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Scholarship banquet continues tradition of “Honoring excellence in learning”

July 2005
Scholarship banquet continues tradition of “Honoring excellence in learning”

The India American Scholarship Fund of IACA held its 13th annual graduating seniors' banquet at the Hilton Atlanta North East, on June 5th. With over 200 guests including high school students with their families, college students, and donors, the banquet was organized by Dr. Suvrat Bhargave, Chairman of the India American Scholarship Fund (IASF) and Dr. Anuj Manocha. They were supported by Dr. P. Ravi Sarma, founder and past Chairman of IASF and other committee members.

"The Fund was established in 1993, under the Chairmanship of Dr. Sarma to serve the educational needs of the Asian Indian community in Georgia," said Dr. Bhargave in his opening address. "Over the past 13 years, it has awarded 155 college scholarships totaling over $155,000 to high school seniors who would be attending an accredited four-year college and university. It has thus lived up to its motto, ?Honoring excellence in learning,'" he added.

"The awards are ?one-year' and ?four-year' scholarships that are based on financial need, academic merit, SAT score, extracurricular merit and community service. Three ?four-year' scholarships were awarded this year and were sponsored by the Darshan Bhatia family, Ravi Sarma family and the Bhupendra Patel family. This year, the IASF recognized 45 graduating seniors and awarded 27 scholarships totaling $35,000," he said amidst cheers. Referencing recent articles in USA Today and New York Times, he said, "it was heartening to note that out of the 20 ?All USA High School Academic Team' listed by the former newspaper, 4 were from the Indian-American community."

Dr. Ravi Sarma thereafter lauded Dr. Bhargave and Dr. Manocha, sons of the founding members of IACA, Mr. Jagan Bhargave and Dr. Sohan Manocha respectively, for spearheading the IASF and demonstrating their leadership qualities. He congratulated the 2005 graduating seniors and exhorted them to do voluntary work and also make a mark in performing arts and other diverse activities. Referring to the high national drop-out rate of as much as 30%, he said, he felt proud to inform that among the IASF awardees, there was only one dropout so far in their 13 years. He thanked all the individuals, corporate donors as well as the organizational donors, especially mentioning Telegu Association of Metro Atlanta and the Hindu Temple of Atlanta for their generous help.

Dr. Sarma hinted that the IASF is planning on a new initiative of helping students who are beginning their senior year, but are in the middle level of SAT performance. Those students, who need help in English, Math and essay writing skills, will either be given fully sponsored or subsidized tuition with nationally recognized Kaplan or Princeton Review coaching institutions.

Dr. Manocha highlighted some impressive performance statistics relating to the Class of 2005. Among the 66 graduating seniors, ten had scored 1400 or better on their SAT, including a perfect 1600. 14 students were placed in top 5% of their class including 3 valedictorians. He went on to stress that in addition to academic excellence, they had achieved notable successes in dance, music, literature and sports. He also cited the phenomenal success of the Indian-origin students in the National Spelling Bee, National Geographic Bee, American Math Olympiad, and Intel Science talent search and competitions that have garnered the mainstream media's attention and helped increase the profile of the Indian-American community.

IACA President Tushar Sanghvi and Vice President Mrs. Seetha Vallurupalli greeted and handed gifts to each member of the ?Class of 2005'. There was a poignant moment when IACA's past President Mr. Giriraj Rao was recognized and requested to present the Darshan S Bhatia Memorial Award.

- Mahadev Desai

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