Thronson Scholarship

Barbara Thronson/Park County Community Foundation Scholarship

Barbara Thronson was a fourth-generation Montana citizen whose grandparents homesteaded in the Bitterroot Valley in 1908. Although she and her husband Gary lived in five different states, Canada and Portugal as the result of his employment with Kaiser International, it was important to them that their children would attend and graduate from Park High School in Livingston. During their time in Park County, they maintained an Angus cattle and quarter-horse ranch in the Paradise Valley.

Barbara was a life-long learner as well as a teacher and administrator. She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, a master’s degree in special education and pursued doctoral studies at the University of Montana. Most of her career in the classroom, as a principal and superintendent, was spent in rural schools in Montana, California, Idaho, Michigan and Wyoming. She was known nationally for her advocacy in Washington, D.C., for educational issues.
“I do have a passion for education to provide success for students and staff,” she wrote. “I take great pride in working with parents and the community.” Barbara died in 2013 at the age of 75.

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Scholarship Award:

Barbara Thronson’s bequest to the Park County Community Foundation will provide four scholarships for students graduating from Park County high schools based on enrollment. The scholarship – $500 per successful semester completed – will be provided to each of four students continuing their post-secondary education at two- and/or four-year institutions. A recipient successfully completing a four-year degree program would receive $4,000 (eight semesters) in scholarship proceeds; a recipient successfully completing a two-year degree program (four semesters) would receive $2,000 in scholarship proceeds.

  • Two scholarships will be awarded to Park High School graduates
  • One scholarship will be awarded to a Gardiner High School graduate
  • One scholarship will be awarded to a Shields Valley High School graduate

The grants will continue each semester until the recipient successfully completes his/her two- or four-year academic program. A student who successfully completes a two-year program will be considered for continuance if his/her stated initial goal is a “two-plus-two” academic program (two years at a community college leading to two years in a baccalaureate program).


Recipients have the responsibility to provide proof of successful progress at the end of each semester and proof of registration for the next semester. After the initial award, payments will be made directly to the educational institution the student is attending once the student submits to the Park County Community Foundation his/her grades for the semester completed and verification of registration for the next semester.

Initial eligibility:

1. Graduate of Gardiner, Park or Shields Valley High School.
2. Cumulative grade point average of 2.5 (4.0 scale) or above.
3. Submission of application with three letters of recommendation.
4. Plan to attend a post-secondary institution as a full-time student.
5. First-generation college students are encouraged to apply.

Selection process:

  1. Applications are due April 15.
  2. Applicants must submit three letters of recommendation, at least one of which must be from a teacher. Letters from relatives will not be accepted.  Letters of recommendation are to be directly uploaded to the Park County Community Foundation website ( at Grants>>Upload a Letter of Recommendation.  Please note: It is the responsibility of student applicants to inform authors of letters of recommendation how their letters are to be directly uploaded to the Scholarship Committee. 
  3. Directors of the Park County Community Foundation will comprise the Scholarship Committee.
  4. The Scholarship Committee will have the option of interviewing applicants although generally the scholarship-award determination will be based entirely on the student’s application. The entire committee will review all applications and use consensus processing to reach agreement.

First-generation students please note:

The College Board is a national not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity. It describes first-generation college-bound students in this way:

“First-generation students can come from families with low incomes or from middle- or higher-income families without a college-going tradition. Some have parents who support their plans for higher education; others are under family pressure to enter the workforce right after high school.

“Often these students don’t know what their options are regarding higher education, and they may have fears about going to college and misconceptions about college and its costs. These students may come from families who speak languages other than English at home or from cultures outside the United States with different education systems.”

 Requirements for renewal:

  1. Students must maintain a 2.5 grade-point average (of 4.0) for the first two semesters of post-secondary program. Thereafter, a 3.0 GPA is required for scholarship continuance.
  2. Recipients have the responsibility to provide proof of successful progress at the end of each semester and proof of registration for the next semester.
  3. After the student submits to the Park County Community Foundation his/her grades for the semester completed and verification of registration for the next semester, direct payment of the next semester scholarship grant will be made to the educational institution the student is attending.

Scholarship Application

Today's date:

Your name

Your email address

Permanent address

Your telephone

Parent telephone

Do you plan to attend:
Vocational/trade schoolCommunity college (two-year)College (four-year)

I have applied to and/or been accepted to the following school(s):

School I am planning to attend:

What is your grade-point average?

Please list your extracurricular activities, community service work, and summer and/or after-school employment during your high school career.

Financial Status

Approximately how much money will be available to you for your first year of college?

Parent's Financial Contributions?

Expected Summer Employment Earnings?


Other Financial Sources (scholarships, financial aid, etc.)

Please provide responses to the following essay questions. Responses should be a minimum of 250 words and a maximum of 750 words.

1. What do you think makes a person successful in life?

2. What is the most significant challenge you’ve had during high school?

3. How did you address or overcome it?

4. Is there something from your experience that will benefit you in the future?

I have read and understand the conditions of this scholarship opportunity. The information I have provided to the selection committee is true and complete.


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