4th Annual West Coast Awards Banquet
Soaring to new heights! For the first time the California Science Center in Los Angeles hosted the West Coast Awards ceremony for the Carson Scholars Fund. You are transported into space as soon as you enter the lobby when you eyes are drawn to look up to see two fighter jets soaring near the ceiling, under the huge skylights.
It was only last September when the center became the host for the spaceship Endeavor, after it completed its 25th mission. After landing in LAX in September, the magnificent work of ingenuity and modern technology was paraded through the streets of Los Angeles to its current home at the center.
Principal sponsor, Union Bank’s presence was felt throughout the Loker Conference Room.
Carson Scholar Alumni, Bowen Jiang, M.D. opened the program. This young man won a Carson scholarship in 2004, recently completed his medical degree at Stanford and will be training as a neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins in the fall!!! This Carson Scholar has truly followed in Dr. Carson’s footsteps!
2013 Carson Scholar and Denver native Carlin Gilbert, a 9th grader from Watershed School solemnly led in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Bowen continued with a short history and the mission of the Carson Scholars Program. As a Carson Scholar Board member, he shared a unique perspective on the experience of being one of the elite scholars.
Union Bank’s Regional Executive Lawrence Henry spoke on behalf of his colleagues, noting that this year is the 4th time Union Band has hosted the Carson Scholars Awards Banquet for the West Coast. After introducing bank representatives and Carl Ballton, President of the Union Bank Foundation, he went on to introduce 2013 Carson Scholar Sydney Reinart, an 8th grade student at Serra Catholic School. Her grace included appreciation for the opportunity to be in CSF and for the talents each has received.
During lunch, guests enjoyed a flute selection from Bowen Jiang, and 2013 scholar Kamran Jamil’s piano prowess with Chopin’s Nocturne I C-sharp minor. Kamran is an 11th grade student at the Bishop’s School in La Jolla, CA, and Bowen is the up-and-coming neurosurgeon who opened the program.
Candy Carson continued the program with congratulations to the 34 West Coast students who will be honored for the first time and the 24 previous scholars being recognized. The West Coast Awards Banquet represents scholars from 11 states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Washington! Thanks was given to all who made the event possible including parents and guardians, teachers, mentors, sponsors, and volunteers.
Carson Scholar Alumnus Christopher Lawlor won his award in 2006 in suburban Philadelphia. He has since graduated from Northwestern University and has been instrumental in numerous successful business start-ups while participating in a unique Harvard MBA program. Christopher broke it all down to lessons and opportunities. His helping run venture capital funds for student businesses was all about sharing your talents with the community and those around you to make this world a better place.
3-time Carson Scholar Sebastian Reyes is a 10th grade student at Santa Margarita Catholic High School. He said he would like to think that he and Dr. Carson have a lot in common. The idea that education can set us free is one that he embraces as well. Dr. Carson continued to develop himself to complete his medical education, become the best in his field and even attain the highest civilian honor of the land, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He asked all present to join him in his admiration of and gratitude for Dr. Carson as he welcomed him to the stage.
“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” initiated Dr. Carson’s praise to the parents, and he continued with, “You have to be pretty smart to create these highly successful, caring students.” Also, from the beginning in the history of our country, education was always important. Everyone was not only encouraged, but entitled to an education. Using this collective knowledge and wisdom enabled America to rise to the point where our country was able to compete on almost every level with well-established countries around the globe. And this happened within 50 years of our existence! When Alexis de Tocqueville came over from France in 1830 to study our country to understand how we could be so competitive, he discovered our education system to be if not the best, on par with the best in the world.
Another thing that made our country great is the fact that people cared about each other and were willing to help each other. Using our talents to uplift others will keep our country strong. It is important to help others in our spheres of influence….and not by just giving a hand out, but a hand up….helping others to be the best they can be too! He asked the scholars to continue to be role models, to keep in touch with our office and each other, so that with the collective knowledge and wisdom and caring, we can maintain our country’s greatness!
California is the home of the studios which produced the movie Gifted Hands. And on hand were two of the producers of the movie, Mr. Dan Angel and Ms. Margaret Loesch. Dr. Carson had them stand to be recognized.
Lawrence Henry continued with an introduction of Union Bank Executives: Vince Caballero, Pasha Moshiri, Harry Petoyan and Frank Robinson who would escort the scholars to receive their awards. For the awards process, Candy read the names and schools of the scholars, Dr. Carson placed the medals over their heads, and Mr. Henry presented them with their certificates.
As the final motivation for the event, “The Impossible Dream” was played through the sound system as scholars waved their glowsticks.
Special thanks go to Joanne Curran and Samantha Madrid with Union Bank for their tireless help in planning the event, Chairman of the Board Lee Warner for his assistance and to all of the donors, families and educators in the audience.
To view more photos from the event, visit the album on our Facebook page.
Read more about our scholars in the press, here.
To read more updates from the West Coast chapter, click here.