Each year, Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness gives graduating seniors from the high schools within the three counties the proposed wilderness lies in a chance to write about their favorite experience in the wild. The best submission from each school in Sanders and Lincoln Counties in Montana and Bonner County in Idaho wins a $300 prize that can be spent on whatever the student wishes, although it is the hope of FSPW that they will use it to further their education. The best essay overall earns another $300
This year’s winner from Libby High is Emily Mossburg, who wrote about the travails and triumpsh of being a Kootenai Outdoor Adventure Program mentor. Kelly Butts-Spirito from Thompson Falls submitted a revealing essay about three-and-a-half days alone in wilderness.Wade Stevens from Clark Fork was awarded $300 for his piece outlining a walk in the Scotchmans north of Clark Fork. Noxon senior Phylan Sweeney had an adventurous — and snowy — day at Leigh Lake at the center of her tale. Bryce Barba, a home school student from Kootenai, submitted a hilarious piece about the hazards of camping in a national park without making reservations.
The co-winners for best essay overall were both Sandpoint High School students, Soncirey Mitchell and Peik Lund Anderson. Both sent in lyrical works that were heartfelt and near poetry. Soncirey wrote about a close encounter of the elk kind, while Peik detailed a long-distance run in the desert, punctuated with the random thoughts of a runner. Peik and Soncirey were both awarded $450
“I always enjoy reading the essays,” said FSPW program coordinator Sandy Compton. “The kids really like the theme, and tell some great stories.”
FSPW has been giving local seniors scholarships for ten years. Many of them are posted online at https://www.scotchmanpeaks.org/category/blog/ The 2018 winners will be posted soon.