MISCA announces scholarship winners for 2022

            The Mercer Island Sister City Association presented two awards to graduating Mercer Island High school seniors at the senior awards event on June 6. Former MISCA president Linda Todd and current vice-president Kirsten Taylor presented checks for $500 each to Hanna Hobson and Zara Mecklai on behalf of the MISCA board, for their excellence in the study of the French language, for their interest in French culture, and for being good ambassadors for our community and country.


Hannah Hobson, 2022 scholarship winner

Hanna Hobson has been a Francophile since traveling to France during sixth grade. She began studying French in seventh grade and completed AP French in 11th grade. “Hannah was a wonderful French student and a joy to teach,” said Sabine Friedman, her French teacher at Mercer Island High School. “She voluntarily signed up to get a pen pal through MISCA and has religiously written to her for years,”

Hobson was either president, vice president, or officer in almost every activity she participated in, including include Kids Corp. (tutoring), Red Cross Club, DECA and Washington Business Week. She was very involved in the Sparkle Cheer program and the Best Buddies Program, to help include students with disabilities in social interactions.

She is a leader and is passionate about kindness. She plans to attend the University of Southern California, Santa Barbara year and take economics and French.

Zara Mecklai has loved the French language ever since she first heard it spoken and has enjoyed studying it for seven years. She also studies Urdu, the Pakistani native language of her parents, believing that growing up in a Pakistani-American household has fostered her openminded worldview and a better understanding of world issues.

“Zara is very academically successful, but the stress of this effort certainly cannot be seen on her face,” said her French teacher, Sabine Friedman. “She is always smiling, happy, easy going and joyful. She was a pleasure to teach because she loves learning and loves the French language.

Zara Mecklai, 2022 scholarship winner

A natural leader, she served as this year’s president of the French Honor Society, helping to arrange and participate in French conversations with MISCA.

Mecklai plans to attend Emory University to pursue a career in medicine, following her passion for global health, employing French and other languages to communicate, understand and effect change in populations where critical improvements in healthcare are needed.

For more than a dozen years, the Mercer Island Sister City Association has awarded up to three scholarships to graduating seniors at Mercer Island High School.

The scholarships, usually $500, are presented annually to a student or students who demonstrate excellence in the study of French language and culture, and who demonstrate the qualities of an effective young ambassador in continued study, travel and relations with other communities, countries and their citizens.

2018 scholarship awards ceremony

Then president of MISCA Rich Conrad and board member Beth Brennen at the 2018 awards ceremony honoring the recipients of the Mercer Island Sister City Association’s Senior French Award. Winners of the scholarship are, l-r, Chloe Michaels, Natalie Jewett and Sarah Pickles. The awards are presented at the Mercer Island High School’s Senior Awards event.


Previous Senior French Award Winners include:

2008: Taisha Bartlet Rowledge

2009: Gennie Gebhart

2012: Stephanie Heard and Aaron Gillelman

2013: Mindy Weinberg and Kyle Weiss

2014: Emily Bassett and Liem Tu

2015: Madison Nimmo and Jason McGruer

2016: Claire Moore, Andrew Barnwell and Sara Federman

2017: Bryan Zhao

2018: Chloe Michaels, Natalie Jewett and Sarah Pickles

2019: Ella Veljovich, Brandon Hill and Hannah Whobrey

2021: Emily Bassett and Liem Tu

2022 Hannah Hobson and Zara Mecklai