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August 8, 2022

Funny Papers Again Column | This Is the Best Thing We Do … This Is Our Finest Hour

I uttered those words last Thursday evening from an outdoor stage during an event that, for me, is THE event of the year: The King City Community Scholarship Foundation Inc. Drive-In Banquet. Unlike fundraiser events where the goal is to enlarge the coffers of a worthy organization, this night is one where we can truly invest in our future by aiding those young people among us in furthering their education so that in time they will go out and make their mark in the world.

It is well known that South County businesses, organizations and individuals are among the most generous in the state; the amounts of money raised throughout the calendar year, year after year, from numerous fundraising events — be they meals, entertainment programs, auctions or whatever — always is a staggering amount rivaling donations of much larger metropolitan areas. But on this special night it is not the budgets of various nonprofits, businesses or other entities that receive the proceeds, it is an individual. Moreover, it is an individual who by public recognition is worthy of a helping hand, and individual deserving of recompense for efforts and sacrifices made in their young lives.

The King City Community Scholarship (KCCS) program that night listed the names of 44 graduating seniors from the Southern Monterey County Joint Union High School District (SMCJUHSD), a mix of young men and women from Greenfield High School and King City High School. I can assure you there are many, many more students out there who are just as worthy of scholarship assistance; and that for me is always the hardest part of participation in awarding scholarships.

Over the years I have been involved in four organizations or groups that had scholarship programs, and every year there are always more applicants than scholarship funds — always. And because all scholarships have certain requirements that must be met by the applicant, then one knows any application one is given to consider represents an exceptional student, so how to choose one, or two or more out of seven or eight or more applicants? Tough call. I don’t know many who are involved with the process who doesn’t say to themselves, “Boy, I wish we had more money. I wish we could do more for more.” I know I do.

So that is why it was an honor for me last week to be able to represent a local nonprofit organization and award scholarships to three young people who for years have worked for a goal and are soon onto the next phase in achieving that goal. Like many others in the community, I hope these young people achieve their ambitions and become the professionals that university education offers; and I also hope some of them return here to the Valley that nurtured them and to the people who supported them and make our little world a better place to live. We’ll see; but for now, many of us have done a good thing for good people and who can argue with that?


I avoided too much detail in this week’s Funny Papers because the message was the central idea, hopefully that message being let’s all keep giving. Let me add some particulars to the above.

The KCCS mentioned above is no doubt made up of who knows how many volunteers, but the ramrods of the whole shebang are Pam Kirkpatrick, Samantha Jo Johnson and Sara Nash, respectively (and respectfully) the president, treasurer and vice president/secretary. That’s it, just three of them; but the other night they covered the ground like a small army, they were all over the place handling all kinds of things. Impressive. Many owe them a lot.

The title of today’s column I wrote myself and so is great writing; this based on the age-old premise that good writers borrow whereas great writers’ steal. The words are reminiscent of a British prime minister of the last century.

I was present the other night by virtue of the fact I am a volunteer at the museum located down at San Lorenzo Park and as you know, or should know, the name there is Monterey County Agricultural and Rural Life Museum, which is a mouthful, so we are called simply “macarlem.” And when one tries to get that and King City Community Scholarship Program and Southern Monterey County Joint Union High School District all into one sentence in one breath, which I attempted, it can make one dizzy from lack of oxygen. Lucky I didn’t faint and fall off the stage.

On that note: I once heard Brian Walker, Ed. D, say he thought the title of the high school district was the longest one in the state; a fact check might surely prove that statement true. And Dr. Walker would know, as the superintendent of SMCJUHSD he must utter those words in speeches more than any other person.

Last little bit, or piece, whichever: as one who doesn’t own a vehicle attending an outdoor drive-in event, I was shown some wonderful and warm (warm being a pivotal word here) consideration by the KCCS staff and other scholarship presenters, and I thank you all very much.

Stay safe. Peace.

Steve Wilson
King City and Greenfield Columnist

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