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Our Laguna: Students honored at annual scholarship ceremony

June 14, 2012|By Barbara Diamond
  • The 2012 Laguna Beach High School scholarship recipients pose after the ceremony.
The 2012 Laguna Beach High School scholarship recipients…

The annual Laguna Beach High School Honors Convocation over the weekend rewarded the accomplishments of graduating seniors with scholarships and awards. The reception before the convocation rewarded the donors and presenters with gratitude from former recipients and awe from the Scholarship Foundation.

"This evening the foundation will award 121 students $283,000," foundation President Kerry Rubel said at the reception. "That's pretty amazing for a small town like this."

She said it brought to mind a Chinese proverb: "If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody."

Alumni John Hornbeak and Annika Dries, both past scholarship recipients, spoke at the reception of what that help had meant to them.

Hornbeak graduated in 1999 and attended Stanford University.

"I was fortunate enough to receive some scholarships from your foundation — the Keith Childers Memorial, Rotary Senior Top Scholar and the Friends of the Library — and I am back here over 10 years later to say thank you," said Hornbeak. "Thank you for you generosity. With your continued support there will be many more students like myself that you help attain their dream, however long and windy a path they take to get there.

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"But whatever paths students take, whatever places they live, and whatever changes they make throughout their lives, the one thing that doesn't change is the kindness, generosity and compassion of people like you here in Laguna."

Exactly three years earlier, to the day, Dries was on a plane to Russia as a member of the U.S. Women's Water Polo Team to compete in the World League Super Final international tournament.

"This is it, my chance to prove myself," she thought. "I had the raw tools of an Olympic water polo player and now I had the chance to start using them. I was also about to graduate from high school with similar raw tools: a passion for helping others and the fundamental skills of science."

Dries was sitting in the lobby of a Russian hotel, when her mother emailed the news that her daughter had received scholarships from the Ebell Club, Dr. Michele Codini, the Masson Foundation, Kea Simon Medical and the Camron Blackburn Memorial.

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