Mercer Island Schools’ Pathfinder Alumni Award

  • The Pathfinder Awards, established in 2016, celebrate graduates of Mercer Island High School whose achievements, strength of character, and citizenship inspire and challenge today’s youth.
    The Mercer Island School District presented the 2022 Pathfinder Awards to two graduates of Mercer Island High School whose achievements, strength of character, and citizenship inspire and challenge today’s youth to make significant contributions to humankind.

    The 2022 Pathfinder Award recipients are:

    Photos of Matt Galvin and Kirk RobinsonMatt Galvin, co-owner of Pagliacci Pizza, MIHS Class of 1987

    Kirk Robinson - Posthumous Selection, Bothell Fire Department Lieutenant, MIHS Class of 1995

    “The work both Matt and Kirk have done to give back to their community are great examples for today’s youth,” said Superintendent Donna Colosky. “To see what these two Pathfinders have done shows how much impact our students can have in communities big and small. This impact is especially important now as we have all navigated our way through the Covid-19 pandemic and the examples set by our Pathfinders shows our students the example that support from dedicated individuals is integral to communities thriving under all circumstances.”

    The 2022 Pathfinders were honored at the Mercer Island Schools Foundation’s Spring for Schools Showcase and Auction Virtual Event on Sunday, April 24

    Matt Galvin - Pagliacci co-owner, Matt Galvin, employs over 1,000 people but can be found working the line or delivering pizzas at one of Pagliacci’s 24 stores. Even more inspiring is his commitment to supporting local communities to make them better places for all.

    Matt has co-owned Pagliacci since 1999. Pagliacci became the third-largest purchaser of green power in all of Seattle under his leadership. Pagliacci was also the first restaurant chain to compost and the first to build a LEED-certified pizzeria. Matt was part of the leadership group of Earth Day NW 2020 and eliminated single-use plastics in all stores.

    Since 2006, Matt has helped feed 180 people a day through St. James' Cathedral Kitchen. Not only does he donate pizzas, but he also chairs the Soup Kitchen Fundraising Committee. Additionally, Pagliacci supports Operation Sack Lunch to provide meals to those struggling with hunger.

    Matt is on the board of the Third Door Coalition, an organization focused on ending chronic homelessness through permanent supportive housing. Matt also has been the chair of the Plymouth Housing Fundraising Committee for the past two years.

    After George Floyd’s death, Matt spearheaded a GoFundMe campaign for Community Passageways, who he’s supported since 2018. This organization helps court-involved youth of color break the school-to-life pathway. The campaign has raised over $153,000.

    Seeing Covid-19’s devastating impact on the restaurant industry, Matt bought goods from industry peers, especially minority-owned businesses, as gifts for customers. These Community Giveaways funneled over $500,000 to peers hurt by the pandemic. Matt grew up on Mercer Island and is a proud member of the MIHS Sports Hall of Fame. Matt’s dedication to doing the right thing has made our region a better place.

    Amanda Stoffer, Pathfinder Committee member and MISD PTA Council President had this to say about Matt: “In reviewing Matt's nomination, the awards committee was bowled over by the many ways he has given back to his community. Whether through his hands-on work supporting at-risk youth and the homeless, or his impactful commitment to green initiatives at his well-loved Pagliacci chain, it is clear that Matt represents the best of Mercer Island. The committee is thrilled to present him with the Pathfinder Award.”

    Kirk Robinson – K-Rob, as he was affectionately known, was a problem solver and community helper who unfortunately passed away in 2019 after a courageous battle against cancer.

    Kirk joined Mercer Island’s auxiliary firefighting force in 1999, was an EMT in Mercer Island’s Marine Patrol, and joined Bothell’s Fire Department in April of 2001.

    He was a go-to-guy for so many in the Mercer Island community and the Bothell Fire Department community. You could find Kirk helping to put up holiday lights for a neighbor or organizing a community Fourth of July picnic, even though he was in the late stages of cancer, or working with his church to bring groups to Mexico to help build houses.

    His favorite stories to share were those of “people helping people” which led him to create the Free Mercer Island Facebook Group. This group, which has over 3,100 members, enables the community to freely give items they would like someone else to use.

    On April 5 the Mercer Island City Council voted unanimously to rename the Skate Park at Mercerdale Park to the “Kirk Robinson Skate Park”. The Council’s decision highlights the leader Kirk was in our community and the service he provided to our community. Kirk’s prodigious volunteer work will always be an example for current and future District students.

    Salim Nice, Pathfinder Committee member and City of Mercer Island Mayor had this to say about Kirk: “I'm particularly excited about the committee's posthumous award to Kirk Robinson. On October 4th, 2019, this community lost Kirk as we headed into what would become a multi-year pandemic response. We needed to circle back to recognize Kirk for all of his contributions and the countless lives he touched. Kirk anchored so many with his spirit, enthusiasm, and commitment to the service of others. It was natural that we take this moment to reflect on Kirk and all that he gave to so many."

    The nomination process for the Pathfinder Award opens every year in November with a nomination link on this webpage. The deadline to submit a nomination is usually the end of January. As part of the nomination, submitters will be asked to tell the Pathfinder Award committee how the nominee has contributed to society as a Pathfinder through their service and leadership. Additional documentation such as news stories, awards and honors, other letters of support, photos, CV or résumé may be sent to
    These men and women have contributed to society in meaningful ways through their service, leadership, and creativity in our communities. Graduates of Mercer Island High School have impacted the world in a variety of fields, including but not limited to the following areas: the arts and athletics; business; education; entertainment; law; medicine; the military; philanthropy and volunteerism; public service; religion; scholarship and science. 
    Pathfinder Bridge

    Growing up on an island with committed schools and residents, they embraced the larger world around them and pushed the boundaries of their potential. They are our inventors and artists—imaginative and creating the future. They understand the global context in which we live today. All are pathfinders who aspire to a better way of living for humankind. They discovered that path, or showed others the way. 

    Program objectives

    1. To recognize distinguished alumni from Mercer Island Schools and to inspire students and residents with their accomplishments; and

    2. To create a network where alumni and students feel they are part of an extraordinary global community who support each other and are dedicated to making the world a better place for humankind.

    Criteria for selection

    • The Pathfinder honors our graduates’ remarkable impact in a variety of fields, including the arts, athletics, business, education, entertainment, law, medicine, the military, philanthropy & volunteerism, public service, religion, scholarship and science. 
    • Candidates must be graduates of Mercer Island High School and have graduated at least 10 years prior.
    • Any person may submit a nomination, except for Selection Committee members.
    • Posthumous nominations will be accepted.
    • Nominations for 2023 Pathfinder Awards require submission of the district's nomination form, which will be released in November of 2023. 
    • All information submitted will be considered confidential by the Selection Committee.

    Selection process

    Nominations will be vetted by a Selection Committee of teachers, residents, business leaders, alumni, and school officials from the district and the Mercer Island Schools Foundation. The committee may request additional documentation if needed. The Selection Committee reserves the right to reject any or all nominations. Individuals not selected this year will remain eligible for two years following the initial nomination process, without requiring a new submission.
    2022 Pathfinder Committee
    Amanda Stoffer – MISD PTA Council President Elect
    Andrew Howison – MIHS Junior. Student Representative to the School Board
    Annabelle Hegarty – MIHS Sophomore
    Daniel Becker – MIHS Class of 2001. Parent of future MISD student.
    Ian Henry – MIHS Class of 1991, Communications Coordinator MISD
    Joci Besecker – Parent of two MISD students. PTA Volunteer.
    Salim Nice – City of Mercer Island Mayor
    Tammy Shoop – Executive Director, Mercer Island Schools Foundation
    Vivek Mehta – MIHS Class of 1989. Parent of two MISD students.
    For more information, contact Ian Henry, Communications and Alumni Relations Coordinator, 206-236-4514. 

    Pathfinder Award Recipients

Mercer Island Pathfinder Award Recipients