2009-06-19 / Neighbors

Scholarships help students take flight

Local chapter of the Experimental Aviation Association awarded $20,000 in college scholarships
By Michelle Knight knight@theacorn.com

Kathryn Enriquez Kathryn Enriquez Last week, 13 students from Ventura County walked away with $20,000 for their college education.

The Camarillo chapter of the Experimental Aviation Association awarded the college scholarships last Saturday in its hangar at the Camarillo Airport.

"It is one of the highlights of our year," said Steve Kivo, scholarship chair. "It is the number one thing that we aim for."

The 260-member Camarillo Chapter 723 is one of more than 1,000 EAA chapters worldwide whose aim is to preserve the spirit of aviation. Members build and fly their own planes, and membership is open to anyone enthusiastic about flying, whether they have a pilot's license or not.

The scholarship amount this year was $5,000 more than last year. In 2008, the chapter awarded its first academic scholarships, giving $15,000 to six Ventura County youth studying or planning to study science.

The chapter was able to increase the amount of the scholarships because the Gene Haas Foundation increased its donation to the chapter from $5,000 last year to $10,000 this year, Kivo said.

One of the reasons the chapter exists, he said, is to promote the joy of flying among young people. In addition to the scholarships, EAA members take children on free airplane rides through the Young Eagles program. Proceeds raised through the EAA's annual Air Expo at the Camarillo Airport go into the scholarship fund.

Kivo said 51 students from across the county applied for the chapter's 10 scholarships. The fourperson scholarship committee had such a difficult time narrowing down the field that they decided to award 13 scholarships instead, he said.

"I can't tell you what a great bunch of students this county puts out and I'm talking about every city in this county," Kivo said.

The scholarships ranged from $1,000 to $2,500 and went to high school students from Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, Agoura, Oxnard and Ojai and to a college student at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo. Students already in college who meet the requirements, including passing an interview, are also eligible.

Kathryn Enriquez of Camarillo will be the first in her family to attend college in the United States.

The scholarship winners— three females and 10 males— come from about every ethnic background one can imagine and are proud of their heritage, Kivo said.

"Kathryn was one of those, and there were several, who brought tears to my eyes," Kivo said. "Her story is an American story."

A 2009 Adolfo Camarillo High graduate, 18-year old Kathryn plans to study bioengineering or human biology at Stanford University in the fall.

"I'm really grateful," Kathryn said of the EAA's $2,500 scholarship. "It was really nice to hear that all my hard work paid off."

Kathryn's parents, natives of the Philippines who were engineering majors at the same college, moved to the U.S. before Kathryn and her 10yearold sister were born. Kathryn's mother is an electrical engineer and her father an aircraft maintenance officer for the Navy.

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