A first for the university and a first for Yakima.

A 2016 graduate of La Salle High School has been named a recipient of a full-tuition scholarship to Saint Martin’s University in Lacey. Savannah Schilperoort is one of only four students to receive the awards, called Abbot Scholarships, which are being given for the first time.

Schilperoort plans to take a pre-professional program at Saint Martin’s, with the eventual goal of becoming an athletic trainer.

“I knew I’d have to find a way to pay for college, and this helps so much,” Schilperoort said. “Now I won’t have to worry about my parents being stressed out.”

Since her parents, Stephanie and Casey Schilperoort, have three other children, stress levels all around are undoubtedly lessened.

In addition to having one of the top GPAs in her class, Schilperoort served as captain of La Salle’s cross country team and was active in student government, Campus Ministry and Student Life Leadership. She also was chosen as a participant on a service immersion trip to the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana.

As an Abbot Scholarship recipient, Schilperoort will be required to perform five hours of community service each week. Because the commitment is geared to the recipient’s interests, Schilperoort is hoping to volunteer at an animal shelter or with children.

The Abbot Scholarships honor Oswald Baran, Saint Martin’s first abbot and chancellor, who directed the school from its opening until his death in 1928, and Neal Roth, current abbot and chancellor. They are awarded to seniors graduating from Catholic high schools in Washington who have shown one or more of Saint Martin’s four core values — faith, reason, community and service — in their lives. The scholarships are full-tuition, need-based awards, renewable for four years.

The scholarship is worth upward of $150,000, according to Kathleen Wilmes, executive director of the Central Washington Catholic Foundation, the local organization that supports Catholic education.

“It’s exciting that two of the four recipients are from this diocese,” she said, noting that two winners are from Western Washington and another, Leslie Maya, is from Kennewick, which is part of the Catholic Diocese of Yakima.

Saint Martin’s was founded in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict.