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Eighth Graders Win College Scholarships

Five Long Beach Unified School District eighth graders earned money for college recently, 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, difficulties outside school or other challenges. Jefferson student Nara Vor, for instance, could not speak English when she arrived from Cambodia but soon became fluent in her new language. Along with Vor, the winners and their schools include Nicholas Childers, Cubberley; Jose Cabrera, Hill; Takhyia Cotton, Newcomb; and Danira Iolamo, Stephens. Each winner received a certificate, and their $500 scholarship checks will be presented when they enroll in a trade school or college in five years. The unique scholarships in escrow started after the Loughs provided the endowment funds eight 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 that 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. As part of the Lough Awards this year, an additional $180-per-year scholarship from a new Frangesch Memorial Fund went to student Carmen Ortega of Rogers Middle School. The fund was established in August 1998 in memory of John Frangesch, a popular LBUSD elementary school principal who died shortly after his retirement. The award selection criteria are the same as those used for the Lough Awards. To contribute to either fund, contact the Long Beach Education Foundation at 997-8250.