Encouraged by keynote speaker Chris Erskine to discover what makes them "sing inside" during their college years, 13 La Cañada students were feted Sunday as Thursday Club scholarship winners during a tea held at the organization's Woodleigh Lane clubhouse.
Twelve of the day's honorees were given the club's Scholarship Foundation awards: Patrick Gibbons, Bryan Guan, Justin Hogan, Conrad Jensen, Jonathan Le, Camille Lorenz, Leonard ("Lenny") Pieroni, Naomi Stephen, Holly Stoner, Ryan Van Slooten, Daniel Wang and Tyler Yang.
The club also awards each year the Greenawalt Foundation Scholarship, named for the late Denise Greenawalt, to someone who exhibits spirit, energy and tenacity in overcoming obstacles. This year's Greenawalt Scholarship went to Sahar Shirbacheh.
Gibbons, Jensen and Pieroni attend St. Francis High School; Lorenz, Stoner, Van Slooten, Stephen, Guan, Yang and Shirbacheh are graduating from La Cañada High School; Hogan is a senior at Polytechnic School, while Wang goes to Flintridge Preparatory School.
Keynote speaker Erskine, a La Cañada resident, Los Angeles Times columnist and author whose most recent book, "Daditude" was published this spring, told humorous stories and gave heartfelt advice to the teens.
Each of the scholarship winners briefly spoke of their high school experiences and aspirations. All have made their college selections and, for a photo opportunity, held banners depicting the name of those schools.
According to Becky Lankey, chairman of the scholarship program, her committee received a record number of applications this year. Not only are the winners academically high-achieving, with a combined GPA of over 4.0, but they have been involved in community service and show a potential for future successes.
Serving with Lankey on the scholarship committee were Sharon Combs, Jean Chubb, Mary Ann Hesseman, Patrice Fontes and Vita Avanesian.