Phs Graduates Fish Their Way Through College

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Most youngsters heading off for college pack up their CD player, maybe a television, possibly a VCR, some tapes and a lap-top computer.

But that's not Payson High School graduates Clifford Pirch and Preston Mercer.

As the pair continues their studies at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, their top priority take-alongs are a sturdy fishing boat, plenty of tackle and bait.

Don't laugh -- their life-long fishing ambitions have resulted in several impressive tournament winnings that have gone to help pay those sky-high college tuitions.

Only last week, the duo left Flagstaff, bound for Bartlett Lake, to participate in the AllStar Bass Team Invitational Tournament.

There, the young anglers supplemented their college fund by $375, finishing seventh in the final standings with 9.22 pounds of bass.

The winnings weren't their best tournament earnings since they've been at NAU but certainly enough to defray some college costs.

And a day of fishing has to be a great break from the often-hectic life on a college campus.

Raffle winners
The good news, from the raffle of the Payson High School football team poster and videotape of the Horns' state-championship win over Blue Ridge, is that it generated $718 in benefits. One half of the money went to the PHS football program and the other to the Gila County Sheriff's Department's Youth Recognition Program.

The winner of the autographed pigskin and other prizes was Bob Stahl, owner of a local Texaco service station.

Local businessman Daryl Kaufman and PHS student Alyshia Hummer won Diamondback bats in the raffle. Frank Reyes took home a couple of Longhorns football T-shirts.

The benefit raffle was the brainchild of Gila County Sheriff's Department's Jim Eskew, who promises the money earned will help expand the Youth Recognition Program

The program was inaugurated last spring by honoring a pair of outstanding students and citizens in each of the county's high schools. The YRP is pointing at someday being able to award scholarships.

The seniors
The 1999 Arizona Senior Olympics run from Feb. 20 to March 7 at various venues in Phoenix. Final registration is Feb. 12. Adults wishing to participate must be at least 50 years of age as of Feb. 21, 1999. Arizona residency is not required. The 27 events include track and field, swimming, golf, tennis, bowling, volleyball and downhill skiing.

Last year, 12 seniors from Payson participated in ASO. Registration forms may be obtained by calling ASO offices at (602) 261-8765.

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