Six students receive Glendale scholarships

Six local students are heading to college this fall with a few extra dollars in their pockets after being named Glendale Scholarship Endowment recipients.

They include 2011 Crescenta Valley High School graduates Camille Johnson, Andrea Kizyma, Justin Trejo, Katrina Yentch and Adena Zadourian, and 2011 Hoover High School graduate Artin Mirzakhanyan. The scholarships ranged from $500 to $1,000 of a total $5,000 that was awarded.

Chuck Sambar, a former Glendale Unified teacher, administrator and school board member, founded the Glendale Scholarship Endowment in 2001. He immigrated to Southern California from Lebanon as a young child, and was looking to pay forward the American dream to young people pursuing their education in the face of extraordinary challenges.

To apply, students must be a senior at a Glendale Unified high school and have plans to enroll in a two- or four-year college or university after graduation. They are required to submit an essay describing how they overcame obstacles in their life, as well as demonstrate that the scholarship will make a difference in their ability to earn a college degree.

“The essays of the student recipients were so touching for us that it made us redouble our efforts to continue to grow the endowment, and hopefully we are able to help more students continue in their college education,” Sambar said. “Education is the key to the future, both for us as individuals as well as the community, as well as the nation.”

The Glendale Scholarship Endowment was once among the most successful of several community scholarships managed by the Community Foundation of the Verdugos. It attracted hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants and private donations, and at its peak in 2009 gave out $320,000 to college-bound students.

The scholarship fund was hit hard by the recession — the grants disappeared and Sambar and his co-collaborators were hesitant to solicit friends and neighbors for donations.

But the endowment’s $100,000 principal remains intact, and Sambar announced earlier this year a fundraising campaign to double it. He has also personally pledged to match any contribution up to $5,000.

“There is a need out there and I know that our friends and our community want to help,” Sambar said.

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