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Santa Barbara Foundation Awards Prestigious Scholarships to County’s Top High School Seniors

Fleischmann/Spaulding honors go to 20 students in recognition of their academic achievements and community service

Santa Barbara County’s top high school seniors were honored for their academic achievements and community service on Wednesday evening at the Santa Barbara Foundation’s 2012 Fleischmann and Spaulding Scholarship Reception.

Hosted by the Santa Barbara Foundation and made possible with the help of the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, 20 students representing seven schools each received the prestigious Fleischmann Award, which comes with a $2,000 scholarship and an additional $500 to donate to the nonprofit organizations of each student’s choosing.

Ron Gallo, president and CEO of the Santa Barbara Foundation, said the Fleischmann/Spaulding awards ceremony is one of his favorite events of the year, and that he looks forward to seeing where the recipients end up in the future.

“The highest quality of philanthropy is investing in our future and in the leaders of tomorrow,” Gallo said. “Tonight we celebrate the best of the best. It’s a wonderful way to celebrate not only their minds but important habits of the heart.”

Recipients of the 2012 Fleischmann Awards were Shandeep Ahdi of Dos Pueblos High School, Christina Blair of Dos Pueblos, Blakely Colvin of Santa Ynez Valley Union High School, Jessica Davis of Laguna Blanca School, Tyler Dickinson of Pioneer Valley High School, Parisa Fallahi of San Marcos High School, Blanca Garcia of Santa Barbara High School, Heather Hourdequin of St. Joseph High School, Tessa Kaplan of Santa Barbara High, Anna Marroquin of Dos Pueblos, Camille Miller of Dos Pueblos, Rene Mireles of Dos Pueblos, Claire Patterson of Santa Barbara High, Michael Sikich (home-schooled), Grace Spadoro of Dos Pueblos, Sheridan Spivey of Santa Barbara High, Claire Upton of Santa Barbara High, Casey Venturelli of San Marcos and Michael Yi of Dos Pueblos.

Hourdequin also received the 2012 Edward Spaulding Award, receiving an additional $1,000. The Spaulding Award was given to the student with the highest rating from the Fleischmann Subcommittee.

Colette Hadley, executive director of the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, said the selection process was difficult, as there were hundreds of qualified students countywide. She said that this year there are 5,278 high school seniors in Santa Barbara County, and of those students, 129 met the minimum requirements to apply for the Fleischmann and Spaulding awards. Only 51 were selected for an interview, putting the final 20 recipients in the top 0.4 percent of all high school seniors in the county.

Each recipient has an impressive GPA and history of community service, with many of the students holding leadership positions and donating well more than 120 hours of volunteer service to various nonprofit groups.

Some of the nonprofits receiving donated award money include Everybody Dance Now!, the Pioneer Valley FFA, Domestic Violence Solutions and the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation. Hourdequin and Colvin even started their own nonprofit organizations — Knitting for Hope and Cupcakes for Cancer, respectively.

Gallo said the recipients demonstrated a high level of dedication to serving others, representing the good nature of Santa Barbara County. He said he hopes the students will continue to inspire others and give back to their communities as they move forward.

“The highest quality of philanthropy is investing in our future and the leaders of tomorrow,” he said.

Peter MacDougall, chairman of the California Community Colleges Board of Governors, agreed with Gallo and said he hopes each recipient will take full advantage of all the opportunities offered through higher education.

“We hope they use that education to benefit themselves and the community in which they reside,” MacDougall said.

The recipients plan to use their scholarships to attend institutions such as Brown University, Cornell University, UC Berkeley, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

The Santa Barbara Foundation has granted 16,000 scholarships and loans in the past 14 years to students from Santa Barbara County, and the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara has continually offered its support by managing the student aid programs. The Fleischmann and Spaulding awards are named after Major Max Fleischmann, founder of the Santa Barbara Foundation, and Edward Spaulding, the first executive director of the Santa Barbara Foundation. Both men believed in supporting students, promoting higher education and devoting time and effort to bettering their communities.

Noozhawk intern Madison Medeiros can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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