The moment of great anticipation - Scholarship Day - for LA5 members and graduating L A seniors landed this year on June 14. Held at the California Club, the 100+ attendees included the 30 scholars, their families, L A County District Attorney Jackie Lacey and Rotarians.
Scholarship Committee Co-Chairs Gina Doyle and Josh Mandell extolled the honorees and their super-human accomplishments, achieved under challenging life situations for most. This is aptly demonstrated by the universities winners will be attending including Harvard, MIT, Duke, Dartmouth, Brown, Wellesley, and Bowdoin, and closer to home, Stanford and UC schools.
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 recommendation, including from Rotarians. 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 announced that this year we gave winners a record $216,000 in funds! They then read from heartfelt application essays and interviewed students at the event whose stories underscored how hard they worked academically and in public service, while for many also dealing with challenging family responsibilities.
Past LA5 Scholarship winner Maina Cioni who attended USC and finished in three years, addressed the attendees, noting that the scholarship made it possible for her to attend USC and graduate.
Rotary LA5 has established named awards including the Close Family Scholarship, this year awarded to Andrew Kim (attending Duke); the Future Rotarian Scholarship, awarded to Haylee Carbajal (UCLA); the Steiner Tweiten Memorial Scholarship, as presented by LA5 member Walker Raily and awarded to Dejie Zhen (pictured left) (Bowdoin); the Larry Palmer Memorial Scholarship, as presented by LA5 member Michael Stevens and awarded to Katya Pronichenko (Dartmouth); The Walch Family Scholarship, awarded to Yangqing Lei (Wellesley); the Coopersmith Family Scholarship awarded to Anrui Gu (UC Berkeley); and the Barr Family Scholarship awarded to Edwin Sanchez-Huizar(pictured right) (Bowdoin). Also pictured is Nayeli Alvarado (second from right) who will attend Brown University.
Notably, many Rotarians first learned about Rotary by receiving a Rotary scholarship when they were in high school, and then joined. The annual scholarship is meeting is an awe-inspiring experience for everyone present, exemplifying as Gina and Josh 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 to be personally moved by what one can accomplish with dedication, passion and hard work.