Elgin student wins $61,700 in scholarships

Written by Trish Yerges, Observer Correspondent June 19, 2013 02:21 pm

Elgin High School student and 2012 Elgin Stampede Rodeo Queen Jessie Bottger lassoed nine scholarships worth $61,700 this spring that will help her pay for tuition this fall at Montana State University in Bozeman.

Bottger is the older of two daughters of Gary and Kate Bottger of rural Elgin. She credits her parents as a big influence in her life and a source of encouragement.

“They always told me, ‘You get out what you put into it,’” Bottger said.

She took that advice to heart. At her May 23 graduation ceremony, Bottger accepted the Senior Athlete Award, the “Girl of the Year” plaque from the Elgin Women’s Service Club, and the DeWuh’s-Keckritz Educational Trust Scholarship for $5,000. She also won the John E. Rysdam Memorial Scholarship for $1,000; the Elgin Stampede Queen Scholarship for $500, the OSEA Union Scholarship for $100; and the Rockwall Grange Scholarship for $100.

Aside from the scholarships she accepted at her graduation commencement ceremony, she also received a $40,000 scholarship from Montana State University in Bozeman, an award based on Bottger’s Scholastic Assessment Test scores.

She also won a total of $9,000 from the National Elk Lodge for winning second place in the State Lodge Conference in Hood River last February. Lastly, Bottger won the OTEC Scholarship for $5,000 and the Valley Insurance Scholarship for $1,000.

“Find what you’re comfortable doing and do it well,” she said. “Then start challenging yourself. You can always improve, so never give
up.”

Bottger said she participated in cross country, basketball, Future Farmers of America, the National Honor Society, Future Business Leaders of America, served as treasurer and secretary for art class, and regularly attended the meetings of the Elgin Lions Club and helped with their programs.

She enjoyed music and was proficient at the piccolo and flute. She played in the orchestra at St. Mary’s in Elgin and in the orchestra pit at the Elgin Opera House for Peter Pan. When she’s not playing at the opera house, she ushers there. She also played in the pep band at school and with the Wallowa Valley Orchestra.

She was an avid participant in the Elgin Stampede Rodeo where she was a drill member with her quarter horses, a palomino named Cocoa, 9, and her sorrel, Maggie, 11. Last year, she was chosen the 2012 Elgin Stampede Rodeo Queen, an honor she treasures the most.

“It’s been a big 2-year commitment for me,” said Bottger, “but I loved every second of it.”

Bottger might describe herself as an overachiever, but it’s all paying off now. At her May 23 graduation ceremony, Bottger accepted the Senior Athlete Award, the “Girl of the Year” plaque from the Elgin Women’s Service Club, and the DeWuh’s-Keckritz Educational Trust Scholarship for $5,000. She also won the John E. Rysdam Memorial Scholarship for $1,000; the Elgin Stampede Queen Scholarship for $500, the OSEA Union Scholarship for $100; and the Rockwall Grange Scholarship for $100.

Aside from the scholarships she accepted at her graduation commencement ceremony, she also received a $40,000 scholarship from Montana State University in Boseman, an award based on Bottger’s Scholastic Assessment Test scores.

She also won a total of $9,000 from the National Elk Lodge for winning second place in the State Lodge Conference in Hood River last February. Lastly, Bottger won the OTEC Scholarship for $5,000 and the Valley Insurance Scholarship for $1,000.

Bottger will continue her education seeking a major in animal science and biology.

“I’d like to be a veterinarian, so after I graduate from M.S.U., I’ll have to transfer to Washington State or Oregon State University to finish vet school,” said Bottger.

“I would eventually like to return and set up a clinic in Northeast Oregon.”

Ten years down the road, she sees herself as one of the board members for the Elgin Stampeders and the Lions Club. Surely, she will be put to work wherever she places her priorities.

In the meantime, she feels a lot of gratitude to the teaching staff at EHS and to a few special people on staff who influenced her the most.

“I couldn’t have done all this without Diana Grandeen, my cross country coach in sixth grade,” said Bottger. “She taught me to just be myself no matter what others say and to do my best. She taught me to believe in me.”

Bottger also credits her science teacher Emily Sorensen and student counselor Jen Smith for helping her to blossom. Now Bottger is in a position to offer advice to other students who want to succeed at their passions.

“Find what you’re comfortable doing and do it well,” she said. “Then start challenging yourself. You can always improve, so never give up.”