Eight students stand in a line looking out at a very green Mono Lake with waves on it and with a tufa island and the Mono Craters in the distance, and they are all wearing cool-weather outdoor gear.

2012 Mono Lake Committee Scholarship recipients

We are proud to announce the recipients of the 2012 Mono Lake Committee Scholarship: Cory Forbes, Natasha McCullough, and Alek McKee of Lee Vining High School, and Cavanagh Gohlich of Coleville High School all wrote essays that won them each $500 to help with their education expenses.

The 2012 Mono Lake Committee Scholarship winners, from the top left: Cory Forbes, Alek McKee, Natasha McCullough, and Cavanagh Gohlich (with Mono Lake Committee Office Director Rosanne Catron).

Students respond to one of these two essay questions: How has Mono Lake or the Mono Basin influenced your life and your choice to go to college? What do you expect to do to change the world for the better with particular regard to solving natural resource issues?

From Cory Forbes’ essay: “The lake is an ever-changing being that has the power to equally change the people around it. But in many cases, this change can only happen when people allow it to change them. For me, this change happened, not in a single, snapping moment, but slowly, like the day-today-process the lake itself goes through. The lesson I learned from it is simple: that blue jewel is a constant reminder of no matter how horrible things get, there is still the natural beauty of the world to look up to, look down on, look around to, and take in. I can only wish that more of my peers recognized it, because even though there is natural beauty everywhere, there is only one Mono Lake.” Click here for Cory’s complete essay.

From Alek McKee’s essay: “This moment has now made me look for the good things rather than curse the bad. I now go to an amazing school, with amazing teachers and students that is located right outside an amazing natural landmark. This has given me the ability to see the good in everything whether it is college or even the future. Leaving Mono County to go off to college is going to be a tough and hard move, however the experiences I have received from living here will help me no matter where I go.” Click here for Alek’s complete essay.

From Natasha McCullough’s essay: “When I think about myself, I feel that I wouldn’t be as respectful of nature as I am now. I have grown up here, and been able to see Mono Lake, Lee Vining Creek and Yosemite National Park which is amazing and beautiful. I have an amazing spiritual connection with Mono Lake. I see that lake, not only as a tourist spot, but somewhat part of me. It’s like my way to find home. My good luck charm for sports, my spot to go sit and relax and watch the sunrise or sunset, and most of all, my home. I love the lake.” Click here for Natasha’s complete essay.

From Cavanagh Gohlich’s essay: “I plan on attending Humboldt State in the fall and studying environmental sciences. I feel like if I had not lived in an area that is so tuned to the natural world, I would not have even considered a future in studying the environment … It is an honor to say that I grew up so close to Mono Lake, and have been able to enjoy what it has brought to this community, after the hard work wonderful people have put into protecting it for future generations to see.” Click here for Cavanagh’s complete essay.

Congratulations to all of the graduates, and if you are interested in supporting the Mono Lake Committee Scholarship please contact Communications Director Arya Degenhardt at (760) 647-6595.

Top photo by Ava Stavros.