Point of View: Long journey applying to college pays off in scholarship

Katarina Hockema

Katarina Hockema

Senior year of high school is a whirlwind blur of deadlines, grades, and most importantly, applications. After all, the best way to tell someone about yourself, your aspirations, and your qualifications to meet those aspirations is to send them a file of what is, essentially, you. Whether you are applying to your dream school, an internship, or a job, consideration of this file can make all of the difference in the world. However, this consideration is not always guaranteed, and is never an easy feat.

Junior year, an admissions officer from Dartmouth College paid a visit to my AP English Literature and Composition class. He informed us of what it takes to stand out in this daunting process we were all anxious yet excited to begin: college applications. He told us of the importance of extracurriculars, grades, and personal connections in high school, as expected, but what stuck out the most was his emphasis on the “it” factor of a successful application. What can you, especially, bring to the table of higher education?

This not only sparked my college journey, but intensified my desire to improve my academia and school/community involvement.

September. College fair month. Questions arose, and were, hopefully, soon to be answered.

“What college is right for me?”

What can I afford?”

“Where do I see myself being successful?”

I visited booths for different universities across the Northwest coast, including Pacific Lutheran University, Southern Oregon University, Linfield, University of Montana, and the University of Idaho. This last visit was special, as it is the college that I’m proud to announce my attendance at this fall. (Go Vandals!)

It was through the discovery of this university that I invested myself into pursuing a higher education in journalism, specifically, broadcasting and digital media. I had always had a knack for language arts, social studies, public communication, debate, and artistic performance. This field encompasses these creative skills, and allows me to grow in a collaborative environment that will encourage the improvement of my passions and the fruition of my ambitions. The University of Idaho recognized and appreciated my “it” factor — expressing myself through language, writing, and research.

Investigative journalist.

Social media director.

Magazine editor.


Whatever I decide to do, I knew that the University of Idaho was my perfect match in trying to achieve it.

Of course, beyond these dreams, there is a price tag.

Now, we’ve come full circle. Scholarships, and their applications. The City of Homer has always been recognized for its strong sense of community, whether this appears in the care for the environment, the elderly, or, in this case, the teenagers in pursuit of college, trade school, etc. In particular, Homer’s Kachemak Bay Rotary Club embodies this care in its many programs to enrich our community and the world. By offering scholarships to the students of Homer, the Rotary Club enables these students to invest in their future.

Personally, I have several close peers that are involved with the Rotary Club in some way, most commonly through the foreign exchange program. Knowing my own skills, aspirations, and values, and how they aligned with the values of the club, I applied for their scholarship, hopeful that they would recognize my dedication to my academics, my passions, and my education.

Thankfully, on May 13, I was awarded with a $1,000 scholarship from the Rotary Club at Homer High School’s scholarship ceremony. Everything that I had cultivated since that fateful Dartmouth presentation had paid off, and I was that much closer to achieving my greatest goal, made possible by what is truly most important: my community.

Katarina Hockema is a graduated senior from Homer High School’s class of 2019. She plans to attend the University of Idaho to pursue a bachelor’s degree in broadcasting and digital media within the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences in the fall.

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