“These leadership scholarships help our local youth who might not otherwise receive opportunity for scholarships at ISU,” said Nicholas Tsakrios, chair of the selection committee and chief financial advisor at Merrill Lynch in Idaho Falls.

“ISU and southeast Idaho continue to benefit from the Ifft family’s generosity,” said Dr. Kent Tingey, ISU vice president for university advancement. “Gifts like the leadership scholarships put talented students in position to provide positive direction for their communities.”

School principals and counselors make nominations to the Ifft Foundation Board which selects the winners. Other board members besides Tsakrios include Mark Buckalew, branch manager of A.G. Edwards in Pocatello, and Richard W. Garvin, who is retired.

“I’m proud to be involved in the selection process for the Ifft Leadership Scholarships,” said Tsakrios. “Sara Ifft and the late Nick Ifft have been great supporters of eastern Idaho communities and the students in those communities. The Iffts are excited and pleased to offer scholarships to those great young achievers.”

Hardison plans a career in health professions, and while in high school she competed on the softball and swim teams. She volunteered at the hospital and was also involved in the Kiwanis student organization Key Club.

“I am the first one out of my family to go to college and hope to be the first to graduate as well,” Hardison said.

Sluder was involved in choir, drama and band in high school. He played the tuba and the trombone. He was also the recipient of the Semper Fidelis Music Award for being a strong leader.

“At ISU I am going for a degree in music education, where I will be able to not only teach music, but teach kids how to be leaders as was done for me,” Sluder said.

Thompson took two blocks of health-professions classes her junior year to get her certified nursing assistant certificate by the summer break. Since then she has worked in assisted-living centers. She has also volunteered at a summer camp for children suffering from muscular dystrophy. Thompson served as a secretary and historian for Key Club and also participated in the Senior Choir. She was given the Air Force and Science Award for outstanding academic achievement in 2006. Thompson stated in her application that some of her qualifications for the award were her multiple leadership positions as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She plans to complete the registered nursing program at ISU.

Ifft was president of the Scripps-Ifft Newspapers with dailies and weeklies in five states. From 1965 to 1984 he was president and general manager of the Idaho State Journal, becoming publisher emeritus at his departure.


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