[Posted May 31, 2016] One of the most important benefits of giving to the Uni Hi Education Foundation is seeing your funds at work to help young people succeed. Each year, the UHEF makes direct contributions to deserving students through three scholarship awards:
- Outstanding Community Service Award:
This is a $1,000 cash award, normally offered to one winner. For 2016, however, the seven submitted essays documented such strong service from three entrants that two full scholarships and a $500 Honorable Mention award were made.
The two recipients of the full awards were seniors Rosa Devora Roman (headed to Franklin & Marshall College) and Alexandra Strong (headed to Tufts University). Roman logged as astonishing 1,012 hours of service across all four years at Uni, with nearly 549 hours at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Teen Volunteer Program. She wrote of her experiences there, “Volunteering at the hospital gives me great satisfaction because I end my shift knowing that I’ve changed someone’s day. … I feel hopeful after visiting patients because after we’ve spent time together, they seem to replace their depression with optimism.”
Strong was also involved at Cedars-Sinai, with the Teen Line volunteer program that gives young people in crisis a place to call for guidance and support. Over the last three years, she has contributed more than 400 hours, noting “Volunteering at Teen Line … has taught me valuable life skills: empathy, understanding, and the ability to talk to people from all walks of life. … Life is a delicate thing and it’s important to treat it appropriately.”
Honorable Mention went to Reina Flores (going to UCLA), who was also part of the Cedars Teen Volunteer Program and became a member of the program’s Teen Advisory Board during her three years of service.
- Sharon Mednick Award:
Starting with a gift of $10,000 from the estate of the late Sharon Mednick, a Uni college counselor from 1995-2003, a fund was created to help one student annually who demonstrates an interest in pursuing a career in education. Because of ongoing support of this UHEF program, the fund has grown and awards $1,000 each year.
The 2016 Mednick Award was given to Jessica Sanchez, who will attend U.C. Davis. She made a significant impact as a teacher and helper through the PrimeTime Sports program, designed to help adolescents with special needs participate in mainstream high school sports. Of course, the impact on Sanchez was just as great, as she wrote, “Joining PrimeTime helpe me prove to myself that I am a leader and that I could make a difference in the lives of the people I touched.”
- Jack Moskowitz Award:
The UHEF was co-founded in 1985 by then-Uni principal Jack Moskowitz to help remediate the impact of budget cuts to the school district in the aftermath of the passage of California Proposition 13. The annual award of $1,000 – begun in 2015 – is given to a student selected by the Uni principal. For 2016, principal Eric Davidson selected Mary Qualls, describing her “as the student who brings the spirit and qualities that are the best of Uni pride. She’s a wonderful part of the Uni family.”
All of these awards were announced at the Senior Class awards ceremony on May 25. In addition, an individual scholarship award was made beginning in 1998 by alumna Thelma W. Culverson W ‘56, who awards a four-year scholarship to UCLA based on an essay and interviews by a panel of UCLA faculty and administrators. Reina Flores (also honored above) was selected and is the 18th recipient of the Culverson Scholarship winner.