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2015 American Heritage Scholarship Program

Above is the top award winner (2014): Sophia Sidhu, Gregori High School ($2,000)

This is the 14th year of the American Heritage Scholarship Program, which includes a public lecture and an essay competition for Stanislaus County juniors and seniors.

View 2015 Lecture Below:

Application Materials:

Writing Resources

Overview of Past Winners & Prompts


The American Heritage Scholarship Program seeks to increase our understanding of what it means to be an American.  Unlike other nations, the essence of American nationality has little to do with our country of origin or the specifics of our religious faith.  While the American spirit embraces such diversity, what unites us as a people is a shared set of principles and ideals which proclaim our freedoms and set forth our responsibilities.

This program is intended to encourage teens, and the public, to think about what makes the United States unique in the world, with a focus on the Constitution. Previous lectures have looked at the Patriot Act, the First Amendment, the separation of church and state, and the role of political parties.

This year's essay prompt is:

In 1215, the Magna Carta affirmed a right to trial by jury. 800 years later and a continent away, many civil and criminal disputes are still resolved by juries. Is trial by jury an idea past its prime?
Make a case either for or against the use of juries to try civil and criminal disputes in modern America.

The presentation is slated for September 22, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. at the Downey High School Auditorium, located at 1000 Coffee Rd, Modesto. Please park in the back lot.

Video of the September 22nd lecture featuring guest speakers, Kirk McAllister and Ruben Villalobos will be available via live stream and arcived for viewing at a future date. To view this presentation on September 22nd or a later date, please click on the link above.

Rules and applications for the essay contest have been sent to high schools in the county and are also available online. All juniors and seniors including home-schooled students are encouraged to enter.

More information is available from the Stanislaus County Office of Education, 238-1706, a lead sponsor of the event. Modesto City Schools and The Modesto Bee also are sponsors, with scholarship funding provided by local businesses, organizations and individuals.

Funding for 2015, is provided by:

  • Arata, Swingle, Sodhi & Van Egmond
  • Bank of Stockton
  • Dean & Elizabeth Doerksen
  • E. & J. Gallo Winery
  • Curtis & Nancy Grant
  • Law Offices of Frank M. Lima
  • Martin & Sharon Petersen
  • Fred & Susan Rich
  • Charles & Catherine Quittmeyer
  • Sue & Lynn Zwahlen

The American Heritage Awards Ceremony is scheduled for November 17, at 7:00 pm at the Stanislaus County Office of Education Board Room at 1100 H Street in Modesto.  We hope you will be able to join us for the culminating celebration of this exciting project.

286 students from 13 high schools entered the American Heritage Essay competition last year. Nineteen student essays were selected to receive scholarships by a panel of judges that consisted of educators, community members, and Superior Court Judges.

2014 Scholarship Winners


First Name

Last Name

Award Amount
Gregori High Sophia Sidhu $2,000
Central Catholic Julie Fogarty $1,500
Whitmore Charter Brenda Yu $1,500
Whitmore Charter Eliana Montalvo $1,000
Oakdale High Quinn Gagos $1,000
Whitmore Charter Christopher Pack $500
Enochs High James Tyner $500
Whitmore Charter Molly Cluff $500
Gregori High Sam Stapley $500
Gregori High Chris Oneto $100
Johansen High Jessie Morales $100
Gregori High Ezra Ruiz $100
Pitman High Andrea Meraz $100
Gregori High Autumn Smithers $100
Johansen High Adriel Contreras $100
Modesto High John Souza $100
Central Valley High Claudia Franco $100
Johansen High Harleen Moundi $100
Gregori High Tyler Janitz $100
    Total Scholarships $10,000


Windows Media

The lecture video is available in Windows Media Format for Mac/ PC.
For more information please visit the Windows Media Player website