This fall, 166 high school juniors and seniors from nine high schools throughout the county participated in the American Heritage Scholarship Series essay contest, a competition sponsored, in part, by Stanislaus County Office of Education (SCOE) and other entities. Nineteen students were honored for their essays at an awards ceremony on Nov. 20 at the SCOE Board Room, Modesto. A total of $10,000 in scholarships awards were presented, which included one $2,000 scholarship, two $1,500 scholarships, two $1,000 scholarships, four $500 scholarships, and ten $100 cash awards.
Oakdale High School students dominated the competition, capturing 11 out of the 19 scholarship awards. Those OHS students were Emma Andreini, Hayley Benson, Elizabeth Erwin, Sara Kim, Madison Lane, Chandni Mistry, Janki Mistry, Chris Ng, Jonna Pagaduan, Joshua Tanis, and Melissa Van Dyke. Specific results will be posted in an upcoming issue of The Leader.
Teaching students and adults to think critically about issues affecting the United States, and increasing their awareness of what it means to be an American, are the goals of the American Heritage Scholarship Series. In an Oct. 9 presentation, Dr. Keith W. Smith from the University of the Pacific focused on the 2012 presidential election and if the media advanced or hindered voters’ ability to make an informed decision. Students had to support their responses with information from the presentation, their knowledge of U.S. History and government, and cite a minimum of two other sources.
A group of local educators, editors, community leaders, Superior Court judges and representatives from the legal community judged the essays.
“This program continues to be an outstanding model of community collaboration,” said Tom Changnon, Stanislaus County Superintendent of Schools. “I believe it could become a model in highlighting the importance of the civic mission of public education.”
Scholarship sponsors included Atkinson Andelson Loya Ruud and Romo, E. & J. Gallo Winery, Mr. and Mrs. James Enochs, Lou and Kenni Friedman, Curtis and Nancy Grant, Mayor Garrad Marsh, Mocse Credit Union, Charles and Catherine Quittmeyer, Petrulakis Law and Advocacy, and Judy Sly.