One of Rotary’s most anticipated and inspiring meeting is Scholarship Day, held this year on June 15 at the California Club. The 100 attendees included most of the 27 scholars and their parents, LA Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner, Rotarian who offered motivational remarks, and LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey and the Rotarians.
We heard Scholarship Committee Co-Chairs Gina Doyle and Josh Mandell extol the honorees and their super-human accomplishments, achieved under challenging life situations for most. Demonstrating the extent of their accomplishments, scholarship honorees will be attending universities including Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Dartmouth, Brown Wellesley, Princeton and (my alma mater) Northwestern. And closer to home many are heading to UC schools and Occidental.
As Gina said, “These scholars represent the best of the best of Los Angeles. They have the highest GPAs, the highest SAT and ACT test scores, the best letters of recommendations. They are the most civic minded having dedicated hundreds of hours of service to and in their communities. They are incredible examples of what hard work, dedication, and discipline look like. We are…proud to honor and recognize you today.”
Gina and Josh also read two heartfelt application letters and interviewed several students in attendance telling stories that underscored how hard they worked academically, in public service, and for many with challenging family responsibilities.
This year Rotary LA5 established the “Scholastic Hero” award, named the Louis Phillips Jr. Award by District Attorney Lacey in honor or her father who served as her inspiration and role model to pursue higher education.
It is worthwhile to note that many current Rotary members first learned about Rotary through the Rotary scholarship program, which is known worldwide. Being at this meeting is an awe-inspiring experience for each person present as it exemplifies, as Gina said, the best of the best. This should be a must-attend meeting for every member of LA 5 – both to support these most worthy youth – and as much to be inspired in our own lives as to what accomplishments are possible with dedication passion and hard work.