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CHS seniors win $71,000 in local scholarships
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Over $71,000 in local community- and school-based scholarships and over $370,000 in school scholarships were awarded to Ceres High School graduates at the May 11 scholarship awards night.

Principal Linda Stubbs awarded the prestigious Principal's Cup non-monetary award to Christian Davila and Alyssa Eudy. The award is based on grades, extracurricular involvement and citizenship.

"What I was looking for in my first year of giving it out was somebody who made a difference on campus and making a difference in people's lives by what their actions are on a daily basis, how they treat people, their interactions with students and teachers and those two really popped out," said Stubbs. "They are going to have great impact as they move forward."

Receiving the distinguished non-monetary Bank of America awards were: Ariel Coomes in drama; Amanda Foster in science; Bastiaan Weststeyn in agriculture; Cristina Raya in foreign language; Edward Lopez in applied arts; Elyce Gleason in music; Gabriela Hernandez in English; Hollie Brown in art; Jack Parnoutsoukian in mathematics; Jesse Gutierrez in trade & industrial; Joseph "Joey" Simas in liberal arts; Orlando Lopez in ESL; McKenzy Harden in fine arts; Robert Mata in history; and Wilson Liang in science and math.

Joey Simas was also honored as a National Merit Scholarship Program finalist. Simas was awarded a $2,500 college scholarship. Scoring a 223 out of a possible 240 - in the 99th percentile - makes him one of the smartest high schoolers in America. To illustrate the rarity, consider that of the 1.5 million entrants in the program, about 50,000 qualify for recognition. Of those, only 16,000 semi-finalists are named. Then, 8,200 merit scholars are chosen. Of them, only 2,500 scholars are given $2,500 scholarships underwritten by corporations and business organizations, colleges and universities, and by NMSC.

His high score piqued the interest of California State University, Long Beach which offered him a full-ride Presidential Scholarship.

Stubbs said 26 percent of the graduates of the Ceres High School class of 2010 have been accepted into a four-year college. Of course, not all who are accepted will attend, she added, but the percentage is higher than in past years.

"There are many different reasons students chose not to. One of the big ones right now is economics and not being able to move away from home. But our goal is to give students options and I think we've done a very good job here giving students the options so they have in their capabilities to do the things that they want to do."

Of the 246 seniors receiving diplomas at Ceres High School, 10 were accepted into the U.C. system, 33 accepted to the CSU system and seven to other four-year schools. Seventy percent of the class, or 172 students were accepted into a community or junior college while 24 students (10 percent) are headed into the military, workforce or a vocational school.

Stubbs praised the community for its continued support of scholarships.

"I really think that in economic downtimes like we're in now when the community pulls together and still has the money to give to our recipients, I think that's amazing," said Stubbs. "The community in general has been outstanding."