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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 27, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 21
GSBA Scholarship Awards Dinner a night to remember
Section One
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GSBA Scholarship Awards Dinner a night to remember

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

A whopping $150,000 was given to 38 scholars at the annual Greater Seattle Business Association (GSBA) Scholarship Awards Dinner on May 20. In addition, over $100,000 was collected from the 400 attendees at the dinner to support the GSBA Scholarship Fund.

'This year's GSBA Scholarship Dinner will stay with those of us who attended it for years to come,' GSBA Executive Director Louise Chernin told Seattle Gay News. 'The stories of our scholars were deeply moving and, in case we had any doubt, we heard firsthand what a harsh world it still is for our LGBTQ youth.'

Perhaps the power of the evening was seeing firsthand the resiliency and determination of our students to succeed, to get involved, and to work to create a more just world for others, she said.

'Their struggles and triumphs were met with standing ovation after standing ovation and a generous outpouring of pride, encouragement, and over $100,000 in donations made to the fund that night,' said Louise.

According to GSBA officials, the new Bright Horizons Scholarship was presented for the first time, endowed by President of Horizon Air Glenn Johnson and his partner, Michael Melancon of The Washington Firm, Ltd.

Overall, the night was a wonderful success.

'From 17 to 45 years old, from Yakima to Hoquiam, our students at the GSBA Scholarship Dinner on Friday night represented every geographic part of our state and all the multiplicity of identities within our community,' wrote Gail Benzler, a media representative for GSBA. 'Each of our 38 students was welcomed on stage as we listened with rapt attention while they told their stories. The challenges we heard about were heartbreaking but the triumphs we were witness to were monumental. We laughed and we cried together.'

'Even though we were a room of 400 people, we felt like a close-knit family beaming with pride as our students received our scholarships,' Benzler wrote. 'What joy we felt to even to play a small role in supporting their dreams and aspirations.'

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