Students receive Reagan Scholarships

More than a dozen high school seniors from Ventura County received a total of $50,000 in scholarships last week from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute in Simi Valley.

Andy Jin, a Westlake High School senior headed to Stanford University this fall, received the top scholarship award of $7,000 at a May 16 presentation at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley.

Three other seniors, Kevin Garrett and Sarah Taketa, both of Newbury Park High, and Matthew Lee of Oak Park High, received $5,000 scholarship awards.

Garrett will attend Brigham Young University. Taketa will study at USC and Lee will enroll at Yale University.

Now in its 19th year, the scholarship program was created to honor Reagan’s legacy of leadership by rewarding high school seniors “who have demonstrated qualities of leadership and strong character throughout their four years of high school,” spokesperson Melissa Giller said in a news release.

Students who apply for the aid must answer a short essay question on how they’ve been a leader at their school or in their community and then a longer essay, Giller told the Acorn this week.

“This year the longer essay was on what they felt was the biggest issue in education right now,” she said in an email. “They also have to get two letters of recommendation.”

About 120 students applied for the awards and 16 received scholarships, she said.

Winners of $4,000 scholarships were Skyler Martinez of Royal High, who will attend Lehigh University; Mallorie Mehrali of Adolfo Camarillo High, who is headed to USC; and Emily Ramirez of Royal High, who will go to Pomona College.

Scholarships of $2,500 were presented to Morgan DeVico of Trinity Pacific Christian School in Thousand Oaks, who will go to Pepperdine University this fall; Marissa Huang of Westlake High, bound for UCLA; and Tam Le of Newbury Park High, who is headed to UC Santa Barbara.

Santa Susana High School senior Allison Yuan, who will attend UC Berkeley, was awarded $1,500.

Awards of $1,000 each were presented to Riti Hegde of Oak Park High, who will attend Vanderbilt University; Regina Hernandez of Santa Paula High, who is headed to UC Davis; and Amogha Koka of Oak Park High, who will attend UCLA in the fall.

Hector Gonzalez