Nancy Babst wanted to give something back to the community as a way to honor her two late sons.
The Babst Memorial Scholarship soon came to be.
Three graduates – Auburn High School’s John McHugh, Auburn Riverside’s Charles Cowan and Auburn Mountainview’s Sean Wicklund – each recently received the scholarship to help them attend a trade school and launch a career.
“We were to blessed to give the first three scholarships to three hard-working, deserving, young men,” Nancy said. “We are beyond grateful for all the support we received to establish this scholarship this year, and our hope is that it will continue so we are able to bless others pursuing a career in the trades.”
Trades are an important part of the Babst household.
Jim, Nancy’s husband, is a commercial building inspector for the City of Bellevue. Nancy, an electrical contractor, works with the Department of Labor and Industries.
Their two oldest sons, James Thomas (J.T.) and Garrett Daniel, got into the trades as well.
Garrett joined Laborers Union Local 242 and worked on Bellevue’s new Mariott hotel, and J.T. was with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and was hired by the BNSF Railroad even before he graduated from trade school.
Garrett died in November 2014 by suicide in the family home in Auburn. Less than four months later, J.T. was killed in a tragic snowmobiling accident while on a trip to scatter Garrett’s ashes at a hot spring near McCall, Idaho.
Nancy – with support from family and friends – wanted to use her experiences to help others. The scholarship, created in February, took shape. With help from school administration and staff, the family raised enough money – about $10,000 – to reward a senior from each high school this year.
The Babst family has set up a gofundme page to raise money for future scholarships.
“The scholarship is our family’s attempt at taking the sourest of lemons life has given us and making something that resembles lemonade,” Nancy said.
McHugh plans to enter the Green River College auto program and hone his tech skills. A hard worker, good leader and excellent problem solver, McHugh competed in SkillsUSA in metals and automotive areas. He has welding and automotive experience and has a mature outlook on life.
Cowan is ready to pursue the electronics program at the Puget Sound Electrical Apprenticeship Training Center. According to his instructors, Cowan has an exceptional aptitude for technology and produces quality work. He quickly comprehends theory, complex circuits and formulas. He applied this knowledge with great success in more than 75 lab experiments and projects.
Wicklund is looking to build a career as an automotive technician by attending Perry Technical Institute in Yakima. An exceptional student, Wicklund scored the highest in his student ASE certification tests. He is an excellent mentor for advanced and beginning students.