During a banquet held on Tuesday, May 15, Christian Adderson, Mesquite Gaming and Mesquite Amateur Representative, unofficially presented Makenzie Leishman the single largest local scholarship award given to a 2018 graduate of Virgin Valley High School. The Bruce King Memorial Scholarship, in the amount of $6500 will be officially awarded to Leishman at the closing banquet on May 30 for the Mesquite Amateur Golf Tournament. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

As high school graduates around the country are winding down their high school years and gearing up for college/trade school adventures, Virgin Valley High School students are off to a roaring start thanks to the Mesquite community who generously greased a lot of seniors’ pockets with a serious amount of scholarship money.

On Friday, May 25, Virgin Valley High School Students will graduate in a ceremony to be held at the high school at 7 p.m.; the final leg of their initial journey and finally the year all their academic and extracurricular primary educational work paid off in both personal and financial success.

During a banquet held on Tuesday, May 15, graduating seniors received a whopping $100,468 in scholarships just from local organizations, businesses and individuals. That amount is certainly a generous gift for the graduates’ outstanding achievements and extraordinary efforts but also testament to an entire community that truly cares about their futures.

Much of the scholarship money donated by the local organizations was obtained through community fundraising efforts making the Mesquite community, as a whole, responsible for starting its youth on a smoothly paved path to success.

Many of the senior student names’ were heard several times over the course of the award portion of the ceremony.

These were the student who made a significant difference in the time they walked the halls of the school in both their classrooms and outside in their community.

One graduate, whose name was heard consistently for her outstanding achievements during the awards presentation, was named only twice throughout the scholarship portion of the evening, she was unofficially awarded a substantial scholarship during the banquet but her name will be heard once more.

On Wednesday, May 30, Virgin Valley graduate Makenzie Leishman will “officially” receive the single largest, local scholarship award. The Bruce King Memorial Scholarship, in the amount of $6,500 will be awarded to Leishman at the closing banquet for the Mesquite Amateur Golf Tournament.

Since 2013, Mesquite Gaming and the Bruce King Memorial Board have been rewarding one Virgin Valley High School senior in memory of King.

King participated in the first 10 years of the Mesquite Amateur Tournaments before passing from cancer in 2012. The board is made up of Mesquite Amateur participants who played alongside King and wish to carry out his passion for education.

Leishman has gone above and beyond throughout her high school career and is one of nine valedictorians of her class. She is also the vice president of the National Honor Society, was the senior class treasurer and plans to continue her education and earn a degree in business with an emphasis in entrepreneurship.

Makenzie was on her class trip and couldn’t be reached by the MLN, but when her mother, Jennifer, was asked about Makenzie’s award she said, “Makenzie is so excited and grateful to be receiving this scholarship. She was as surprised as everyone was, as it was kept a secret. Not even school staff knew who would be getting this. She is pleased that her hard work over the years has been recognized.

“She has a strong interest in business, especially online businesses. She comes from a family of business owners and is familiar with the labor and rewards of entrepreneurial endeavors. She plans on getting a degree in business with an emphasis on entrepreneurship. She knows that she will have to work hard to fulfill her dreams, but fortunately, she is not afraid of hard work. She has what it takes to persevere.”

A large portion of the local scholarship awards, a potential $47,000 of it, came from Joe and Dixie Bowler. The Bowler’s began this scholarship fund years ago and offer $500 each to all graduating seniors each year. The students have the potential to receive the money after their first semester of college if the student has a GPA of 2.0 or higher but no lower than a “D” grade in any one class, they must have also completed 12 credits.

Students must attend their first semester of college right after graduation with the exceptions given to students who are going on an LDS mission or entering the military. Those students have the potential to receive their $500 when their mission or military service is complete.