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PFund Awards $6,500 to New York Mills and Bertha-Hewitt high school graduates

PFund, the only Minnesota foundation dedicated exclusively to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality, has awarded 18 high school and college students with more than $53,000 in leadership scholarships, according to a press release sent to the Pioneer Journal. Recipients were selected based on leadership, activism and community involvement.

"This is a powerful group of leaders," said Kate Eubank, the foundation's executive director. "As out, proud LGBT and allied students in their schools and communities, these students are making significant impact on their communities."

PFund received 63 applications from students representing communities across the state of Minnesota. A volunteer review panel made award decisions based on applicants' commitment to advancing equality for LGBT communities and demonstrated leadership.

Scholarships range from $2,000 to $5,000, and will be awarded at the foundation's annual Moxie Awards celebration in the fall.

Terry J. Lillis

Carey/ Taylor Music Performance Award ($2,500)

Terry graduated from New York Mills High School in New York Mills, Minn., a community where, he writes, "I am the only person I know who is part of the LGBT community."

An accomplished musician, Terry has been involved with all four types of band offered by his school, as well as multiple other school activities. Upon receipt of this scholarship, he intends to use the recognition to also work with his school counselor on increasing resources for helping students who are coming out. He is particularly concerned about helping younger students feel safe when coming out, working against the bullying that makes it hard to stay out and proud. Terry will attend Hamline University in St. Paul, with an interest in instrumental music education. His particular interest is in marching band, and he hopes to participate in the University of Minnesota's marching band while attending Hamline. His goal is to learn from this experience and use his music education experience to work with students in marching band programs.

Daniel R. Harren

Dr. Tom Knabel Academic Achievement Award ($4,000)

Daniel graduated from Bertha-Hewitt High School in Bertha, Minn. He is an out student leader at his high school and in his community. With particular interest in the arts, he has participated in: the Minnesota Boy's State Band, two different high school bands, two high school choirs, and his high school musical. He is president of his school's chapter of the National Honor Society, as well as a state officer for the Minnesota Association of Honor Societies.

With a commitment to service, Daniel is an active volunteer in his community. "Perhaps the most important quality possessed by Daniel is the ability to advocate for LGBT people in a community where the values may not be accepted by the majority of the population," writes one of his teachers. "When discussing issues related to LGBT and social justice, Daniel asks very informed questions that respectfully challenge his peers to examine their worldviews and the beliefs that underlie them."

Daniel plans to major in biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.