LAPS Foundation awards six scholarships

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By The Staff

This year, the Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation provided scholarships to six Los Alamos High School graduates who are either pursuing college or vocational training.

Each recipient chose an Educator of Distinction, a teacher or education professional who had the greatest impact on them while attending Los Alamos Public School.

The recipients included Rebecca Boerigter, Elyse Dinehart, Noopur Goyal, Jeremy Kasik, Allen Pittman and Kelsey Souza.

Boerigter will attend Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., to pursue a Bachelor of Science in biomedical engineering, with the intent of attending graduate or medical school in the future.

Boerigter participated and served in a number of orgazinations during her years at LAHS: varsity track and field, yearbook, National Honor Society, teaching vacation bible school and Sunday school at White Rock Baptist Church and working part-time as the physics department intern at Los Alamos High School and as a server at Chinshan Restaurant in White Rock.

Boerigter chose Debbie Smith, her sixth-grade teacher at Chamisa Elementary School as her Educator or Distinction.

“The lessons that she taught I still use today,” Boerigter said. “She was kind, but challenged me. She designed curriculum that would interest me and build upon my personal skills. While a student in her class, I learned that being your best is better than just being.”

Dinehart will attend the University of Dallas, in Irving, Texas, a small Catholic liberal arts college. She will major in mathematics and pursue a minor in secondary education. Dinehart intends to teach high school mathematics in New Mexico maybe even at Los Alamos High School.

During her years at LAHS, Dinehart participated and served in the following ways: varsity tennis, yearbook, National Honor Society, leadership team for Caf Scientific, Alter Server at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church and Chamber Orchestra.

She chose Anne Ryer, her sixth-grade teacher at Pion Elementary School, as her Educator of Distinction.

“She challenged me to learn those hard spelling words and solve difficult math problems,” Dinehart said. “That year ,I was struggling, especially with math, and she would stay after school to make sure I understood what we had learned in class so that I would be able to complete my homework. Ryder is my inspiration for wanting to become a high school math teacher.”

Goyal will attend University of California at Santa Cruz to pursue a degree in biology with the intent of pursuing a career in medical or research science.

During her years at LAHS, Noopur participated in varsity tennis, National Honor Society, Student Council, Los Alamos Heart Council. She also served and was named as Rotary Student of the Month, Key Club president, New Mexico Star Scholar and was a junior volunteer at Los Alamos Medical Center.

She chose Beth West, her Advanced Placement World Literature and Composition teacher, as her Educator of Distinction.

“I have chosen her as a teacher of distinction because of the positive and energetic attitude that she brings to the classroom,” Goyal said. “West speaks about literature with the greatest passion and because of this, I was eager to learn from her. She always supports her students and believes that they are capable of anything. She instilled in me the greatest sense of pride in learning and for that I am forever thankful.”

Kasik will attend the United States Naval Academy as a member of the class of 2012 as an undeclared major. Upon graduation, he will serve the minimum five years as an officer in the Navy, but intends to serve until the point at which he can retire.

Kasik served as the varsity captian for the football and baseball teams and was the commanding officer in the NJORTC. He also participated in JUNTOS and Los Alamos Youth Leadership, and National Honor Society.

Catherine Puranananda, his freshman literature and senior Advanced Placement Literature teacher is Kasik’s Educator of Distinction.

“My experience at LAHS and my life were positively impacted by Ms. P,” Kasik said. “The writing skills I learned in her class during my freshman year, prepared me for advanced studies as a sophomore and Advanced Placement courses in my junior and senior years. I feel thankful for the brilliant instruction that she has given me and am confident that she will remain a life-long friend.”

Pittman will attend the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque to pursue a degree in psychology or microbiology with his focus on a degree in medicine.

During Pittman’s years at LAHS he participated and served in the following: varsity cross country and track and field, National Honor Society, Peace Club, Student Council, Los Alamos Youth Leadership and JUNTOS, he also worked at the Los Alamos Ski Hill as a ski instructor.

Pittman chose Rob Hipwood, health teacher and cross country coach as his Educator of Distinction.

“I met Hipwood my freshman year of high school after doing track in the spring,” Pittman said. “Through knowing him, I learned not only how to pace myself in a race, but also how to have fun and look at life with a laugh. As my role model, I see Hipwood as the perfect balance of seriousness and fun. I see him as my teacher, coach, and lifelong friend. Hipwood, I’ll miss you.”

Souza will attend the University of California at San Diego to pursue a dental degree with the intent of studying and practicing orthodontia.

Some of the Souza’s participation and service during her years at LAHS included: Key Club, Juvenile Justice Advisory Board Youth Sub-Committee member, National Honor Society, yearbook, piano, and she was a semi-finalist in the UNM/PNM state-wide mathematics contest.

Souza chose Shannon Seitz, yearbook teacher and her advisor as her Educator of Distinction.

“As my yearbook teacher and advisor for two years, she made a difference, teaching me skills I never learned from studying the traditional subjects,” Souza said. “Seitz taught me to believe in myself. When I was working on the yearbook, she pushed me to my limit, encouraging me to meet deadlines, be creative, and reminding me that I was a great leader as a co-editor in chief. I have achieved more in her class than I ever thought possible and learned about the value of hard work.”

The mission of the LAPS Foundation is to enrich the educational experience of students through community investment.

The LAPS Foundation was entrusted with funds by the Los Alamos Community Foundation to give the scholarships to Los Alamos High School graduates.