David "Will" Skyrud
A graduate of Hellgate High School in Missoula, MT, Will earned three varsity letters in soccer and served as team captain. He was a member of the All Mountain Ski Team, served as an ambassador for the Model United Nations Club, and was an officer in 4-H Club. He is a member of National Honor Society. His science team won first place at the 2007 Air Toxics Under the Big Sky Symposium for project on air quality. Will taught skiing at Montana’s Winter Special Olympics and completed a four-year wilderness leadership paddling program, winning its top contest and returning as a counselor and instructor.
On Community …
The biggest difference, between this scholarship and any other, is the people who come with it. It is more than financial security; it is a group of 30+ people who want to see you succeed.
For a high school graduate leaving your family, friends and home behind, college can be a scary thought. I could sense that the supports I once relied on weren’t there in the same way they had been and that the community I built for myself wasn’t as accessible as it once was. This fear became an actuality as I said goodbye to my mom but it only lasted the five minutes it took me to meet my fellow Sullivan classmates.
I was immediately overwhelmed by the intentional community the Sullivan program had built for us. Over the next week, as I met the rest of the scholars and got to know my advisors, any hole that was left in me from leaving home was now overflowing with acceptance and a sense of belonging. I tried to think of anything that could possibly compare to this program and how deeply it cares for those involved. Nothing came to mind. It was then that I realized the Sullivan Community was something so unique and so valuable that no matter what hardship I may face, no matter how large or small, I will have the support I need to overcome it. To me this was the utmost guarantee of success in the next four years of my life. I knew then that I had found the right place and I was blessed to be allowed into this community. Of all its many positives I have found the deep-rooted Sullivan community to be the most inviting.
The Sullivan Leadership Award game me the opportunity to go to college. Since then it has given me the opportunity, and more so encouragement, to travel to Chile, India, Nepal, Thailand and South Korea. It has inspired me to live with an ambition that is mirrored by my fellow classmates and the Sullivan Scholars. I am now entering my final year at Seattle University and although many things have changed, some seem to be exactly the same. The community and inspiration of the Sullivan Leadership Award's many facets of opportunity are still present. As I approach the end it is inspiring to know that young college students will have the same ability and freedom to explore the world, themselves, their interests and their future with the kindness and support of a one-of-a-kind program. I will always be thankful for these years of opportunity.