Senior recognition night at honors and recognizes the top 10 percent of graduating students and those students who have earned a college scholarship from the university they are attending, the San Leandro Scholarship Foundation or an outside local community groups.
This year 172 students received close to 250 individual scholarships. All in all, students received $620,882 in scholarships, up from $570,000 last year.
Scholarships given out from universities totaled $470,200. From the San Leandro Scholarship Foundation, $138,682 was distributed, and from other local community groups, $13,800.
Many, if not most, of the university scholarships are renewable for the students for four years, and some are considerable amounts.
One student, Co-Salutatorian Shannon Lee, received the Carnegie Mellon Institutional Scholarship worth $21,500 per year for four years.
San Leandro High's graduation this year featured two valedictorians and two salutatorians. Shannon shared the salutatorian title with Joe Wang. Both achieved 4.35 GPAs.
With 4.36 GPAs, the co-valedictorians were Puja Bhatka and Oliver Cheong.
San Leandro Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Cathey was on hand at senior recognition night Friday, June 10, to personally place the high-honors stoles on these high-achieving seniors.
The San Leandro Scholarship Foundation distributed the largest number of individual scholarships awarded at the event. Community members, companies, homeowners' associations and other groups donate money to the scholarship foundation annually and establish awards like the Eric Davidson Memorial Scholarship, or the Class of 1964 Scholarship. There are more than a hundred of these.
The San Leandro Scholarship Foundation was founded 34 years ago and has given out thousands of scholarships to graduating seniors at the high school since then. Chad Pennebaker, who currently heads the organization, works actively in the community to attract money to the scholarship foundation and wants passionately to see it continue and grow.
Clubs like Rotary, Kiwanis, Lyons, Jefferson, and others have also been supporting the college endeavors of graduating seniors for years. They issue the money directly from their organizations but participate in senior recognition night with the Scholarship Foundation.
The amount of money given to promising students this year is particularly impressive because of the still-poor economy, said Amy Olson, who helps plan the annual event.
“I am so pleased to see so much money come in this year, especially because of the recession,” she said.
If the economy improves next year perhaps even more seniors can be recognized with a college scholarship.
Congratulations, SLHS Class of 2011!
Chris Crow is a member of San Leandro Rotary and contributes to the Eric Davidson Memorial Scholarship mentioned in this article.