American Heritage Scholarship Program Focuses on the Constitutionality of the Death Penalty

For Immediate Release: November 6, 2017


Valerie Escobar, Administration, 238-1706

Cynthia Fenech, Communications, 238-1704

This fall, 362 high school juniors and seniors from throughout the county participated in the annual American Heritage Scholarship Series essay contest, a competition sponsored by The Modesto Bee, in partnership with the Stanislaus County Office of Education (SCOE) and Modesto City Schools.  Nineteen students will be honored for their essays at an awards ceremony on Tuesday, November 14th at 7:00 p.m. in the Board Room at SCOE, 1100 H Street, Modesto.  The public is invited to attend.

A total of $10,000 in scholarship awards will be presented:

One……………$2,000 scholarship

Two……………$1,500 scholarships

Two……………$1,000 scholarships

Four……………$500 scholarships

Ten………….....$100 scholarships

The American Heritage Scholarship is possible thanks to the support of organizations and individuals who contribute to the success of the program.  Scholarship sponsors include: Jack & Pam Able, Bank of Stockton, Ramon & Barbara Bawanan, Tom & Dianne Changnon, Mike Dunbar, E. & J. Gallo Winery, James & Carol Enochs, Robert Hampton & Teresa Alley, Judy Herrero, Aaron Pennekamp, Ben Kuykendall, Kiwanis Club of Greater Turlock, Law Offices of Frank Lima, Martin & Sharon Petersen, Varco Pruden, Modesto Irrigation District, MOCSE, Modesto Lion’s Club, Modesto Sunset Lion’s Club, Fred & Susan Rich, John & June Rodgers, James & Peggy Shiovitz, Turlock Irrigation District, and Sue & Lynn Zwahlen.

Teaching students and adults to think critically about issues affecting the United States and increasing their awareness of what it means to be an American are the goals of the American Heritage Scholarship Program.  In a September 19th presentation, Aaron Pennekamp, an Associate of Munger, Tolles & Olson and former clerk to the US Supreme Court, presented impartial research and philosophies that touched both legal, historic, and contemporary perspectives of the issue: “Is the death penalty constitutional?”  An audience of community members and students attended the presentation to learn more about this topic. “This program continues to be an outstanding model of community collaboration,” said Tom Changnon, Stanislaus County Superintendent of Schools. “I am proud to be a part of highlighting the importance of the civic mission of public education.” 

A group of local educators, editors, community leaders, and Superior Court Judges judged the essays.  Scholarship winners are invited to the November 14th event and the amount per scholarship will be announced at that time.

Those slated to be honored for scholarships, in alphabetical order, include:


High School

Bowman, Corina

Gregori High School

Chhay, Tristan

Gregori High School

Fahlen, Carmen

Gregori High School

Friesen, Timea

Waterford High School

Glodek, Juliana

Gregori High School

Hijaouy, Zakaria

Gregori High School

Hopkins, Joshua

Gregori High School

Jara, Garrett

Gregori High School

Jensen, Alexander

Gregori High School

Meyer, Micaela

Gregori High School

Oliveira, Tyler

Gregori High School

Pabalan, Russell

Oakdale High School

Rohrer, Anna

Whitmore Charter High School

Spani, Shawn

Oakdale High School

Swanberg, Joy

Gregori High School

Swartz, Katherine

Gregori High School

Tan, Aron Christopher Lee

Gregori High School

Tran, Kaitlynn

Gregori High School

Young, Hannah

Gregori High School

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