Back of Beyond Books in Moab, UT, have awarded their second annual literary scholarship to support a local high school graduate starting college.
Owner Andrew Nettell explained that he started the scholarship program last year because he felt it was "time to give back to the community." Noting that "our high school typically graduates fewer than 100 students each year, and we have a tourist-based economy and would be considered a blue-collar town," Nettell concluded that "it is heartening to assist kids in their collegiate dreams."
The store's application criteria includes plans to go on to a two or four year institution, preferably in the liberal arts. To apply, each student must write an essay on how and why literature and reading have positively affected their lives; submit reading lists for the past year, as well as a list of favorite books; and also provide a writing sample. Nettell is adamant that "the scholarship money may only be used to purchase textbooks--real books! No electronic books may be purchased with these funds."
Nettell went on to comment that "Last years winner went to the University of Montana with a declared major in Creative Writing. He also worked for us last summer and is returning this summer. Coincidentally, his freshmen year roommate is the grandson of writer Jim Harrison. We claim no credit for that placement."
Marcee Nettell, Kim Mogensen and Andy Nettell
The 2015 winner, Kim Mogensen, is going to Westminster College, a nationally recognized, private comprehensive liberal arts college in Utah. She has not yet decided on a major, but has a strong interest in English and/or Chemistry. Mogensen grew up in Moab, receiving straight A's throughout high school. Nettell reports that she wrote "a deep emotional essay on the personal affects bullying has had on her and her family." She received $1,100 to help defray textbook costs at Westminster College.