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Kiwanis Club Honors Exceptional Students

Story & Photos By Evonne Liew, DiamondBarPatch

Ninety students from the Rowland, Walnut Valley, and Pomona Unified school districts were honored for their achievements during the Walnut Valley Kiwanis Club's Ed Chapman Student Awards Ceremony Thursday night.

The award, in its 42nd year, was originally awarded only to students headed to vocational school, but with a declining enrollment, the awards ceremony is now open to all students in the area.

“[Ed Chapman, the third president of the Walnut Valley Kiwanis Club], wanted to give scholarships to kids who were going to vocational schools rather than just four year colleges because he felt that the vocational kids weren’t getting any recognition,” said Trudy Brandt, current president of the Walnut Valley Kiwanis Club.

Brandt said that teachers and administrators from each school nominated students for plaques of recognition based upon the students’ marked passion for or improvement in subjects as diverse as computer aided drafting, Photoshop, and sports medicine.

The awards are no longer exclusively awarded to students bound for vocational schools because “not that many kids go to vocational schools anymore,”Brandt said.

Although grades were not the prime factor in the nomination process, many of the students did possess high GPAs, and some even had letters of acceptance to Ivy League schools.

In addition to the plaques of recognition, seven students—one from each high school—were also were also awarded $300 scholarships. The Joe Dyer Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded to one Key Club student, was given to Julie Wu, a senior at Diamond Bar High School, for her dedication to community service.

“It makes them feel really special and they deserve it, so it’s really cool,” said Catherine Real, principal of Diamond Bar High School.

The Walnut Valley Kiwanis Club raises raises funds for its scholarships through events such as the upcoming Texas Hold'em tournament on June 4.

List of honorees (asterisk indicates that he/she also received a scholarship):

Diamond Bar High School Students:

Julie Wu*
Sarah Neely
Michelle Koh
Jacqueline Chow
Dennis Ruan
Nicholas Thacker
Brandon Junus
Chelsea Bongolan
Brittanie Fuentes*
Megan McMillan
Kevin Ferris
Andrew Stilkey
Robert Garcia