Around Town: Marina student gets collegiate boost

A big congratulations has to go out to Betty Nguyen for the unbelievable scholarship she earned. Nguyen is the first Marina High School student to win the Gates Millennium Scholarship, according to a news release.

The award is given to 1,000 students annually nationwide and covers five years of college tuition toward an undergraduate degree, two years of graduate school and four years of a Ph.D program.

Students can use the money toward a degree in computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health and the sciences.

According to the scholarship's website, the goal of the award is to "promote academic excellence and to provide an opportunity for outstanding minority students with significant financial need to reach their highest potential."

Nguyen, a senior, will be the first in her family to enroll in a four-year college. Her parents fled Vietnam and came to the U.S. in 1990. She has been accepted to UCLA and Notre Dame and is on a waiting list at Harvard.

Nguyen credits her successes with her involvement in Marina's AP courses and with school sports and activities, according to the release.

This year, the scholarship program reportedly had the highest applicant pool since it began in 1999.

According to the website, through this program the Gates Foundation hopes to "develop a diversified cadre of future leaders for America."

Nguyen said she doesn't know yet what she'll major in, according to the release, but is leaning toward social service and public health.


Saving the World, One Drowning Man at a Time

Volunteer lifeguards from the Huntington Beach-based nonprofit International Surf Lifesaving Assn. (ISLA) will speak before Congress on the need for a water-safety education curriculum and to present The Global Drowning Tracker.

ISLA's mission is to prevent drowning worldwide by equiping and training groups around the world.

Huntington Beach junior lifeguard instructor Henry Reyes and Huntington Beach state lifeguard Will Koon have been invited to speak to a congressional committee in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, International Water Safety Day.

Reyes volunteers as the president of ISLA. Koon volunteers as the international relations manager of ISLA, where he coordinates trips around the world.

Reyes and Koon will have three to five minutes to alert Congress of the drowning rates worldwide and to demonstrate the importance of drowning prevention awareness.

They will also discuss the Global Drowning Tracker website, which is design to underscore the need for awareness by showing the rate at which drowning occurs and provides them the ability to report a drowning through the Internet. The Global Drowning Tracker is also equipped with SMS text messaging technology, which enables anyone with cell phone service to take action.

For more information, visit the website at To learn more about ISLA, visit


A Boost for Historic Wintersburg

The Historic Wintersburg Preservation Fund will benefit from a fundraiser at Red Table Restaurant.

The Huntington Beach eatery will donate a percentage of its proceeds Monday to the fund in support of Wintersburg, which was the site of a Japanese American community that began in the late 1800s. The area now sits uninhabited but maintains a cultural significance as the site of the 1912 Furuta home, the 1910 Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Mission, 1910 Manse and the 1934 Church.

The Huntington Beach Harbour Mall will match the donation by Red Table. The restaurant is in the Harbour Mall, at 16821 Algonquin St. in Huntington Beach. It features dishes like crab ceviche and barbacoa beef tacos.

It is open 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday.


Council on Aging Honored for Efforts

The California Parks and Recreation Society's Awards Program recently recognized the Huntington Beach Council on Aging with its 2012 Service Award of Excellence — Champion of the Community.

Recipients were chosen based on their significant effort to influence and improve the quality of their community through parks, recreation and community services, according to a news release.

The award is given to individuals, agencies, community organizations, foundations, businesses or educational institutions for outstanding public service.

In addition to recognition at the 2013 CPRS annual Awards Banquet in San Jose, the Huntington Beach Council on Aging will receive statewide recognition in the 2013 spring issue of Parks and Recreation and on the CPRS website,

AROUND TOWN is a weekly column about people and events in Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley compiled by city editor Alicia Lopez. Please submit information about your fundraiser, charity event or a person deserving attention to or

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