LAFD Merit Scholarships Awarded
On June 6, 2018 the 12th annual LAFD Merit Scholar Awards Ceremony honored the academic excellence and demonstrated leadership of 11 college-bound students.
The Merit Scholar Awards are cash grants, made possible through the Jean Perkins Foundation, of up to $30,000 ($7,500 per year while the student continues to be enrolled and making normal progress toward a college degree). To be eligible, a student must be the child or stepchild of an active or fallen LAFD sworn employee. The eligible student must be a high school senior or college freshman, who will be enrolled in the fall as a full-time student in an accredited college or university. The scholarships are awarded on the basis of merit. The single most important factor is academic achievement, but the all-civilian Selection Committee considered other relevant criteria, including personal character and extracurricular accomplishments.
This year’s awardees were students who demonstrated excellence in academic studies, good character, high moral standards, leadership, distinction in extra-curricular activities, personal accomplishments and a potential for future success. The LAFD Merit Scholarship Fund Board of Directors had the difficult task of selecting the top candidates from an extremely competitive pool.
The 2018 LAFD Merit Scholar Award Recipients are Simone Decker, daughter of Firefighter III/Paramedic Dieter Decker; Abigail Sedillos and Brady Sedillos, children of Captain I Leonard Sedillos;Teagan Wasserman, daughter of Firefighter III/Paramedic Curt Wasserman (all bio’s provided below).
This year’s seven Runner-Up Award winners are to be congratulated for their outstanding merits. Each received a one time grant of $5,000. They are Mia Aguilar, Seth Aguilar, Nina Hernandez, Angelina Maldonado, Delanie McKeon, Derek Rueda, Anna Vidovich and Taylor Wasserman.
The winner of this year’s “Best Essay” award of $2,500, generously sponsored by the LAFD Foundation, is an impressive repeat winner, Nina Hernandez. Nina also received this award in 2017.
We would like to thank Mr. James Carroll III and Mr. Joe Connolly, Executive Board Members of the Jean Perkins Foundation and the LAFD Merit Scholarship Fund’s Board of Directors, Dick Barrett, John Anglin, G. Louis Graziadio III, Vicky Leck, Tom Mizo, Robert Nicholas and Molly Taylor for their dedication and support of our members and their children. We are also grateful to the Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation for their sponsorship of the “Best Essay” award and to the LAFD Sertoma Club, the United Firefighters of Los Angeles City, LAFD Historical Society and the Los Angeles Firefighter’s Association and the Stentorians of City of Los Angeles who sponsored the awards reception.
The announcement for the 2019 competition should be posted early 2019 at www.lafd.org/scholarship.
2017 LAFD MERIT SCHOLAR AWARD RECIPIENT BIOGRAPHIES
Simone Decker is a senior from Quartz Hill High School (QHHS) and is the daughter of Firefighter III Paramedic Dieter Decker, assigned to Fire Station 75 (15 years LAFD). She will be attending George Washington University, majoring in Political Science. Simone has volunteered with the Union Rescue Mission and the Children’s Department at Barnes and Noble. Simone has become involved with the Interfaith Youth Leadership Initiative (IYLI) and serves as the Secretary of the LA County Chapter. IYLI promotes religious tolerance through education and interaction. Simone feels the program allowed her to understand religion in a different light and become friends with people form a huge variety of faiths. The program provides a space for youth to interact with one another, free from societal stereotypes or preconceived notions. Simone has interned for Assemblyman Tom Lackey during 2016-2017 and with Congressman Steve Knight, on Capitol Hill, in 2018. She is very active in on-campus clubs. She is currently Social Media Commissioner for the QHHS ASB, Cheer Squad Captain, Multicultural Club, a Bollywood founding member and dance performer, member of Key Club and author of Blog with The Odyssey Online. Simone is a member of the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) and was selected for the Award of Excellence from the National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists. Other awards include NSHSS Ambassador Award 2017-2018, Principal’s List Honor Roll 2014-2018, and Academic Excellence Awards 2014-2018 after receiving all “A” grades in honors/advanced courses. Simone graduates with a 4.9 GPA.
Abigail Sedillos is a graduating senior from Palos Verdes Peninsula High School (PVPHS) and the daughter of Captain I Leonard Sedillos, assigned to Fire Station 80 (33 years LAFD). Abbie will be attending Northeastern University, Boston, MA, double majoring in Environmental Studies and Political Science on the Pre-Law track. Abbie has been volunteering since 2012 and believes in the power of service. She is dedicated to commu-nity service and actively volunteers at the National Charity League as a Big Sister/Little Sister coordinator. Abbie also volunteers in Blue Jackets, assisting with discharged patients and making deliveries within the Torrance Memorial Medical Center(TMMC): NOVAs of TMMC, which partners with high school volunteers to fundraise and support patient events. Abbie has received the Gold Presidential Volunteer Service Award for volunteering over 120 hours a year and the National Charity League Ticktocked Service Award for volunteering over 100 hours a year. Abbie has participated in the following PVPHS clubs: Link Crew, PLUS Leadership, Teen Court and Principal’s Advisory Council. She participated as a sprinter on the PVPHS Track and Field Team, competing in the 100 and 400 meter, 4 x 4 and 4 x1 relays from 2014- 2016. Abbie’s awards include National Hispanic Scholar 2017, Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica 2016, National Honor Society 2016-2018, Science National Honor Society 2016-2018, California Scholarship Federation 2015 – 2018, and AP Scholar with Honors 2017-2018. Abbie graduates with a 4.7 GPA.
Brady Sedillos is a graduating senior from Palos Verdes Peninsula High School (PVPHS) and the son of Captain I Leonard Sedillos assigned to Fire Station 80 (33 years LAFD). Brady will be attending Brown University majoring in Biological Sciences on the Pre-Med track. Brady’s inspiration and passion for Biological Sciences is due to his family trips to National Parks. Exploring the natural world and it’s workings while on those trips fueled his curiosity especially in his AP Biology Lab. Brady is a Blue Jacket and a NOVA volunteer at TorranceMemorial Medical Center (TMMC). He served as the Vice President and Social Chair of NOVA at TMMC. Brady is a Youth Leader at Saint John Fisher Catholic Church. He assists with meetings and mentors incoming classes. Brady competed on the PVPHS Swim Team CIF and Bay League, in the 200 meter IM, 2014-2017. He served on the Principal’s Advisory Council as a representative of the student body working to improve the school environment. Brady is a jury member of Teen Court 2014-2018, Peer Leadership Uniting Students (PLUS) 2016-2018, Model United Nations Team Under-Secretary-General of Logistics 2015-2018. Brady is a co-founder/vice president of the Go Toberman School Club, a Game of Thrones fan club. Brady also likes to play the ukulele. Brady’s awards and honors include: Model United Nations Conference Awards; 2016-2018, National Hispanic Scholar; 2017, National Honor Society; 2016-2018; Science and Math National Honor Society; 2016-2018 , and California Scholarship Federation; 2015 – 2018. Brady graduates with a 4.8 GPA.
Tegan Wasserman is a graduating senior from Edison High School (EHS) and the daughter of Firefighter III Paramedic Curt Wasserman assigned to Fire Station 99 (32 years LAFD). Teagan will be attending Wagner College, Staten Island, NY, in the five-year advanced Physician Assistant Program. Teagan is currently the Secretary of EHS’s Make a Wish Club, whose duties include raising money, planning and managing event logistics. In 2015, Teagan won Best Scientific Invention in Edison’s Worlds Fair. She continues to volunteer in EHS’s Innovation Lab, maintaining different projects including aquaponics system, fish breeding, etc. Teagan is a volunteer at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital, helping in multiple areas, including the operating room and the Surgical ICU. Tegan is a water safety instructor at Aquatots Swim School. Teagan teaches kids 0-18 years old and works with kids with disabilities. Teagan has participated in the Modeled United Nations (MUN) 2014-2018. This year she traveled to the MUN conference host nation Greece, where they learned and debated different world topics. Teagan mentors freshman taking MUN Geography course, by counseling and critiquing their papers. Teagan has played Club/Academy Soccer 2007 – 2018 and played EHS Varsity Soccer during 2014-2017. She is a decorated Scholar-Athlete. Teagan was the CIF Sports Conference and the OCAD Women in Sports Conference Representative for Edison Women’s Soccer. Teagan is the recipient of Edison Character Coalition Award Perseverance winner 2017. Teagan graduates with a 4.6 GPA.
Photo Use Permitted via Creative Commons – Credit: LAFD Photo | Gary Apodaca