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Realtors present 7 $500 scholarships

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Realtors present 7 $500 scholarships

Seven graduating high school seniors from Lathrop, Manteca and Ripon campuses were presented with a total of $3,500 Tuesday morning – $500 each – to go toward their college expenses next year from ...

GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

POSTED April 5, 2014 1:28 a.m.

It was a shocker Tuesday morning for seven graduating high school seniors who were giving speeches in what they thought was the final competition for the Central Valley of Association’s one and only college scholarship award.

Each was being judged on five-minute speeches in the lobby of the Del Webb sales office to decide on the winner – or so they were led to believe.

At the conclusion of their presentations, emcee Ryan Harris complimented them all for doing a good job and noted that the winner would be announced in some three weeks.  After a short pause, he reversed what he had just said and announced that each of them would be getting a $500 scholarship check in just a few minutes.  Everyone was a winner.  Their initial tentative reactions were replaced with ear-to-ear grins as they stepped forward to get their parchment awards and their checks.

The student speakers and their schools included Janely Calderon, Ripon High; Sierra Downum, Lathrop High; Kristin Bowman, Ripon Christian; Aaron Mackey, Sierra High; Poonam Dehal, Manteca High; Ashley Tarango, Manteca High and Alexandrea Leece, East Union.

They spoke before an audience of some 50 members of the realty association.

Ashley Tarrango is a Manteca High senior with a 3.5 GPA. She had wanted to be a teacher before meeting a speech pathologist who impressed her.  After research into the field and shadowing a professional, she decided that would be the focus of her professional vocation.

She plans to work toward a Master’s Degree in communication sciences and disorders.  

“While I am hoping to work with children, I am still considering working with persons of all ages who have suffered traumatic injuries that resulted in the need for a speech pathologist,” she said.

Aaron Mackey is a senior at Sierra High School and has maintained a 3.8 grade point average. He is serving as student body president this year.  He has been in the leadership program since being a freshman and also served as freshman class president, sophomore class president and student body treasurer. 

“Twenty years from now, I hope to have progressed to being a physical therapist for professional athletes,” he said.  “I also plan to use my leadership skills and be involved in my community leading others as we help change the lives of those around us.”

Alexandrea Leece is a senior at East Union High School.  Having a passion to be involved,  she joined the leadership class in her sophomore year and became the community service commissioner.  

“You have to make sacrifices to gain a reward. In this situation, often times mine was my sleep.  School work, homecoming, planning a prom and giving the rest to my favorite demanding sport of soccer became my routine.”

She said that now “in the blink of an eye” she is nearing the end of her high school career and completing  the duties of senior class president.  She has been accepted to CSU Long Beach – her first choice in colleges.

Kristin Bowman is a graduating student at Ripon Christian High School where she has become a California State Federation (CSF) life member. She can see herself as a high school choral director in the next 20 years or sooner.  She has played basketball for four years, varsity softball catcher and performed in the band and served in a spiritual leadership group.  Kristin has also received the ACSI Distinguished High School Student Award in Fine Arts as well as the Presidential Award for Academic Achievement.

Poonam Dehal is a senior at Manteca High. She said through the leadership skills she has learned that she has the ability to “stand up for what I believe is right” as well as having built up her confidence.  

She has attended the Sikh temple since she was a child seeing the religious experience allowing her to become calmer and a respected member of the community.  She has volunteered more than 200 hours at Doctors Hospital.  Her passion is to become a teacher.

Janely Calderon is a senior at Ripon High School. She says she has seen herself being empowered by empowering others.  Janely spends her spare time during the week and on weekends helping at a homeless shelter.  

“I have met many people from all walks of life, each with a different story that made me forget their façade and rather focus on who they are deep down inside.”

She noted that all her hours of community service throughout high school have changed her into a better person.

Sierra Downum is a senior at Lathrop High School who has been extremely active throughout the community as well as at LHS.  She is serving as Miss Teen Lathrop and student body president at her high school.  She was class president last year.  Sierra has been an outstanding women’s soccer player in her league play, serving as a varsity captain this year.

“It is my goal to attend a four year university and obtain a Bachelor of Science Degree in Kinesiology.  My ultimate goal is to become a physical therapist in order to assist others in obtaining a better quality of life,” she said. “I was inspired through my own injury as a sophomore and my therapist motivated me.” 

Sierra has been accepted to 12 colleges and has narrowed her choices down to two – one in California and the other in North Carolina.  She will make her choice within the next two weeks, she added.

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