For twenty six years Rotarians from the Soldotna Rotary Club have hit the streets with over 600 dozen roses to fund their very unique college scholarship program. “Rotary’s moto is ‘Service Above Self’. We were the first service club organized in the U.S.A over 100 years ago and one of our four avenues of service is youth, the generation of Rotarians, so rather than looking at grade point averages or financial need like most scholarship applications we simply ask the applicant what they have done during their high school career to serve or give back to their community. We started out selling roses at $20 a dozen and 26 years later we are still selling them for $20 a dozen. Actually we ask for a $20 contribution for our scholarship fund and we give them a dozen roses, it’s become a tradition,” said Doug Schoessler, who has organized the sale for the last 22 years.
The club awards between five and eight $1,000 scholarships annually depending on the rose sale and this year they report having more than 20 applicants. “When we changed our criteria for the scholarships we went from maybe 4 to 6 applicants to between 20 to 40. It encourages students to do community service and apply for a scholarship based on a different merit, we have some amazing kids in our community and we’re happy to help them go to college and pursue being a giving member of our community. A big thank you to everyone who buys our roses every year, we appreciate it on behalf of the kids that get the help,” said Schoessler.