Sophie Bunton, ANC Carr Fire Scholarship Recipient: ‘I became more sure of myself and what I want to achieve’

Last fall ANC raised $5,300 in its first online Carr Fire Scholarship auction to benefit graduating north state seniors who’d lost homes in the Carr Fire during the summer of 2018.

In the spring of 2019, the ANC Carr Fire Scholarship committee –  comprised of myself, Eleanor Townsend, Anita Brady and Joanne Lobeski Snyder – selected five students from the applications we received.

Eleanor Townsend and I shared the honor of presenting five $1,000 scholarships to five worthy recipients during year-end high school award ceremonies. The recipients are: Daisy Brummer and Sophie Bunton from Shasta High School, Madison Morton from Central Valley High School, Justin Matties from U-Prep High School, and Mason Buck from Foothill High School.

Join me today in welcoming Shasta High School graduate and ANC Carr Fire Scholarship recipient Sophie Bunton.


Q: Hi there. I can imagine you’ve had a busy summer, so thanks for taking the time to chat here with me today on ANC. First, congratulations on being a recipient of ANC’s first Carr Fire Scholarship.

To start, how’s your summer been since you graduated?

It’s been good, I was working as a nanny for a family with two children but I’ve been hanging out with friends a lot before they leave. I’ve also been able to do some traveling to visit family up in Washington and throughout California.

Q: Sounds like a fun summer, Sophie. So you’ve graduated high school. Is there anything you’ll miss about high school?

I will miss a lot about high school, I’ll miss having all my friends in one place and being able to make plans so easily since everyone has similar schedules. I am also going to miss going to football and basketball games to support my friends.

Anything you won’t miss?

I won’t miss some of the homework and tests —  haha.

Q: If you could do a high-school do-over, what would you do differently?

I would focus on saying yes to more opportunities when they were presented to me, and not worry so much about what other people are thinking.

Q: Those are good goals for us all. Thanks for the reminder.

What’s your academic plan for the fall?

I am heading to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to study Business Administration. I move in on the 14th of September.

Q: How exciting! You still have a few weeks before you start school.

If all goes according to your hopes and plans, how do you see things progressing the next few years for you?

I hope to either take my business degree and focus on management and marketing for other companies, or I plan to double major with Political Science to work towards law school.

Q: I’m impressed you have so much already planned. I think I was in my 40s before I figured out what I wanted to do. Good for you!

In your perfect world, what would be your dream job some day?

Anything where I can work with and meet new people, help others, and have time to learn new things and go new places.

Q: Noble criteria. That should open up lots of opportunities for you.

No segue, but this is the 1-year anniversary of the Carr Fire that took your home. I speak on behalf of myself and everyone at aNewsCafe.com when I say that we are so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine what it was like for you and your family, although some of our ANC family did lose homes.

Is there anything you want to say about how you’ve changed since the fire, or what you’ve learned about life or people or yourself since then?

I think that I became more sure of myself and what I want to achieve in different fields. I grew much more confident in myself and was able to spend more time with others. I also got a lot closer with my family.

Q: So your trial by fire had some unexpected consequences. I’m impressed that you could find something positive from the experience. No doubt the Carr Fire will be one of those lifelong time stamps that you and your family will never forget.

We chose you for a reason; because we believe in you, and are rooting for you. We created the Carr Fire Scholarship so that we could bring some joy and encouragement to young people who’d lost their homes to the Carr Fire. We believe that fire can destroy a lot, but it can’t touch your hopes and dreams.

We hope every so often you’ll check in with us, and let us know how you’re doing, OK?

And, by the way, Sophie, I want to give special recognition to you for sending a thank-you note after you received your scholarship. It was a classy touch, and we appreciate it. Duly noted.

Thanks for taking time to chat with me today. We’ll be thinking of you as you start classes next month at Cal Poly. Best of luck to you, Sophie, but my hunch is that you won’t need luck, and that you are on your way to a bright and exciting future.

Doni Chamberlain

Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded A News Cafe in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain holds a Bachelor's Degree in journalism from CSU, Chico. She's an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She's been featured and quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Washington Post, L.A. Times, Slate, Bloomberg News and on CNN, KQED and KPFA. She lives in Redding, California.

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