Woodside Students Receive Thousands in Scholarships

During Awards Night, many seniors were honored for their academic excellence.

Kenna Beban, Staff Writer

Multiple Woodside seniors won over $100,000 worth of scholarships this year, and the key to their success doesn’t just lie in their academic excellence.

On Wednesday night, hundreds of Woodside juniors and seniors were honored at the annual Awards Night for their accomplishments in academics, athletics and for receiving thousands in scholarships. The academic awards were chosen by teachers who nominated students they felt deserved the award.

“I based [the nomination] off of progress in class, willingness to participate, to learn more outside of class, to take initiative and do research and outside activities,” Brooke Darmanin, biology teacher at Woodside said.

However, the awards aren’t based solely on academic achievements. Having a friendly relationship with a teacher can give a student a leg up when it comes to the nominations.

“We also try to keep in mind the background of the students and the obstacles they’ve had to overcome,” Darmanin said. “In that case, a personal relationship might help.”

Woodside also recognized the seniors that have received scholarships this year, with the top earners securing dozens of scholarships each. While having a friendly relationship with a teacher or counselor may have helped, there’s no denying the hard work they put in.

“I would go to the college and career center…I would look online…I signed up for many scholarship programs”, Fabian Gutierrez, a senior who has received over $120,000 in scholarships, said.

Charles Velschow, Athletic Director and teacher at Woodside believes that this is the most effective way to pursue scholarship opportunities. “The best thing is that the students go in and they take advantage of the college and career center,” he said.

But not every scholarship can be applied for; some require students to be nominated by an advisor that feels they deserve it. Lisa Vasquez, an advisor in the college and career center, nominated Gutierrez for several scholarships.

“She understood my situation because she knew me for so long,” Gutierrez said. “On top of my grades, [my nomination] was probably because I talk to teachers a lot and make bonds with them.”

No matter how good a student’s relationship is with their teachers, nothing trumps the immense amount of work these award winners put in to get to where they are today.

“There are so many people that deserve [the award],” Darmanin said. “It kind of hurts to have to pick just one every year.”