May 11, 2007 – Louisville, KY - Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., (TMS) rewarded 100 high school seniors with $1.12 million in college scholarships for their commitment to education and community service at an awards banquet tonight.
The winners, who make up the 11th class of Toyota Community Scholars, were chosen from a pool of more than 8,000 students nationwide nominated by their schools. To be eligible, students must be proven leaders both in the classroom and in their communities.
Based on the countless service projects conducted by the 2007 class, it is clear these 100 students view community service not as an obligation, but a way of life. As one Scholar, Brian Fontenot of Baytown, Texas, put it: "I have found that the influence volunteering has had on me is not one big factor, but many small details merged together, shaping who I am, how much I understand about life and teaching me compassion toward others."
For the 2007 class, their dreams of making a difference became reality through programs ranging from raising $25,000 toward the fight against muscular dystrophy to the promotion of hydrogen fuel cells as an alternative to gas-fueled engines to combating hunger through the growing of over 111,000 pounds of fresh vegetables that were then donated to local food pantries.
"What these 100 high school seniors have accomplished in regard to community service and academics at such a young age is truly amazing," said Michael Rouse, TMS corporate manager of philanthropy and community affairs. "Their commitment to helping those in need is inspiring. The future holds no limits; we are convinced they will have a very positive impact on the world around them."
The scholarships are valued at $20,000 or $10,000 each, over four years, for study at a four-year college or university starting in the fall of 2007. Since the Toyota Community Scholars program began in 1997, TMS has awarded over $12 million in scholarships to 1,100 students across the U.S.
Cristina Costantini, a Toyota Community Scholar from Milwaukee, Wis., is a prime example of the dedication to community service exhibited by this year's class. As the founder of "Bikes for Sierra Leone," Costantini oversaw a volunteer network that collected and refurbished over 300 bicycles for school-age children and teachers of this impoverished, war-ravaged country in Africa. (Because many students and teachers live three to seven miles from the nearest school, transportation is a significant barrier to education in Sierra Leone.)
Costantini organized a drive to collect bikes, school supplies and medical supplies -- plus raised the $8,800 it took to ship the items to Sierra Leone. In addition to the bikes, 70 computers and crates of supplies were donated.
Consequently, Costantini, like many of the Scholars, found community service to be the roadmap to what she wants to do in the future. "I am considering a career in the field of Foreign Service, and I hope someday to be involved in humanitarian projects on a larger scale."
The Toyota Community Scholars program is administered by Educational Testing Services in Princeton, N.J. The 12 national winners ($20,000 each) and 88 regional winners ($10,000 each) were selected by a panel of college and university admissions officials from across the U.S.
The scholarship winners were guests of honor tonight at an awards banquet in Louisville that was attended by education, community, business and government leaders. Rory Kennedy, an award-winning documentary filmmaker, was the keynote speaker.
The two-and-a-half-day program included a tour of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc., in Georgetown, which builds the Camry, Camry hybrid, Avalon and Solara vehicles. In addition, the Scholars cruised the Ohio River on the Belle of Louisville (a historic paddle wheeler), and participated in a "ride and drive" that put them behind the wheel of four Toyota vehicles: FJ Cruiser, Yaris, RAV4 and Camry.
Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc. is the marketing, sales, distribution and customer service arm of Toyota, Lexus and Scion in the United States, marketing products and services through a network of 1,427 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealers in 49 states. Established in 1957, TMS and its subsidiaries also are involved in distribution logistics, motorsports, and research and development.
2007 TOYOTA COMMUNITY SCHOLARSCITY HIGH SCHOOL
Robert Whitaker Birmingham Briarwood Christian High School
Hannah Watkins Kenai Kenai Central High School
Anita Lin Scottsdale Desert Mountain High School
Anthony Sciubba Gilbert Higley High School
Kent Butler Berryville Berryville High School
Bartell Cope Aptos Stevenson School
Jaclyn D’Arcy * Soquel Merit Academy
Angela Holcomb Inglewood Morningside High School
Karen Hong Rohnert Park Montgomery High School
Jacky Kwong San Francisco Lowell High School
Brett Mamer Brawley Brawley Union High School
Maxwell Murialdo * Westminster Los Alamitos High School
Ann Thompson Paso Robles Templeton High School
Cara Feldkamp Evergreen Denver School of the Arts
Stacey Squatrito Colorado Springs Pine Creek High School
Elizabeth Americo Guilford Guilford High School
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Hannah Baker Bolling AFB Annapolis Area Christian School
Erin Cloninger Oviedo Oviedo High School
Bing Han Jacksonville Stanton College Preparatory School
Quintin Haynes * Rockledge Rockledge High School
Evan Kalina Miami Felix Varela Senior High School
Benjamin McAfee Cooper City Cooper City High School
Andrew Hollar Suwanee South Forsyth High School
Kyle Monette Mililani Mililani High School
Keegan Poppen Eagle River Stone Community School
Patrick Lee South Barrington Barrington Community High School
Reed Spencer Rochester Rochester Community High School
Andrea Stevens Hamilton Hamilton Community School
Gautham Vaidyanathan Granger Penn High School
Tony Wang Urbandale Valley High School
Connie Hu Olathe Olathe South High School
Ashley Kongs Washington Washington County High School
Mallory Mahoney Russell Russell High School
Jacob Edwards Columbia Adair County High School
David Tao II Bardstown The McCallie School
Kristen Wilburn Rush Boyd County High School
Huang Huang Shreveport Caddo Parish Magnet High School
Tanmay Misra Lafayette Lafayette High School
Brittanny Lee * West Bath Morse High School
Erica Esposito Columbia Glenelg Country School
Hui Feng West Roxbury Boston Latin School
Vivek Sant Andover Andover High School
Simran Chawa Sterling Heights Utica High School
Yanyao Fu Battle Creek Lakeview High School
Jane Yang * Ypsilanti Lincoln Senior High School
Tyler Josephson Redwood Falls Redwood Valley High School
Emma McGlennen Edina Edina High School
Erica Pannell Tupelo Tupelo High School
Latoyia Slay Greenville St. Joseph High School
Jennifer Kinney Saint Charles Duchesne High School
John Miller Springfield Glendale High School
Stephen Robertson Lincoln Lincoln R-II High School
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