Last week, I attended the Laguna Beach High School Scholarship Foundation Honors Convocation, at which $400,000 was given directly to 132 students. In addition, we learned that one student gained United States Naval Academy admission, and another achieved ROTC Army conditional admission. Adding those scholarships, more than $1 million was given to deserving, rising college freshmen who have benefited from the excellence of the Laguna Beach School system.
Of vital importance to the event was the variety of scholarships awarded. For example, one scholarship gave money for students to attend community college. Attending community college is a critical first step in reducing student debt and increasing persistence through college; by state law, community college students are guaranteed first access transfer to the CSU and UC systems.
I was encouraged by how grateful each person was for the academic and emotional support from parents, teachers, staff, and administration. In my long education career, I have never been more impressed by students, parents, relatives, neighbors, and fellow educators. The donors, many of whom have supported the foundation for years, were so proud of the award recipients – the warmth in the room was palpable.
The Laguna Beach High School Foundation is to be commended for fostering neighbor-to neighbor involvement in celebrating our students and easing access to higher education and the lifetime opportunities it offers.
Jim Kelly, Laguna Beach