The Kiwanis Club of Santa Monica started off this month honoring our longtime members, and we will finish this month celebrating the youth of the community.

At the first meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Santa Monica this month, we inducted into the Kiwanis Legion of Honor our members who have been with us for 25, 30 and 35 years. These folks have given back to this community in immeasurable ways in their cumulative 140 years in the Club. Thank you to Anthony Antich, Phyllis Baggesen, Joseph Deering, Dee Eckman, Charlie Wiese and Edward Guerboian.

And at the end of this month we will honor the hard working youth of our community by hosting our annual Kiwanis Club of Santa Monica high school scholarship awards. Over $24,000 will go to 13 area high school students who have demonstrated outstanding scholarship, leadership and community involvement. Most of the awards are in honor or memory of a remarkable Kiwanian, from the late John Drescher, the benefactor of the Santa Monica College Drescher Planetarium, to entrepreneur Ray Carriere and his late wife Alice, from the late Dr. John Gilmore, the first ophthalmologist to implant the intraocular lens, to Dick Wagnon, the beloved Santa Monica schools music instructor who passed away late last year.

Our newest award is the Chris Carrey Charitable Foundation Scholarship that will be given out by Chris’ father and Kiwanis member, Neil Carrey. A Santa Monica High School student, Chris passed away from bone cancer at age 16. The charitable foundation established in his name has been honoring his memory every since.

The student scholarship winners are from area high schools including Santa Monica High School, New Roads School, Olympic High School, Saint Monica’s High School, and Crossroads School for Arts and Science. And this year, for the first time, the local youth organizations such as the Police ActivitiesLeague, the YMCA, the YWCA, and the Boys and Girls Club were asked to nominate students for an award.

One of the things that makes these scholarship applicants and winners so special is their achievement of academic excellence despite significant financial and personal hardship. These students are Girl Scouts, volunteers for Habitat for Humanity, tutors, and stage 3 cancer patients. They have failed out of one school and then excelled at the next, they take all honors classes, they aspire to be veterinarians, trauma surgeons, archeologists and beauty salon owners, and they are responsible for the care of a disabled parent. These extraordinary students are why the Kiwanis Club of Santa Monica is proud to have provided scholarships for over 90 years.

To find out who wins the Kiwanis Club of Santa Monica high school scholarship awards this year, join us on May 27 at 5:30 p.m. at The Thelma Terry building in Virginia Avenue Park. The community is invited to celebrate these outstanding youth. Refreshments will be served. RSVP for thefree event at http://kiwanisclubsmhighschoolscholarships.eventbrite.com.

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