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June 8, 2010 > Irvington High student wins scholarship

Irvington High student wins scholarship

By Miriam G. Mazliach
Photos By courtesy of Rajeswari Ramanathan

Irvington High School junior, Rajeswari ("Raji") Ramanathan was profiled in an April 21 article that appeared in the Tri-City Voice. At the time, she was chosen as one of the Bentley Tomorrow25, a select group of outstanding high school juniors, from around the world, recognized as young leaders of tomorrow.

Since then, Ramanathan has achieved another remarkable feat - winning a $40,000 college scholarship from Discover, a leading credit card issuer and electronic payment services company. Yearly, 10 Discover scholarships are awarded and Ramanathan is the sole winner from the Bay Area. Since 1991, when the Discover Scholarship Award began, the company has awarded $16 million to nearly 6,500 students.

Ramanathan's parents found the application online and encouraged her to apply. As part of the process, Ramanathan says, "I had to write six essays, two each on the topics: leadership, community service, and overcoming an obstacle."

An involved student at school, Ramanathan has many interests, including journalism and photography. She has also volunteered innumerable hours with the Children's reading department at Fremont Main Library for the past five years.

Exemplifying the qualities that earned her recognition was Ramanathan's creation of a global project, "The Pencil Project." Three years ago, she and her sister began collecting pencils and stationery from local schools, libraries and churches. Thousands of items were shipped to Nigeria and Kentucky schools for needy school kids there. This year Ramanathan is collecting for an orphanage in Barundi, India, as well as Africa and a nearby school in San Leandro, California.

"I mainly want to thank the staff and administration of Irvington High School, for their exceptional aid and support, especially College/Career Center Counselor, Mrs. Kimmel, for writing recommendations for me," says Ramanathan. "I would also like to express my thanks to Mrs. Karen Pacheco, Fremont Main Library Children's Supervisor for her letter of recommendation for the Discover Scholarship."

"It is beyond an honor to be selected as one in the nation for the Discover Scholarship," says Ramanathan. "It is not even more so the money but rather that good feeling in knowing that my accomplishments have been recognized. Of course, the money will greatly aid towards my college expenses. This is definitely one big leap on my way to success."

Discover website:

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