The Soroptimist International of Manteca has been awarding scholarship awards to high school seniors for a long time.
Sharon Cunial, the service club’s scholarship committee chairperson, gave the clue to the scholarship award’s longevity when she said, “When we started this years ago, we had only two high schools.”
They were Manteca High School and East Union High School, the cross-town rivals for many years before the Sierra High campus opened. Today, there are five high schools in the Manteca Unified School District, with Weston Ranch and Lathrop High now in the picture.
Something else that Cunial noted about this year’s crop of scholarship recipients is the graduating students’ impressive grade point averages. Apparently, 4.0 is no longer the grade to beat as the selected scholars demonstrated in their brief biographies. Sierra High’s Francis Scherry who is ranked 1st in her class of 351 currently holds a 4.5 GPA. Myklyn Bolmut of Manteca High also boasts the same current 4.5 GPA and is ranked 2nd in her class of 327. Weston Ranch’s Emily Medeiros currently holds a 4.25 GPA and is ranked 5th in her class of 341. Marissa Clawson of East Union likewise has a 4.02 GPA and is ranked 15th in her class of 326.
“We never saw this kind of grades before!” exclaimed a highly impressed Cunial during her brief speech prior to the presentation of the awards held recently at the Manteca Senior Center.
For the first time since the service club started presenting the annual scholarships to graduating seniors, exceptional students from Calla High in Manteca, a continuing education campus, and New Vision High, Manteca Unified’s alternative high school in Weston Ranch, were included in the awards. Also presented at the same time was the Betty Bergthold Award, a scholarship established in honor of the late longtime Manteca Soroptimist and Manteca business owner, along with the Ruby Award: Women Helping Women and the Women’s Opportunity Award. The latter two are presented to women making a difference in their community and in other people’s lives, as well as in their personal life and families.
Two of the awardees were not able to attend the scholarship presentation – Mark Carmesis of Lathrop High, and Natalie Stephens of New Vision High.
Below are the Soroptimist high school scholarship winners for school year 2011-2012:
• Nicole England (Sierra High - $2,000 Betty Bergthold Scholarship Award), presented by Soroptimist Carol Nunes.
Academically, England is ranked 1st in her class of 350. She has excelled in the most rigorous academic program offered at her high school, taking Advanced Placement and Honors courses including English, European History, Chemistry, Biology, U.S. History, Spanish, and Calculus. She has set high goals for herself and wants to be a research scientist because of her interest in researching diseases and discovering new medications. Her major field of study will be biochemistry. In addition, she participates in and fills leadership roles in several campus clubs and two different sports (cross country and track). She has completed many hours of community service through her church and various community programs and activities.
• Marissa Clawson (East Union - $1,000), presented by Sharon Cunial in the absence of Arleen Sevor.
Clawson has excelled in her high school career and currently has a 4.02 GPA. She is ranked 15th in her class of 326 with advanced placement classes in English, Math, and Science in preparation for her future profession as a pediatric nurse. In her personal essay, Clawson stated, “I do not just want to work for the sake of working, but to do something for others.” She has been very active in many volunteer program activities on- and off-campus, including: president of Otaku Dynasty Club and California Scholarship Federation; served as Sunday School volunteer for Grace Community Church; and, volunteered at Manteca Martial Arts where she developed her skills to the level of a black belt instructor.
• Myklyn Bolmut (Manteca High - $1,000), presented by Barbara Brocchini.
Bolmut grew up in a family where her parents emphasized the importance of school and that education as being the stairway that would lead her toward success. She currently has a 4.5 GPA and is ranked 2nd in her class of 327. Her ambitious educational and career goals are in the area of chemistry and law. Her impressive array of co-curricular activities includes her three-sport participation in athletics (volleyball, basketball and swimming), being president of the National Honors Society and California Scholarship Federation, president of the Tri-M Music Honors Society, and vice president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, just to mention a few.
• Francis Scherry (Sierra High - $1,000), presented by Judy Vasquez.
Scherry will graduate in June as a California Scholarship Federation Life Member and Gold Sealbearer. She currently holds a 4.5 GPA and is ranked 1st in her class of 351. Her major field of study is in the area of Criminology or Law & Society. Her vocational plans are either being in legal law or law enforcement serving in the FBI or CIA. Academically, Scherry is outstanding among her peers and has received numerous academic awards. According to her teachers, her personality and resume define the word “well-roundedness”. She has taken a leadership role and garnered awards in three varsity sports (cross country, volleyball, and track), holds student body leadership positions including Junior Class president, and has regularly volunteered for leadership, time and talents to no less than 15 different forms of community outreach programs.
• Emily Medeiros (Weston Ranch - $1,000), presented by Soroptimist president Judy Abrew.
Medeiros is ranked 5th in her class of 341. She currently has a 4.25 GPA while taking Advanced Placement classes in English, Art, Calculus, and Biology. She has excelled in match and sciences and participated in the Pre-Pharmacy major at the University of the Pacific. She received her acceptance in December 2011, garnering the most coveted Regents Scholarship Award in the university based on her academic standing. Besides academic honors, Medeiros has received honors as a member of the girls’ golf, basketball, and swim teams. Not only has she excelled academically but has embraced a spirit on the importance of community service and helping others. She has worked through her church youth group for the past four years, and has worked on many school fund-raisers.
• Maddison Harris (Calla High - $500), presented by Betty Ingell.
Harris’s goal is to pursue a career in psychology or criminology. She is currently ranked 10th in her class of 134. Teachers speak highly of her work ethic and personal character. She has served as an excellent role model for other young girls and has assumed a leadership role at Calla High School. She is currently Senior Class Club President and has been a very active member in organizing and setting up school activities while holding a part-time job. She completed all of her requirements for high school graduation in December 2011, and will graduate with her class in June.
• Natalie Stephens (New Vision High - $500), also presented by Ingell.
Stephens has set attainable career goals to pursue her education in the field of nursing, hopefully as a pediatric nurse. She is academically in the top 25 percent of her graduating class. She has assumed a central role in New Vision High School’s Leadership Class. She has participated in all leadership meetings and helped run various events including the school’s art club.
• Mark Carmesis (Lathrop High - $1,000), presented by Sharon Cunial.
Carmesis has maintained a 3.76 GPA while taking a variety of Advanced Placement classes. He has achieved Spartan Gold status (3.75 and above GPA) in five of his semesters at Lathrop High. His extracurricular activities have included four years of football and track. He wrestled his sophomore and junior year. He has received a Valley Oak League scholar athlete award for each varsity season he has played. He is also involved with several clubs on campus, including College-Bound Club, Asian Pacific Islander Club, Human Relations Commission in his leadership class, Interact, AVID, Relay for Life, and various community beautification projects.