Several local graduating high school seniors received exciting news at last week’s Senior Awards Nights as the Democratic Women of South Orange County (DWSOC) announced the list of recipients for its annual scholarship program.
Sophie Andersen and Talia Penzell of Dana Hills High; Riley Nicole Halsey, Ella Jobst, Kayla McLaughlin and Sofia Sipelis of San Clemente High; and Kate Friess and Anna Villar of San Juan Hills High were awarded scholarships from DWSOC.
“Our Scholarship Award Winners for 2023 once again surpassed our expectations of what we envisioned for this scholarship program,” DWSOC President Linda Verraster said in a news release. “Their leadership in defense of democracy and dedication to volunteer work has already contributed to positive changes in our community.”
With 2023 marking the scholarship program’s sixth year, DWSOC committed to providing eight female students from Dana Hills High, San Clemente High and San Juan Hills High with scholarships of up to $1,000.
At each high school’s Senior Awards Night, hosted on Wednesday, May 17, and Thursday, May 18, the awardees were notified of their incoming scholarships coming from the group, which pushes for Democratic candidates to get elected in local races.
The recipients were selected for their demonstrated leadership skills and community involvement, as well as “concern for Democratic issues.” All applicants were required to be registered or pre-registered as Democrats.
Andersen earned the distinction of Dolphin of the Year at Dana Hills, and Sipelis was recognized as San Clemente’s Triton of the Year.
In addition to achieving academic titles such as valedictorian, Advanced Placement Scholar, National Honor Society member, and more, the group of young women will go on to study at notable institutions including the University of California, Berkeley, and the Georgia Institute of Technology.
“We congratulate these amazing young women, applaud them for their many accomplishments, and wish them well as they continue their extraordinary work in the next phase of their education and careers,” DWSOC said in the release.