It was a night to remember for the many seniors and their parents and loved ones in attendance Tuesday night for the Class of 2021 Scholarship Night held in the multipurpose room at Harmony Magnet Academy.
By that evening, 41 of the students, most of which were present, had already earned $522,750 in scholarships and awards.
“Tonight we are honored to reward students for their outstanding achievements,” said HMA Principal Jeff Brown. “Like manna from heaven, students will be awarded scholarships in pursuit of greater accomplishments moving on to post-secondary opportunities.”
The presentations began with the AOE and APA Pathway Scholarships which were presented to Ryan Rusch and Sarah Totty, and ended with the presentation of a full-ride value scholarship to the United States Military Academy at West Point to Isabella Duerig. In addition, Duerig also received an award letter for a monthly stipend for the first year.
“It hasn't hit me yet,” Isabella said after the ceremony. “It feels like just another college to me.”
Karin and Andreas Duerig said they were immensely proud of Isabella.
“She has put in a tremendous amount of work into this application process,” her father said. “The biggest thing is that she was a dual Swiss-American citizen and she had to revoke her Swiss citizenship and be only American. She couldn't be both.”
It was difficult he said because of her close connection to Switzerland. She has traveled there 17 times in her life, he said, so it was difficult saying goodbye to the citizenship.
Prior to the start of the program, a video ran on a large screen spotlighting each HMA senior. One by one, the seniors took the limelight to say their name, their major, and the college or university they planned on attending. Most of them ended by saying “Go 'mascot'” — inserting the mascot of their respective college.
First on the program were several local and memorial scholarships.
Joel Wiens, board member of the Porterville College Foundation and PC faculty member, presented several PC First scholarships. He presented $40,000 of awards to local high school students who chose to attend Porterville College first immediately following high school.
Recipients of PC First Scholarships had a GPA of 3.9 and higher, and PC First Award recipients had a GPA of 3.72 and above.
“We are proud of welcoming these students into the PC Pirate family,” Wiens said before announcing Jessica Alvarez and Klarymar Bedolla Ceballos as the recipients.
The program continued with students walking forward to accept their awards.
But no one’s name was announced more than Ariana Robles — who, as of Tuesday, had won several awards towards college, including the Edison Scholars Scholarship, Mangini Associates Scholarship, Ruiz 4 Kids, Tulare County School Boards Association Scholarship, a USC Presidential Award and the USC School of Engineering Viterbi Fellow award.
Jazmyn Collins, Anushka Larson and Abigail Miller each heard their names five times and they too walked forward again and again to accept their awards.
Several schools offered an array of scholarships, including UC Berkeley, Biola University, Point Loma Nazarene University, Belmont University, The University of Tennessee, Fresno Pacific University, University of San Diego, USC, University of the Pacific, and the United States Military Academy at West Point.
"These students have worked very hard these last four years; they’ve had to choose on a nightly basis whether or not to do their homework after a full day of school, clubs, athletics, jobs, and helping out at home,” said counselor Paula Roche. “They’ve put in the time required to make good grades, be involved in school and community activities, and be of support to one another, especially this past year. Their diligence and dedication are paying off, and not just in scholarships and awards; their transition to college and beyond will be more successful and fulfilling because of their efforts here at Harmony."