New program set up to award scholarships to Skyview High School students


Three scholarships will be awarded beginning this academic year

Her family moved to Vancouver when she was a sophomore.

She didn’t know anyone at Skyview High School.

By the time she graduated in 2020, she had displayed her athletic skills on the cheerleading team, sang with the choir, and performed in a musical. She was voted student body president.

The transition was a success.

Payton May was named Miss America’s Outstanding Teen in the summer of 2019, prior to her senior year at Skyview High School. Her father, Tom, was so impressed with Skyview welcoming his daughter, a transfer student, that he helped set up a scholarship fund. Photo courtesy Thomas May
Payton May was named Miss America’s Outstanding Teen in the summer of 2019, prior to her senior year at Skyview High School. Her father, Tom, was so impressed with Skyview welcoming his daughter, a transfer student, that he helped set up a scholarship fund. Photo courtesy Thomas May

While a lot of that credit should go to Payton May and her abilities to adapt and persevere, her family also believes Skyview High School had a lot to do with that transition. The school, her father said, welcomed her into the Skyview family, almost immediately.

The May family wants to show its appreciation to Skyview, today and tomorrow.

Beginning this year, three seniors will be honored by the new Skyview Scholarship Fund. 

One $2,000 scholarship will go to a student who transferred to Skyview after the first semester of freshman year. It will be awarded annually to a student “who undertakes a similar path as Payton, i.e, the student transferred to Skyview and thrived in school and community activities.”

The new Skyview Scholarship Fund will offer three scholarships to seniors at Skyview High School. Photo courtesy Skyview Scholarship Fund
The new Skyview Scholarship Fund will offer three scholarships to seniors at Skyview High School. Photo courtesy Skyview Scholarship Fund

The other two scholarships, also $2,000 each, will go to an outstanding student in the arts, and to an outstanding student who is focusing on the “professional/technical training” track. 

“With all of these, the whole intent is to tell us about your experience at Skyview and how that shaped you,” said Tom May, Payton’s father.

“It’s really about the idea that Skyview, in my mind, supports kids, gets them ready, and they have a good experience while they’re here.”

Tom May, who is supported in the effort by his wife Debra, brought up the idea to Skyview administrators last spring.

Andy Meyer, the principal at Skyview, said he was excited to help get it off the ground and hopes it will be sustainable for many years to come. Tom May is hopeful the scholarships will not only grow in number but also in the amount of each.

The administration also encouraged Tom May to work with the booster club. The Skyview Scholarship Fund is now part of the non-profit organization, and is accepting donations on its website: http://skyviewscholarshipfund.org/

Tom’s first inspiration was to honor a student who transferred to Skyview, just like his daughter.  Skyview administrators loved the concept, but they also brainstormed with May, coming up with plans for the other two categories.

Meyer appreciates the trade school scholarship. There is a huge push to get students to a four-year university, which is fine, Meyer said. However, high schools should also encourage trade schools. This is an opportunity to “highlight and recognize” those students, Meyer said.

Payton May’s story is special, too. Beyond all of her accomplishments at school, she also was named Miss America’s Outstanding Team in the summer prior to her senior year. (In fact, with the duties associated with that title, she felt it was best to resign as student body president because it would not be fair to the rest of the students at Skyview.)

Still, May was proof that a person could come to Skyview and find success, even if she was new to the school, new to the area.

“It’s a real highlight of Skyview,” Meyer said. “We’re the largest school (in Vancouver Public Schools) but we take pride that students can come to this big school and find their niche. It’s a great school where people can excel. People can find themselves in this large community and thrive.”

For Tom May, his connection with Skyview continues even though his daughter has graduated. This place is special to his family.

“I love this school. I work with the choir and orchestra parents. I’ll still do that. I’m still involved,” he said. “And I’m a fixture at Skyview basketball games.”

Tom May said he expects the scholarships will remain a fixture for years to come, as well. He also hopes the funds will be able to support an increase in scholarship money in the future.

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About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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