By Shawn Raymundo
A handful of high school graduates from Dana Hills High School, San Clemente High School and San Juan Hills High School were awarded with scholarships as part of each school’s respective Awards Night on Thursday, May 23.
The Democratic Women of South Orange County presented the scholarships to seven graduating seniors, recognizing them for “their commitment to promoting Democratic ideals in their community.”
From Dana Hills High, the group awarded scholarships to Lauren West and Kieran “Niko” Frost—who was unable to attend the awards ceremony. At San Clemente High, Ryan Baxter, Peyton Gadbury and Landon Russell received awards. And at San Juan Hills High, Celia Aguilar and Hannah Hughitt were presented with scholarships.
“They surpassed our expectations of what we envisioned for this scholarship; their ability to mobilize individuals, find common ground and work with others to create positive change in the community is something we should all aspire to,” DWSOC President Kim Anderson said in a press release.
According to the group, the students were “demonstrated exceptional leadership, extensive community involvement and the highest concern for Democratic issues” as the award winners were responsible for organizing a demonstration against gun violence as well as volunteering in local and congressional campaigns.
“These students have been giving a voice to those who do not have the resources to advocate for themselves, registering and canvassing voters, raising the public consciousness of environmental issues, helping underserved communities, founding local student coalitions for change, and so much more,” the DWSOC said in the release.
The club received 17 applications for this year’s DWSOC Scholarship Program, as the students competed for up to $1,000 in awards. The applicants were asked to write an essay on topics that included “What does Democracy mean to you? And how do you want to be the Change you Wish to see in the World?”
The DWSOC will honor the seven scholarship recipients during its next monthly dinner meeting June 3 at the San Juan Hills Golf Club in San Juan Capistrano.
Shawn Raymundo is the city editor for The Capistrano Dispatch. He graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in Global Studies. Before joining Picket Fence Media, he worked as the government accountability reporter for the Pacific Daily News in the U.S. territory of Guam. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnzyTsunami and follow The Dispatch @CapoDispatch.