Local scholarships up for grabs

January 27, 2010

Simrundeep Kaur

By the time applications have been filled out and sent to colleges, students and parents start searching for scholarships and financial aid packages. Often times the first applications to cross their minds are for the LAM Scholarship, Cal Grant, and FAFSA. However, there are a multitude of other scholarships being offered locally. Best Buy, Kaiser Permanente Asian Association, Washington Hospital Medical Staff and Heald College are only a few of the many being offered. PTSA and Boosters are also offering a scholarship for members.  Career specialist Michelene Wittmer has set up a page on the school website dedicated to providing information on scholarships.

The list includes scholarships being offered, the criterion for each scholarship, the amount of money being given and the deadlines by which to apply. Wittmer also added links to relevant websites, which includes Fastweb, one of the largest databases for scholarships in the nation.

“Everything that crosses my desk, I’ve put up on the website,” Wittmer said.

The scholarships can be applied to a vast variety of interests. Some are being offered to those interested in a career in medicine, others to those of specific backgrounds and ethnicities and some for athletes, or those aspiring to be in a career involving athletics.

“I’ve heard of a scholarship for people that are either left-handed or right-handed,” senior Bhupinder Kaur said.

Many of the application forms can be found in the Career Center, while most applications can be found online.

Wittmer also mentioned that if money is still tight, contacting the actual college or university will help.

“Often times the schools are willing to help in covering some of the costs or setting up payment plans, especially if you are going to go there,” Wittmer said.

Economically, Wittmer has definitely seen a change in the number of scholarships being offered, but no significant difference in the amount of money being offered. One that has dropped significantly, however, is the LAM scholarship, which went from $10,000 to $4,000.

The information is accessible and extremely helpful to those that need it, and Wittmer encourages all seniors to apply for scholarships even if it is not a necessity. Some scholarships have earlier deadlines than others and require essays, or letters of recommendation, whereas others only require an application to be filled.

Washington scores touchdown with video contest

December 28, 2009

Nicole Doan

State Farm Insurance awarded the Washington High School football team $2,500 for being one of the winners of the Friday Night Feats video contest.

The prize-winning video, taken by the father of junior Camron Noorzad, featured defensive end and tight end senior Cedric Lousi’s play during the third quarter of the Sept. 12 football game against Deer Valley High School. Quarterback senior David Ross passed the ball to Lousi, who ran 60 yards to score a touchdown with five Deer Valley players on his tail.

“We were losing. So [the Deer Valley team was] talking a bunch of trash. That made me mad,” Lousi said. “I did whatever I could.”

Although the Washington Huskies ultimately lost the game 14-35, Lousi’s play won them $2,500.

“It’s a great cap to the season,” Coach Ken Wittmer said.

The 2009 Friday Night Feats contest highlights the grandest moments of the high school football season. Fans and a panel of judges determined the winners of the contest. Out of the 350 videos submitted, State Farm Insurance awarded $2,500 grants to 51 winners. The top three additional high schools won $15,000, $10,000 and $5,000, respectively.

The insurance company’s public affairs specialist Sevag A. Sarkissian and three Fremont State Farm agents visited Washington High School’s student center Dec. 17 to present the $2,500 check. Wittmer, the football team and school administrators attended the presentation.

ASB continues tradition with feasts

December 14, 2009

Htoo Htoo Lu

Laughter. Hugs. Enthusiasm. Team work. There was a sense of unity as ASB leaders bonded with special education students by decorating cookies together. Rather than baking cookies during the allotted time, the sweets were prepared beforehand to give students more time to decorate the treats. During the holiday celebration, they also made Christmas tree ornaments out of paper.

“We are trying to establish a relationship with these special education kids by recognizing them more,” activity director Helen Paris said. “It’s like Link Crew, except ASB is linking with special education kids.”

ASB held the Christmas feast Dec. 10 as a continuation of their efforts to reach out to special education students. Instead of wearing the usual Thursday business attire, ASB students wore red and green.
“It was wonderful. [ASB students and special education students] all got to know each other really well,” special education teacher Mary DeLeon said. “Now they would greet each other even outside of classroom.”


ASB also held the fourth annual Thanksgiving feast for special education students Nov. 19. This feast took place in the cafeteria during fourth period. Paris brought snacks, beverages and a turkey for the feast. She even cooked meals together in the classroom kitchen career counselor Michelene Whittmer and DeLeon.
“It was something I have never done before—talking and eating with the special education kids. I really enjoyed it. It was a great experience overall,” senior Jack Veronin said.

Since the feast, special education students have been dropping by the student center and helping around on occasion. For example, they helped clean the student center and around the campus.

“When the sprinklers near the amphitheater were broken, they watered the plants by hand so that the plants won’t die,” Paris said.

Special education students showed their appreciation for this feast by making placemats and thank you cards for the ASB leaders and teachers who helped make the event possible.

“I loved the feast. I loved them. I can’t wait to see them again,” senior Alex Haro said.

ASB began this tradition four years ago as a way to reach out to special education students.
Often times, special education students do not have the chance to participate in any clubs, sports and other extracurricular activities. Until four years ago, this feast has always been held in the student center. Over the past four years, the feast has expanded and moved into the cafeteria.

In the future, ASB plans to get an ASB-special education wing on the campus in which both the ASB leaders and special education students will work together to grow plants and flowers.

Wittmer gives advice in college presentation

November 28, 2009

Paige Castren

With requirements tightening and admission rates dropping, it is important for students to pay attention to dates and deadlines regarding college. College and career specialist Michelene Wittmer gave a college and financial aid presentation at a well-attended PTSA meeting Nov. 12.

Even though most college deadlines have passed for seniors, juniors should take notice of these for their approaching senior year. Wittmer emphasized visiting college campuses because she can’t believe how many students apply to colleges without ever stepping foot on campus. She also said that California State University, East Bay, should be everyone’s back-up option because Alameda County residents get priority.

Wittmer suggested that students take both the ACT and the SAT to see which one they do best at since most schools accept either. Students should take the SAT subject tests in their best subjects even if it doesn’t have anything to do with their major. She reiterated that students should only send their scores the last time they take the SAT. They have four free score reports to send to colleges that they apply to.

Seniors should take the time to apply for scholarships because it is worth the effort. Wittmer has a binder of scholarships that students are welcome to look at in the Career Center. Wittmer said that fastweb.com is the best online source for scholarships and that scholarship applications should never cost money. Students should apply for financial aid even if they do not feel that they can qualify. Wittmer is trying to schedule a Financial Aid Night.

Wittmer is more than willing to meet with students and parents throughout the whole school day.

“Whatever dreams they may have- hopefully I can assist them,” Wittmer said.

She is hoping to have her presentation on the Washington High School website soon.

Advice for seniors

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November 10, 2009

Chase Glenister

It’s November, and the feelings of stress and fatigue are once again on the rise for seniors, due to college applications and SATs or ACTs. Here are just a few facts and pieces of advice that may help you ease the stress of November:

For all seniors applying to CSUs: use CSUMentor! It’s easy, fast, and everything can be done online! You just have to fill out one application, and the site does the rest, excepting Cal Poly and Ponoma, and even then, it is made much easier by CSUMentor. Visit and apply at www.csumentor.edu and get things done.

“Don’t slack off. I know a few people who slacked off and got rescinded from colleges,” WHS alum Jonathan Pham said. “Make the most out of senior year. It’s your final year in high school.”

Don’t view all the assignments, chores and applications you have to do as a whole, or else you will stress out about how much you have to do. Take it in little bits; view it as a staircase. Take one step at a time.

If you are having a lot of trouble with college applications, go get help. Our school counselors can be a mine of information. If you are interested in scholarships, see the career counselor, Michelene Wittmer.

It is an established, yet not well-known, fact that getting your eight to ten hours of sleep is more important than a night’s worth of study. While sleeping, your brain records the events of the day, integrating the events of the day for future use. If you stay up all night, you won’t integrate all you studied into your memory. Thus, go to sleep!

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Huskies play the elite

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November 10, 2009

Elmer Ceja

The Division I league (DI) is the most prestigious sports league across the United States. In the fall of 2008, Washington High School became a Division I school due to the increase in student population size. The break point is at 2,100 students, which kept Washington down in Division II for a while.

When a school is a Division I high school, it does not affect league play, but it makes post-season competition much more difficult. All schools in the Mission Valley Athletic League (MVAL) are also Division I, except Kennedy High School. Due to the intense competition, many Division II teams are unable to even qualify for post-season play unless they win a championship.

“In order to demonstrate that Washington is a good team and can compete, I schedule the best competition I can get to play us,” Coach Ken Wittmer said.

Last fall the varsity football team was disappointed by its loss to Cal High, 0-41. This year Coach Wittmer scheduled another game against Cal High, putting their season record at risk. However, this time around, the varsity football team beat the team, 30-28, shocking spectators from around the Bay Area.

“It puts us at risk if we lose, but when we win, it demonstrates the strength of Washington football,” Wittmer said. “It is a combination of the player’s personal performance, team history and reputation and the coaches’ ability to promote the player, that helps get them recognized.”

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