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Kiwanis Awards Five Scholarships

Sharon Stover, chairwoman of the Scholarship Committee, released to the Kiwanis Newsletter, Sunday, the names of the five recipients of 2015 Kiwanis scholarship awards.

The five were among 12 applicants considered by the committee this year. Each of them is an outstanding student with a strong record of community service.

Luke Kachelmeier will be the recipient of the Jeannette O. Wallace Memorial Award, and Sarah Criscuolo will receive the Lou Pierotti Memorial Scholarship. Kiwanis will also award scholarships to Jenna Erickson, Kimberly Pestovich, and Emma Phillips. All of the scholarship recipients except Erickson have participated in Key Club, the Kiwanis high school affiliate organization, during their Los Alamos High School (LAHS) careers.

Those who served on the Scholarship Committee this year were: Stover, Don Casperson, Lisa Wismer, Cindy Eaton, Dennis Gill, Morrie Pongratz, Roger Stuz, Jane Roberson, Paul Cunningham, Aleene Jenkins, Elizabeth Radcliffe (teacher as an advisor), and Kathy Boerigter (teacher as an advisor with Key Club).

The scholarship winners will be publicly announced during the LAHS Convocation at 7 p.m. on May 27. Kiwanis President Steve Boerigter will be there to present certificates to the five award winners. Subsequently, Stover said, each scholarship winner will come to a meeting of Kiwanis to describe his/her plans for the future and receive a check.

Folllowing is a summary of the accomplishments of each of the winners.

Luke Kachelmeier is the son of Brian and Andrea Kachelmeier. His father is pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church, where Luke is also active in community service efforts. Luke has three siblings. He has been a Junior Class Representative and Vice President in Key Club, and a fundraiser for the United Way Youth Team. He is an outstanding soccer player; he plays viola in the LAHS orchestra; and he has worked as a student intern at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Despite all of these activities, his cumulative grade point average (as shown on his mid- year transcript) is 4.047. He is a member of National Honor Society. He plans to major in mathematics and pursue a career in education. Morrie Pongratz, long- time Kiwanis youth liaison, wrote a two-page letter of reference for Kachelmeier, listing his many, many volunteer activities. Pongratz said, in part, “Luke is an easygoing, likeable and dedicated student. He looks for the good in everyone and every situation. He loves to volunteer at schools and work with students ... Luke’s determination and ambition convince me that he has worked hard to enhance his intellect and that he will achieve his educational objectives. Luke’s grades and academic awards convince me that he has the scholastic achievement and aptitude to succeed ... Luke is the most outstanding young man in my memory.”

  • Sarah Criscuolo, daughter of self-employed computer analyst Paul Criscuolo and Los Alamos County office administrator Pamela Criscuolo, has been involved in Key Club for four years. Kiwanis Lt. Gov. Don Casperson, a Kiwanis liaison to youth organizations, said in a letter of reference that he provided for Criscuolo, “Sarah is an outstanding Key Club member, and has just completed her term as Lieutenant Governor of the Sangre de Cristo Key Club Division of the Southwest District (SWD) ... And during this year, she was also asked and cheerfully agreed to fill in as a temporary Lieutenant Governor for yet another club division in the SWD that needed help.” He noted that she was a primary organizer for the Southwest District Convention for Key Club March 27-29 in Albuquerque, and was honored with the prestigious “Sandy Nininger Award.” In addition to her Key Club activities, she has been involved in National Honor Society, Girl Scouts, National History Day Club, soccer, and Link Crew (a senior-freshman system to welcome incoming students at LAHS). She has job experience as a kennel worker at the Los Alamos Animal Clinic, and as a medical intern at Christus Santa Rosa. And she has a cumulative GPA (on her mid-year transcript) of 4.031. Eventually, she hopes to become a physician in Northern New Mexico. “Being a physician,” she said, “is much more than just a career choice; it is one of the noblest ways to give back.”

  • Jenna Erickson, daughter of LANL engineer G. Andrew Erickson and Gillian Erickson, secretary of the White Rock Presbyterian Church, has two older siblings. Her application listed 11 extracurricular activities: Dance Arts Los Alamos (student, board member, substitute teacher); United Way Youth Team (chairwoman in 2014); LAHS yearbook (editor in 2013-2014); Fellowship of Christian Athletes (leader in 2013-2014); White Rock Baptist Church Tupos Leadership Team; Los Alamos Youth Leadership (project manager in 2012- 2013); LAHS Link Crew (Link leader 2014-present); Los Alamos Heart Council (student member in 2012); Trinity-on-the-Hill Episcopal Church house-building mission trip to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, in 2013; White Rock Baptist Church house-building mission trip to Escondido, Mexico, in 2013; and National Honor Society. She has a 4.1 cumulative GPA (mid-year transcript), and she has worked as a substitute dance teacher for Dance Arts Los Alamos, and in the Chamisa Elementary School MAPS Program. She hopes to major in ballet and an outside field and then pursue a career in humanitarian aid and non-profit outreach in the Third World. She will be going to Swaziland, Africa, for a month this summer to serve children there. In a letter of reference for Jenna, Morrie Pongratz said, “Jenna is a responsible leader; she was superb in leading our United Way Youth Team this fall ... (And) Jenna’s open, friendly approach makes folks feel welcome and loved....”

  • Kim Pestovich, daughter of LANL chemist Joseph Pestovich and Mesa Public Library senior library technician Elizabeth Pestovich, has three siblings. Her list of extracurricular activities and interests includes: four years in Key Club (with more than 30 hours of community service each year); four years on the LAHS Student Council and a year as senior class vice president; LAHS Marching

Band/Color Guard (Color Guard section leader for one year); National Honor Society; Natural Helpers; National History Day (regional and state awards, and she participated in national competition twice); work as a summer library volunteer and a Sunday School childcare volunteer; participation in the Los Alamos Middle School and LAHS Orchestras and the Santa Fe Youth Philharmonic Symphony (she plays violin); dance and baton twirling activities; and Girl Scouts. She has worked as a high school co-op student at LANL, as a student intern at Flowers by Gillian/KRSN, as a student shelver at Mesa Public Library, and as a teacher’s aid and student helper at Los Alamos Public Schools Summer School. Her cumulative grade point average is 4.057 (mid-year transcript). In her essay to the Scholarship Committee, she said, “I know for certain that I will always go out of my way to help others. In a world filled with difficulties, it only takes one light to start a flame.” Morrie Pongratz said, in a letter of reference for Kim, that she is “a responsible, inspired and humble young woman.” He noted that her many extracurricular activities have taught her “great leadership skills and great teamwork skills....”

Emma Phillips, daughter of self-employed engineer David Phillips and homemaker Edie May Phillips, has two siblings. She has been active in Key Club for four years, serving as junior class representative and president (2014-2015); she served as secretary and president of French Club; she was secretary of the Student Council in 2013-2014; and she is a member of National Honor Society. She has volunteered with the United Way Youth Team; Natural Helpers; and Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church. She has worked as a babysitter since 2011, and she is, at present, a co-op student at LANL. Her cumulative grade point average is 4.039 (mid-year transcript). In an essay to the Scholarship Committee, she said, “...I have had one permanent goal, and that is to make a difference. I have always wanted to help people, and my desire to serve others has only grown over the years ... My intention is to study business management and use what I learn to enable charitable organizations to help a greater number of people.” Kristy Ortega, a Kiwanis member who is executive director of the United Way of Northern New Mexico, wrote a letter of reference for Emma. She said, “Emma has been an active member of the United Way of Northern New Mexico Youth Team for the last two years. She was active in planning, coordinating and successfully executing four to five events in a four-month period.” Ortega noted her “ability to be a leader,” her setting of “achievable goals,” and her clear and concise communication.”