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IASF Awards College Scholarships to Deserving High School Grads

July 2006
IASF Awards College Scholarships to Deserving High School Grads

Scholarships of over $36,500 were awarded to these recent high school grads towards continuing their education at esteemed colleges.

On June 4, 2006, the Indian American Scholarship Fund (IASF), a subsidiary of the IACA, hosted a banquet to recognize high school students and award them college scholarships. These scholarships covered the students from a period of one to four years and were sponsored by families; mostly in honor of deceased family members. This year, the total of all the scholarships exceeded $36,500. In the last 13 years, more than $180,000 has been awarded to Indian American students in need of financial aid.

Of the 50 high school seniors representing 28 high schools, there were three Valedictorians, Governor's Honors Program students, athletes, and members of band, debate, student council, and National Honors Society. One student even had a perfect SAT score. Amazingly enough, all the applicants scored higher than the national average SAT score of 1500. Due to the tough competition, it was difficult to select the recipients who had submitted an essay and their SAT scores. Recipients were chosen partially based on merit and partially on financial need.

Though the IACA President gave a wonderful welcoming speech, the event was unfortunately half an hour late. Thus, the thirty minutes that the high school students had to talk to college representatives, was extended to one hour. Seema Balani, a recipient two years ago, returned because she felt it was important to give back to the community that helped her when she was in need. Dr. Ritu Lohtia introduced the recipients.

Four year scholarships were awarded to Sunal Patel, Neha Mody, Aftab Chinthiwala, Amit Momaya, Sravanti Kusuma, Shreya Erramilli, Riaz Virani, Salima Barday, Venkata Damaraju, Sagar Amin, Chaitra Manjunatha and Pooja Soni. Merit scholarships were awarded to Sameer Gupta, Prathyusha Mididoddi, Malini Reddy, Kabir Barday, Shikha Kapil, Utsav Kaushish, and Sagar Patel. In addition, financial merit scholarships were awarded to Sauvik Das, Gauthami Penkakalapati, Aradhna Seth, Christa Caesar, Khushboo Patel, and Anish Bhatt.

Dr. Ravi Sarma, the original founder of the scholarship program in1994, said that although most of the Indian American community was upper middle class, he saw a slight need for aid. With an increase in student involvement, Dr. Sarma felt that the community needs to spend more money on education. Having given the main handling of the even to Dr. Anuj Manochaa and Saruj, he commended them on improving the event by involving more youth.

. As Mr. Tushar Sanghvi, the IACA president, stated, "Education is that which is attained, can never be taken away". Please contact Anuj Manochaa at manochaa@bellsouth.net if you would like to apply for scholarships, advice others or to volunteer your time.

~ Farah Ladha

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