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news & updates

Scholarship Program Update (01.18.23)

We, the Capital Lakefair Board of Directors, Officers, and Capitalarians, would like to offer our deepest and most sincere apology for the harm that we have caused to Abigail, her family, Black Hills High School, and our greater community and thank them for bringing to our attention the fallibilities in our process.

The Capital Lakefair Royalty Scholarship program has a long history of supporting young women in our wonderful community. Those who participate are nominated by their schools, meet rigorous criteria, and are working to further their academic education. This is a scholarship program, and the application requirements and criteria were never intended to exclude.

On January 5, 2023, the Capital Lakefair Board of Directors reviewed the applications for the scholarship program. There was a concern that one candidate's application did not meet the published requirements to move forward. The members of the board who were present voted to return the application. We did not want to single out the student in a public setting when she was not chosen to proceed. This was not a decision we wanted to make. The board felt they were making the right decision at that time. We now understand that this was not the best course of action. We are taking a huge step back to look at the events and are finding this to be a valuable lesson.

This board has also realized that in their effort to be equal and fair to all candidates, they were inadvertently creating inequitable guidelines for some who wish to apply. Their action was based on the history of requiring certain consistencies that have been part of the scholarship program for over 50 years with no issues. Capital Lakefair stands behind its many years of supporting individuals, families, and nonprofit charities that impact all residents and guests of Thurston County and we hope we can continue with new policies and procedures in place.

As of January 16, 2023, Abigail's application for the Royalty Scholarship program has been reinstated and she is welcome to advance to the next stage of the process. Abigail is coming to the group speech practice tonight where we help the girls prepare for Coronation. In addition to helping all the girls with their speech preparation, we are again providing accommodations for Abigail to help her participate and fairly compete against the other candidates. Accommodations will not stop with speech preparation – we have reached out to ADA experts and ADA attorneys, and we plan to reach out to more groups who can help us with full inclusion of candidates for all future years to come.

Please know that we are currently reviewing ways we can incorporate inclusion for students that might otherwise not be included in the program, and will incorporate the needed changes into our program criteria. Our fervent goal is that from here out, we promote better awareness and celebrate inclusion. We fully intend to stay on top of reviewing our program on a regular basis and make any and all necessary changes that need to be made. With your help and support, we can and will do better.

If you would like to help make Lakefair more relevant to and inclusive of our community, we hope very much that you will join us in volunteering with Capital Lakefair.

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