The Spokane Scholars Foundation gave out more money Thursday evening than Bob Barker on an average episode of “The Price is Right.”
But there was no screaming, jumping up and down or chest thumping when those judged as the best scholars in Spokane County were announced at a banquet at the Spokane Convention Center (maybe because most said the money would be funding college tuition, not a wild game show-style shopping spree).
Orion Buske insisted his second place award for science achievement was no big deal, even though it came with a check for $2,000.
He seemed more passionate about the experiments he’s working on in a North Central High School lab (something about rainbow trout DNA, and nothing this reporter cares to, or can, explain).
“It’s really good for the students doing what they can to learn, and who don’t think they’re doing anything special,” Buske said about the ceremony.
His teacher told judges that Buske’s achievement is special – actually the most special. He said Buske may be the best science student he’s taught in almost three decades in the classroom.
Officials at each high school in Spokane County provided names to the foundation of their best senior in each category. Panels of judges considered test scores, grade-point averages and other data to pick each field’s top four achievers, who won money donated by area residents and businesses. All the scholars named by each school were invited to the banquet and received a medallion.
“It’s a very aggravating process as a judge because they’re all so good,” said Len Renner, who helped judge the English and foreign language categories. “What these students have accomplished in their young lives is just amazing. You have to sit back in awe.”
Leslie Griffith, of Lewis and Clark High School, won $6,000 for first place finishes in science and English. (This is similar to winning two Showcases, for you “Price of Right” fans.)
“It’s great to be in a room with so many other people whose accomplishments are just so amazing,” she said.
Like other winners, Glen Water, of West Valley High School, gave credit to his teachers, and especially his parents. Water, who with a friend started the Political Debate Association at his school to allow students to hash out the issues of our time, won second place and $2,000 for his work in social studies.
“(My teachers) taught me what I know, but my parents taught me who I am,” Water said. “In the grand scheme of things, I’d rather have a great character than a great intellect.”