Lough Scholars' Average 8th Graders Win $500 for College

Their report cards say they're average. But their personal stories show they're tenacious, motivated and optimistic. Five eighth graders with C averages moved a step closer to college last week, when each was selected to receive a $500 college scholarship, courtesy of the Lyman W. and Nancy E. Lough Eighth Grade Scholarship Fund. The awards go to students with average grades (2.0 to 2.9 GPA), good citizenship and a potential for future success. The winners traditionally are students who are beating the odds and continuing to learn despite tough circumstances, such as a disability, difficult situations at home or other challenges. Winner Monique Melchor, for instance, could not speak English four years ago. Recently, the Hill student won first place in an Optimist speech contest. The other Lough Scholarship winners and their schools are: Brandy Veal, Hudson; Wayne Mingo, Jefferson; Jennifer Salas, Lindbergh; and Favian Guerrero, Stephens. Each winner receives a certificate and a scholarship check, which is presented upon enrollment in trade school or college. The unique scholarships in escrow started after the Loughs provided funds seven years ago. Any Long Beach Unified school with eighth graders can nominate one student to become a finalist. Each year, the five scholarship winners are selected from a group of about 20 finalists, each of whom receives an engraved plaque. Individuals and corporations who would like to sponsor a scholarship in escrow may do so for only $100 per year. The money is earmarked for a deserving student in eighth grade, with $100 per year added during each year in high school for a total of $500 by the time the student enters college. Students who know someone believes in them have a powerful incentive to stay in school and to take more rigorous courses to prepare for college or career training beyond high school. For information, contact the Long Beach Education Foundation at 997-8250.