Families, educators and education leaders gathered last night at the Virginia Smith Honor Scholars Award Dinner, held at the MCOE Downtown Center, to celebrate the achievements of more than 100 scholarship recipients and 18 honor scholars.
Students from El Capitan, Merced and Golden Valley high school were recognized for meeting the VST scholarship criteria. For high school seniors, applicants must have at least a 3.0 GPA, attended school in Merced City for at least three years, plan to attend a four-year California university and demonstrate that they are worthy, deserving and in need of financial assistance.
Honor Scholar recipients are awarded a $20,000 four-year scholarship disbursed in $5,000 per year. These applicants were scored highest by the VST committee out of the high school seniors who applied. Only high school seniors qualify for the Honor Scholarship.
The awards dinner featured remarks from Merced County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve Tietjen and guest speaker VST Development Project Manager Stephen Peck, who congratulated the honorees and noted how the achievement is a testament to Virginia Smith’s vision of academic excellence for students of Merced.
“All of the VST Scholars should be proud of their academic achievements and look forward to a promising future,” said Merced County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve Tietjen, who also serves as the Trust Advisor. “In the coming years we look forward to more students across Merced County utilizing the VST scholarship.”
Merced County Superior Court recently granted a petition to modify the VST to expand its ability to serve students countywide with grants and scholarships. The Trust was previously open to students in the city of Merced.