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Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of scholarship winner announcements.
Ten students have been awarded the Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation scholarship. Each student selected demonstrated a balance of academic excellence, extracurricular participation and community service throughout their high school career.
The winners have each selected an educator of distinction — an education professional that had a positive impact on the student’s time in the Los Alamos Public Schools.
The LAPS Foundation is a non-profit organization leverages time, talent and funds to promote innovative learning in our public schools. The Foundation continues to grow its scholarship funds through donations made by community members and alumni of the Los Alamos High School.
Jane Duan chose Catherine Puranananda, her Senior Advanced Placement Literature and Composition teacher, as her educator of distinction. “Ms. Puranananda helped me not only with my writing, but with some personal issues too. I witnessed her treat her students as if they were her students first and foremost, but also people that she really cared for. She is the reason that my train of thought about my future changed for the better,” Duan said.
While at LAHS, Duan participated and excelled in orchestra, playing the violin, she performed in Berlin and the Czech Republic, started the Hip-Hop Dance Club and served at First Baptist Church as a music leader and in numerous ministry efforts.
Duan plans to major in neuroscience/neurology at the University of California, San Diego. Her parents are Xia Cao Christman and Ren-Guan Duan.
Megan Kelley chose Lee Goodwin, her freshman physics teacher, as her educator of distinction. Kelley said, “Mr. Goodwin taught my freshman physics class and in so doing, he completely altered the course of my life. His complete fascination with physics brought passion to every lecture and lab. I fell completely in love with everything about physics and immediately wanted to become a physicist. With a class full of unruly freshman, he still managed to tell science jokes.”
While at LAHS, Kelley participated and excelled while performing with Dance Arts Los Alamos, serving as Key Club’s officer and running on the high school’s track and field team.
Kelley plans to major in physics and nuclear engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her parents are Craig and Lori Kelley.
Jin Park chose Tammy Hinckley, his third grade teacher at Barranca Elementary School, as his educator of distinction. “When I was younger, I thought my teachers would always be just that: educators. I had never envisioned myself meeting teachers outside of class or asking them for advice years after I had left their classroom. She led by example, so Mrs. Hinckley was not just my teacher; she became my friend,” Park said.
While at LAHS, Park participated and excelled in Boy Scouts of America, earning his Eagle Scout Award, performed extensively the piano and violin, and played on the high school’s golf and soccer teams, earning a varsity letter in each.
Park plans to major in economics at Stanford University. His parents are Min and Monica Park.
Benjamin Schilling chose Anita Mitchell, his fifth grade teacher at Mountain Elementary School, as his educator of distinction. Schilling said, “Mrs. Anita Mitchell, my fifth grade teacher, made a huge difference in my life. She taught me how to be confident and work through my reading disability. I began to mirror Mrs. Mitchell’s attitude and I started to see for myself that learning was fun. Ever since fifth grade, I have done well in all of my classes.”
While at LAHS, Schilling participated and excelled at FIRST Robotics, LAYL, the United Way Youth team and Community Choir, as well as singing in two barbershop quartets.
Schilling plans to major in mechanical engineering at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro. His parents are Scott and Lori Schilling.