Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Inspirational: Hoquiam (WA) high School senior personifies perseverance
The daily World (Aberdeen WA) ^ | 6/8/07 | Callie White

Posted on 06/08/2007 12:51:04 PM PDT by llevrok

Among the 110 Hoquiam High School seniors who will graduate tonight is one remarkable young woman.

Hope Hunderfund is known as a star on the High School’s golf team, one of the school’s top scholars, a dedicated volunteer, member of the Renaissance Club and president of the Future Business Leaders of America.

“There are a lot of people in school … who probably think I’m just some preppie, popular kid,” the 18-year-old said.

“They have no idea.”

Indeed, Hope, with big blue eyes and an ever-present smile, could have grown up to be the stereotype she knows she resembles. As the youngest of five children in her childhood home in Puyallup, Hope’s father ran a successful company and her mother was a stay-at-home mom.

But in 1996 her parents divorced, and since then Hope said she’s had minimal contact with her father. She and her three sisters were with their mother, who in the space of just a few years moved the family from Puyallup to Seattle to Union to Ocean Shores and, finally, to Hoquiam. They lived off child support that Hope describes as paltry, and her older siblings often took work to help pay the bills.

Hope said her mother had been a master gardener and president of the Parent Teacher Organization, but the divorce was a wrenching experience for her too.

Her mother’s relationships with her children eroded. As Hope’s older sisters left home, she and Halli, who is a year older, clung to each other for support.

When Halli left home in 2005 and later went on to college, life at home was miserable, Hope said. But she had a bright spot in her life — school.

“I went out for everything, even if I didn’t know what it was about,” Hope said. “I got into ASB (Associated Student Body), so I’d take a bus that got there at 5:30 in the morning, then wait in front of school until it opened.”

On the golf team, she’d grown to trust her coach, Bill Bonney, and told him about her difficult home life. During her freshman year, he told her about the Chick Evans scholarship, which gives large scholarships to caddies who do a minimum of 50 “loops” and demonstrate academic and civic leadership as well as financial need.

Already an excellent student, Hope said she fixated on meeting the requirements of the scholarship. It was her ticket out, she said.

“I did more than 100 loops” at the Grays Harbor Country Club, Hope said. Not only did she enjoy being with the interesting, successful people she met there — and getting tipped — she figured “each time I did it I was getting $1,500 college money.”

Hope, naturally, won the scholarship, which will pay her way for four years at the University of Washington. In fact, she got a second two-year, full-ride scholarship, and the first two years of the Chick Evans money will go into an account to pay for housing, books and food.

Hope still wonders at the coincidence of it all. She went to a meeting about the golf team to get out of a particular class, but Bonney pestered her to try the game. Hope joined the golf team and liked it. Using borrowed, and somewhat embarrassingly tattered clubs, she dropped 30 strokes over nine holes in the course of her first season.

Like Hope’s teachers and other mentors, Bonney was deeply impressed by her tenacity and drive to do everything she does well.

When Hope was on the golf team, she lost a ball in a tree, Bonney recalled. Declaring the ball lost would be a two-stroke penalty, so Hope climbed the tree to find the ball for a one-stroke penalty. Halfway up, she fell out but dusted herself off and scrambled right back up.

“She found the ball, and she went to state by a margin of one stroke,” Bonney recalled. “She’ll just go at anything all the way.”

She also took a job at the Quinault Beach Resort & Casino her sophomore year. The money paid for almost everything, Hope said, including food and phone bills. She saved to buy a car, and pays for her own insurance and gasoline.

She took all the hours she could get, and her social life suffered.

“My friends would ask me if I could hang out, and I’d say no, I had to work,” Hope said. “I never told them how bad it was; I really needed the money.”

Because of all her activities and work, Hope said, she’d get home late, sometimes at 1 a.m., exhausted.

She said that led to more conflicts at home.

Often she’d grab a few hours of rest before going to school or, in the summer, going right back to work.


Between her activities and work, Hope also volunteered. She started at the Hoquiam Food Bank after taking a class that required a community service project. Hope said she’d certainly had her share of meals made from food bank groceries.

“It was a good way to give back,” she said.

There she met Linda Borth, director of the food bank, who “fell in love with me for some reason.”

Just like with her friends, Hope never let on that she was anything other than a happy-go-lucky, precocious student to the other people at the Food Bank. “I didn’t want anyone to pity me,” she said.

But Hope couldn’t keep her life under wraps forever. The tension at home escalated.

At the end of her junior year, Hope said, she finally told one of her friends about her distress.

“She was really surprised,” Hope said. “She had no idea.”

Her friend offered to put her up at her house, and Hope entertained the idea. But it wasn’t for a few more months that she made the decision to leave for good.

“I snuck all my stuff out through my bedroom window and loaded up my car,” Hope said.

She said she spent just one night in her car, which she downplays as “not a big deal.” And it was the next day that she went to the Food Bank to tell Borth that she would have to quit volunteering because she didn’t know if she’d be able to make the trip from wherever she might be living.

Borth had no idea Hope’s challenges were so serious.

Hope lost it and the story flowed out. Borth insisted that the girl come and live with her and her husband.

Borth said her husband, Roger, was skeptical. “He’d told me ‘no more strays,’ ” Borth said. But once he met Hope he, like her other adult admirers, was bowled over.

“I wish she had let us parent her,” Linda Borth said. “But she’s so motivated. We were more like roommates than pseudo-parents.”

Bonney, meantime, was a surrogate father, Hope said, paying for college application fees, SAT test fees and helping her get a cellphone.

Reaching out

Hope still has contact with her mom and wants to keep their relationship open. In fact, things seem to be looking up. Hope reached out. Mom responded. They went to the mother-daughter tea together at school and Hope’s mom was at Wednesday night’s HHS awards ceremony, crying each time her daughter received an award. She will be there tonight to see her daughter graduate.

Jill Smith, Hope’s counselor at HHS, said Hope “is the embodiment of perseverance.”

Smith recalled Hope sitting in the counseling office, filling out stack after stack of scholarship applications.

“She is exactly what so many people are looking for when they give out a scholarship,” Smith said. “People want to help her.”

Hope is a bit chagrined by this, and worried that her classmates hated her for taking so many walks to the podium at the school’s scholarship and awards ceremony. She doesn’t know if people understand that she was one of those kids falling through the cracks, able to rock-climb her way out by dint of sheer will.

“Everything happens for a reason,” Hope said. “I don’t know that I would have been the person I am if things had been easy. I certainly don’t know if I would have appreciated everything I’ve earned.”

But Hope said she couldn’t have done it alone. She had a community of adults take interest in her, encourage her and take care of her.

She said she was lucky that all her activities placed her in proximity to so many caring people.

“There’s no way I can repay what they’ve done,” Hope said of the Borths and Bonney.

“If you’re in a hard situation, there are people out there willing to help you if you are willing to make the effort.”

TOPICS: Education; Local News
Note to Paris Hilton - Here is a hero for kids to look up to !!!

1 posted on 06/08/2007 12:51:08 PM PDT by llevrok
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: llevrok

Praise God for people like her and for people who help them.

[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson