Soldotna woman wins state scholarship

Soldotna woman wins state scholarship

Alaska 529’s Scholarship Account Giveaway selects one person to receive $25,000.

A Soldotna woman received an unexpected birthday gift on Monday while out to lunch with her family — a $25,000 scholarship.

Earlier this year, Marta Taylor checked a box on her application for the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend designating that half of her check be put into an Alaska 529 education savings account. Little did she know, checking that box put her in the running for Alaska 529’s Scholarship Account Giveaway, which randomly selects one person to receive $25,000 from that savings account.

Taylor was already celebrating her birthday at Froso’s with her family when she received the good news. Representatives from the Education Trust of Alaska, the group that manages the 529 savings accounts through T. Rowe Price, flew down from Fairbanks to present Taylor with a birthday cake and a giant check.

“This is crazy … that’s a lot of money!” Taylor said.

Rather than using the money for her own tuition she intends to give the scholarship to her daughter, Ella Czarnezki, who is in 10th grade at River City Academy and plans to attend college in a few years.

“An education is such a gift, and to have money to put towards it in Ella’s case is just incredible. I’m thrilled.”

Taylor is currently taking online classes to obtain her degree in computer science and software engineering from Southern New Hampshire University. This will be Taylor’s second degree, as she earned a master’s degree in engineering earlier in life.

“I’m 50, so it’s time to go back to school,” Taylor said. “When I got my master’s degree in engineering I worked my way through school and borrowed student loans and scraped my way through. So to have this to give to my daughter is just such a gift.”

This year was the first time that Taylor checked the box for the 529 education savings account. She said she checked the box for her daughter as well. Czarnezki said that it was a really good feeling knowing that her mom was giving her the scholarship and that both her parents were investing in her future education.

“I don’t know where I want to go yet, but I have a few ideas of what I want to study,” Czarnezki said. “I’m thinking about architecture, or maybe engineering or some kind of science.”

Lael Oldmixon, who is the director of Alaska 529 and presented Taylor with the scholarship on Monday, confirmed that Taylor can use the funds for her daughter’s education.

The money can be used at any accredited institution that accepts federal student aid, she said, so Czarnezki’s options are wide open.

More in News

Rep. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski, right, slices and serves fresh watermelon during North Peninsula Recreation Service Area’s Family Fun in the Midnight Sun at the Nikiski Community Recreation Center in Nikiski, Alaska, on Saturday, June 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
North Peninsula Rec holds annual summer celebration

Attractions at this year’s event included carnival games, food trucks, field games, face painting, live music and demonstrations

The Blood Bank of Alaska’s new Kenai Peninsula center is seen in Soldotna, Alaska, on Monday, June 17, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Blood Bank relaunches permanent center on Kenai Peninsula

The new location joins others in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau and Wasilla

Nathan Nelson directs a kite flying dozens of feet up in the sky above Millennium Square in Kenai, Alaska, during the Kenai Kite Festival on Saturday, June 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Sun, wind, friends and kites

Kiters both experienced and novice gather for Kenai festival

Marchers walk from the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex to Soldotna Creek Park as part of Soldotna Pride in the Park on Saturday, June 3, 2023 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Pride in the Park, other Pride celebrations set for Saturday

The event starts with the Two-Spirit March, which meets at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex at 11:30 a.m.

Signs direct visitors at Seward City Hall on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Seward, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Seward OKs around $362,000 in purchases for Electric Department material

A pair of resolutions were included and passed within the consent agenda

Sockeye salmon are gathered together at a test site for selective harvest setnet gear in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, July 25, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Dipnets for commercial setnet fishers given emergency approval by CFEC

Up to three 12-hour periods of commercial dipnetting “may” be allowed each week from June 20 to July 31

Council member Dave Carey speaks during a meeting of the Soldotna City Council in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna explores its water and sewer expansion fees

The fees are a single charge to people who are newly or differently demanding or utilizing the services of the city’s water and sewer system

Sockeye salmon caught in a set gillnet are dragged up onto the beach at a test site for selective harvest setnet gear in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, July 25, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Disaster determination received for 2023 east side setnet fishery

Disasters have been recognized for 2018, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023

Design Project Manager Steve Noble and Public Involvement Lead Stephanie Queen appear to discuss the Sterling Safety Corridor Improvements project during a meeting of the Soldotna City Council in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Sterling Safety Corridor project to get ‘reintroduction’ at community meetings this month

The corridor begins near Whistle Hill in Soldotna and ends shortly after Swanson River Road in Sterling

Most Read