Rachel Bauer received a pretty welcome addition to her college piggy bank on Tuesday.
The Bayfield High School senior was floored when she received a scholarship she hadn't applied for, to the tune of $20,000.
As the valedictorian of this year's graduating class, she is receiving the gift from another valedictorian, from the BHS Class of 1941.
Her name was Ida Leyshon Whitcomb, and she ran a successful accounting practice in Denver. She died last fall, leaving a final bequest to her alma mater. She attended the Columbus School, one of the one-room schoolhouses in Bayfield, with her siblings. Graduating at the age of 16, she attended Ft. Lewis for a few years, then the Barnes School of Business in Denver. Whitcomb's daughter contacted BHS counselor Amy Miglinas and asked if the money could be given as a scholarship to the BHS valedictorian, and the Bayfield Education Foundation stepped in to handle overseeing the funds, with $5,000 to be awarded for the next four years.
Bauer has a 4.1 grade point average, "but she is so much more than her GPA," Miglinas said Tuesday during an award ceremony in front of the foundation's donor wall outside the Bayfield Performing Arts Center. She's a top volleyball player at BHS and also volunteers for several community and school activities.
Bauer plans to attend Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, where she wants to study medicine. She already attended a dissection at the school and said it provides an excellent fit for her field of study.
Becky Smith, the president of the foundation, said the gift from Leyshon Whitcomb is a wonderful bequest that will help another Bayfield student succeed in life.