2012-06-14 / Schools

NPHS grads earn $2.2 million in scholarships

By Stephanie Bertholdo

The academic excellence exhibited by Newbury Park High School students landed them more than $2.2 million in college scholarship awards, according to Cita Ricafort, college and career guidance counselor at the school.

Many students won scholarship money to attend California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks.

Two students at the school won the CLU Regent’s Scholarship for their distinguished academic success. Anessa Buff and George Nasr were each awarded $80,000 to pay for tuition over four years.

Anessa ended her high school days with a weighted GPA of 4.43. But CLU didn’t reward her for academic excellence alone.

The 17-year-old was immersed in many extracurricular activities, including concert choir, vocal ensemble, cross country and track and field. In addition to the $80,000 Regent’s scholarship, Anessa won a $4,000 performing arts scholarship from CLU after auditioning two vocal pieces, one classical and the other baroque, and a $3,000 Teredyne Peter Hashem Memorial Scholarship.

The scholarship was especially meaningful to Anessa since it honors Peter Hasham, a passenger on board one of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center on 9/11.

Kristen Godinez also won a large scholarship to CLU— $70,000 over four years—while Emily Hare won $22,500 per year to attend the school.

But CLU wasn’t the only school doling out money to NPHS grads.

Jack Ireland won a $400,000 scholarship to the United States Military Academy, and also claimed a $275 NPHS Soccer Booster scholarship.

Trevor Lecka was the recipient of many cash awards. He was presented with a $38,700 annual scholarship to attend Occidental College and also received the $500 NPHS Baseball Booster Scholarship.

University of San Diego awarded hefty scholarships to several students.

Brandon Holm won $9,250 per year for four years, while Michelle Human won the $40,000 presidential scholarship to the school. Kendall Resnick claimed the Alcala Award to the school, which totals $89,000.

Sneha Paranandi won a large cash award from USC. The USC Presidential Scholarship, which totaled $84,000, will pay half of her tuition over four years.

In addition to the USC scholarship, Sneha won the $2,000 Ronald Reagan Foundation Scholarship, the $2,000 William and Cynthia Fairburn Memorial Scholarship and a National Merit Award of $1,000.

“It’s been great,” Sneha said. “I think I’ve really grown as a person. I learned to reach out and take advantage of all the resources.”

The long scholarship application process turned out to be a blessing in unexpected ways: Most scholarships, Sneha said, required essays that make the writer take a hard look at their values, beliefs— and themselves.

“I know myself better,” Sneha said. “(The scholarship essay process) really helps you articulate who you are. Even if I hadn’t won the scholarships, I would have taken that away (as a positive experience).”

Other scholarship recipients are Nick Sweetman, who won the $10,500 per year Dean’s Scholarship to attend Arizona State University, and Megan Telfer, who was awarded the $10,000 per year President’s Scholarship to Azuza Pacific University. Lindsay Burton was the recipient of Azuza Pacific’s Founder’s Award, which totaled $24,000.

Connor Reed will attend Centre College in Kentucky on a $44,000 scholarship.

For Anessa Buff, the Regent’s Scholarship to attend CLU will help her realize her dream of becoming a physical therapist who will integrate music into the profession.

“The essay prompt for the CLU essay was fairly open-ended,” Annessa said. “I spoke about my passion for music both instrumentally and vocally and how the world has shaped my dreams and aspirations.”

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