American Heritage Scholarship Program


Program Introduction

This year is the 17th year of the American Heritage Scholarship Program, a partnership between The Modesto Bee, Stanislaus County Office of Education, and Modesto City Schools. The program includes a public lecture and an essay competition for Stanislaus County High School juniors and seniors. Students from public, private, and charter schools are encouraged to apply.

2018 Essay Prompt

The Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution states, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”  

How should the “right to bear arms” be interpreted and enforced in 2018?  In a well-crafted, logical essay, take a stance on this issue and provide references to primary and secondary resources in support of your opinion.


Top Essay Scholarship Finalists

 Amount  First Name Last Name School
 $  2,000 Jaycob Wiggins Whitmore Charter
 $  1,500 Lauren Arakelian Gregori High
 $  1,500 Eli Frazer Whitmore Charter
 $  1,000 Michael  Doll Gregori High
 $  1,000 Shireen Talieh Gregori High
 $     500 Sofia De Angelis  Gregori High
 $     500 John Nunnally Beyer High
 $     500 Nathan Oh Gregori High
 $     500 Jaxon Reeves Gregori High
 $     100 Alyssa Alvara Gregori High
 $     100 Kendra Barton Big Valley Christian High
 $     100 Megan Colon Whitmore Charter
 $     100 Matthew Goss Gregori High
 $     100 Roman Heath Gregori High
 $     100 Molly Howard Whitmore Charter
 $     100 Josh Oberst Gregori High
 $     100 Sophia Potochnik Beyer High
 $     100 Elizabeth Wixom Connecting Waters
 $     100 Renee  Woodard Gregori High

Guest Speaker Presentation 

Pre-recorded Presentation Link

Eric Grant, Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the U.S. Department of Justice

Eric Grant is the older son of Dr. and Mrs. Curtis and Nancy Grant of Modesto.  He graduated from Thomas Downey High School in 1984, after which he obtained his undergraduate degree in economics in 1986 and his law degree in 1990, both from the University of California, Berkeley.  During his 28-year career as a lawyer, Mr. Grant has served as a law clerk to Retired Chief Justice Warren E. Burger and to Associate Justice Clarence Thomas; argued cases in the United States Supreme Court, the California Supreme Court, and numerous other federal and state appellate courts; published law journal articles on constitutional law; and taught as an adjunct professor at UC Davis School of Law.  Following two decades in private practice in Sacramento, Mr. Grant last year joined the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., where he serves as the Deputy Assistant Attorney General in charge of appellate and Indian-related litigation.  

2018 Scholarship Funding 

This program is entirely funded by generous community members, businesses, and organizations. (Interested donors may reach out all throughout the year to SCOE at 238-1701 to support this program) Funding for 2018 Scholarships will be updated as they come in and have already been received from (updated 11/8/18):

  • Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo Law Firm
  • Bank of Stockton
  • Ramon & Barbara Bawanan
  • Tom & Dianne Changnon​
  • Jeff and Sandi Dirske
  • Mike & Tammy Dunbar
  • James and Carole Enochs
  • E & J Gallo Winery
  • Mark & Jeanette Goss
  • Curtis and Nancy Grant
  • Ronald W. Hillberg, Attorney-at-law
  • Kathy Hobby
  • Kiwanis Club of Greater Turlock​
  • Modesto Irrigation District
  • Modesto Teachers Association
  • Mocse Credit Union
  • Modesto Lions 500 Club
  • North Modesto Kiwanis Club
  • Martin Petersen 
  • Fred & Susan Rich
  • Turlock Irrigation District
  • Waterford Lions Club
  • Lynn and Sue Zwahlen

Contact Us

1100 H Street
Modesto, CA 95354
Mon.-Fri. 8am-5pm

Mission Statement

Mission Statement 

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.

Vision Statement 

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.

Key Contacts

Susan Rich

Susan Rich

Assistant Superintendent, SCOE Administrative Services

Valerie Escobar

Executive Assistant, SCOE Administrative Services