June 13, 2003

Creaser Education Foundation Honors Six Sweetwater District Students

Scholarship winners are outstanding in and out of the classroom

They were every teacher’s dream. But the six scholarship winners recently honored by the Phil and Alice Creaser Education Foundation were also dedicated to community involvement.

Each of the honorees will receive a $5,000 scholarship. The 2003 Outstanding Student Achievement Award recipients are:

Outstanding Students: Scholarship winners (L) Alexandria Augustine, BVH, Denise Gonzalez, CPH, Alicia Riley, HH, Elena Sherman, BVH, and Brian Shotwell, ELH, are this year's Phil and Alice Creaser Education Foundation honorees. They share a moment with Sweetwater District Board President Arlie Ricasa (C).

 Alexandria Augustine, Bonita Vista High, GPA 4.70

 Christopher Dickie, Hilltop High, GPA 4.77

 Denise Gonzalez, Castle Park High, GPA 4.77

 Alicia Riley, Hilltop High, GPA 4.77

 Elena Sherman, Bonita Vista High, GPA 4.77

 Brian Shotwell, Eastlake High, GPA 4.80

Bill Griffith, KGTV Channel 10 News anchor, served as master of ceremonies for the awards presentation, which was held at the San Diego Country Club on June 3. Griffith also serves on the foundation board of directors.

The students thanked the foundation board and talked about how the contributions were an investment in their futures. Several students mentioned how the scholarships will be a springboard toward continued community involvement.

Board President Arlie Ricasa praised the foundation for helping students to achieve their dreams. She complimented the teens’ hard work and sacrifices.

“Just look at these folks. Look at what they’ve accomplished and what they are already giving to the community,” Ricasa said. “I am humbled and privileged to be a part of honoring such a great group of kids.”

Jose Barraza, a foundation scholarship winner in 2000, served as a special guest speaker. Barraza is currently a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he expects to graduate in December of 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in managerial science.

The foundation got its start in 1986, when Phil and Alice Creaser made a generous donation to the Sweetwater District to establish what was then called the “Sweetwater Educational Foundation.” The Creasers’ vision was to enhance academic opportunities by awarding scholarships to district students attending a four-year college or university.

In 1987, the foundation awarded its first three scholarships. The board of directors voted in 1993 to rename the foundation in honor of Phil and Alice Creaser, who have since passed away. Their impact, however, is lasting.

To date, the foundation has bestowed more than $450,000 to 89 district students attending institutions such as Cornell, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Stanford and schools throughout the University of California system. Scholarship recipients have even returned to the district as teachers themselves, such as 1991 honoree Robert Arreola. He graduated with honors from Harvard, where he received his bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics. He now teaches Advanced Placement Math at Sweetwater High School.

Sweetwater District Superintendent Dr. Ed Brand noted this year’s scholarship winners are as distinguished as ever.

“Each and every one is a perfect example of what public education strives for,” Brand said. “They’ve received tremendous support in the nurturing of their educational interests and growth. They’ve been challenged in and out of the classroom. And they’ve developed into terrific leaders. I’m optimistic about their future and ours. These students will continue to grow, achieve and give back to the community.”

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