June 18, 2010

The annual Honors Convocation is all about the students. The reception that precedes it is all about the donors and presenters of scholarships and awards.

"There would be no awards ceremony without you," said Laguna Beach Scholarship Foundation President Marsha Aronoff at the reception on June 11 at the high school.

"The scholarships we give tonight through your generosity recognize the potential in these students and give them opportunities they might not otherwise have."


A total of $275,000 was distributed to 118 students this year, with another $100,000 available through five of the scholarship programs that are renewable for three more years if conditions are met.

(See list of recipients on Page A8).

Among the presenters at the reception: Laguna Beach Woman's Club representatives Stefany Skenderian and Andrea Miller, to honor a girl raised by a single parent and interested in a field of study related to women's causes; retired public health nurse Penny Stastney, to present two $4,800 scholarships to students who want to purse a career in medicine; Festival of Arts President Wayne Baglin and board member Pat Kollenda, who also sang with the No Square Theatre quartet at the convocation; and Margaret Warder and Debbi Neev, there to present the award from Soropotimist International of Laguna Beach.

2002 graduate Aurora Steinle and 2008 graduate Claire Rubel attended the reception to tell the donors what their scholarships had meant to them.

Steinle, who recently graduated from law school, was the recipient of several scholarships.

"The scholarship I received from the Festival of Arts recognized my achievements as an artist in high school, but required that I continue to take art classes each semester in college to receive the full scholarship," Steinle said.

While she never doubted her passion for art, she is doubtful that she would have taken the art classes if not for the scholarship, when faced with a heavy class load.

"My point is that these scholarships may not be an easy prescription for what to do next or be the answer to all of the future challenges students face, but I think they should be recognized for what they are: an acknowledgement of accomplishments past and an incredible source of support as Laguna Beach High School graduates go onto define their own futures," Steinle said.

"They clearly had a lasting effect on my life and I am sure it will be much the same for tonight's deserving recipients."

Coastline Pilot Articles Coastline Pilot Articles