Toyota Awards $1 million In Scholarships To 100 High School Seniors

May 09, 2008
Twelve Students Were Selected As 2008 Toyota Community Scholars

May 9, 2008 - San Antonio, TX - Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., (TMS) rewarded 100 high school seniors with $1 million in college scholarships for their commitment to education and community service at an awards banquet tonight.

The winners, who make up the 12th 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 its accomplishments, the 2008 class learned at an early age that "giving back" to the community was not an obligation, but, rather, a way of life. As one Scholar, Jacob Rouse of Union, Ky., put it: "When helping others, an incredible feeling is instilled in your veins. This feeling allows you to believe you have meaning in the world."

For the 2008 class, their dreams of making a difference became reality through programs ranging from raising $120,000 for the American Cancer Society to collecting over 3,000 pounds of food that was distributed to youngsters at more than 160 schools. In addition, one scholar – a cancer survivor and amputee – has personally visited over 600 patients with the same afflictions, providing them with gift boxes.

"It is truly amazing to see what these 100 high school seniors have accomplished at such a young age," said Michael Rouse, TMS corporate manager of philanthropy and community affairs. "Their dedication both to academics and community service is an inspiration to all of us."

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 2008. Since the Toyota Community Scholars program began in 1997, TMS has awarded over $13 million in scholarships to 1,200 students across the U.S.

Kristen Allcorn, a Toyota Community Scholar from Sedalia, Mo., is a prime example of the dedication to community service exhibited by this year's class. As the founder of The Community Café, Allcorn and her group of volunteer students have provided over 11,000 free evening meals to needy residents in her hometown. Hot meals are served five nights a week, with plans to expand that to three meals each day, seven days a week.

All told, Allcorn and her group have raised over $13,000 to keep The Community Café operational.

Consequently, Allcorn, like many of the Scholars, found community service to be the roadmap to what she wants to do in the future. "I never imagined the impact The Community Café would have on my community or myself. The Community Café has influenced my career plans, and I have committed to living a life of service."

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 San Antonio that was attended by education, community, business and government leaders. Liz Murray, subject of the Lifetime Television movie, From Homeless to Harvard, was the keynote speaker.

The two-and-a-half-day program included a tour of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas, Inc., in San Antonio, which builds the Tundra full-size pickup truck. In addition, the Scholars enjoyed an authentic Texas BBQ dinner, with games, entertainment and dancing at the Rio Cibolo Ranch.

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.


Nicole Bohannon		Sheffield	Sheffield High School

Ceylon Mitchell		Anchorage	East Anchorage High School

Joanna Yang *		Phoenix		Desert Vista High School
Teri Yu			Phoenix		Desert Vista High School

Ashley Louks		Judsonia	Pangburn High School
Michelle Martin		Jasper		Jasper High School

Albert Chen *		Buena Park	Oxford Academy
Theodore Gonder		Glendale	Crescenta Valley High School
Carlos Guzman		Dinuba		Dinuba High School
Monica Liu		Rancho Palos Verdes	Palos Verdes Peninsula High School
Jasmine Nachtigall	San Mateo		Hillsdale High School
Rita Sandoval		Desert Hot Springs	Desert Hot Springs High School
Zachary Stauber		Gold River	Mira Loma High School
Gregory Woodburn	Ventura	Ventura Senior High School
Danni Xie		Thousand Oaks	Westlake High School

Bret Johnson		Fountain	Fountain Ft. Carson High School
David Rolla		Commerce City	Adams City High School

Laura Ly		Shelton		Shelton High School

Virginia Nicholson	Wilmington	Tower Hill School

Margaret Birkel		Washington	National Cathedral School

David Akinin		Miami		Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School
Sarah Hodges		Leesburg	First Academy
Lauren Rowe		Gainesville	Eastside High School
Bernadette Stocker	Flagler Beach	St. Joseph Academy

Jordan Croom		Marietta	Walker School
Caterina Li		Duluth		Duluth High School
Kanya Manoj		Duluth		Woodward Academy
Laura Okolie		Riverdale	Riverdale High School

Maddelynn Hawkins	Pinckneyville	Pinckneyville Community High School
Elena Holler		Sherman		Williamsville High School
Christine Mattappillil	Glenview	Glenbrook South High School
Kathleen McGlynn	Belleville	Althoff Catholic High School

Eric Majors		Indianapolis	Pike High School

Briana McGeough		Cedar Falls	Cedar Falls High School

Nandini Sarma		Overland Park	Shawnee Mission East High School

Deep Aggarwal		Louisville	Dupont Manual High School
Jacob Rouse *		Union		Larry A. Ryle High School

Danielle Axelson	Bossier City	Airline High School
Shanell Booker		Monroe		Wossman High School
Niharika Jain		Shreveport	Caddo Parish Magnet High School

Thomas Balch		Newcastle	Lincoln Academy

Maria Sebastian *	Boyds		Northwest High School
Eric Weisberg		Bethesda	Walt Whitman High School
Xuemin Zhang		Burtonsville	Paint Branch High School

Marie DeLuca		Stow		Nashoba Regional High School
Luke Fraser *		Hopkinton	Hopkinton High School

Casey Hoffman		Menominee	Menominee Area High School
Alexandra McGregor	Waterford	Waterford Kettering High School
Mitchell Rivard		Bay City	Bay City Western High School

Shanna Decker *		Plainview	Plainview-Elgin-Millville High School
Caitlin Johnson		Rochester	Century High School
Megan Sjostrom		Lafayette	GFW High School

Abigail Hardin *	Clinton		Jackson Academy
Lynice Higgins		Hazlehurst	Hazlehurst High School

Kristen Allcorn *	Sedalia		Smith-Cotton High School
Lauren Lacey		Troy		Troy Buchanan High School
Kathleen Russell	Webster Groves	Cor Jesu Academy

Chelsea Brauer		Forsyth		Forsyth High School

Wayne Banks		Bellevue	Bellevue West Senior High School
Keshav Rao		Omaha		Brownell-Talbot School

Brian Choe		Las Vegas	Advanced Technologies Academy

Jeffrey McInnis		Greenville	Mascenic Regional High School

Sharon Kim		Fort Lee	Bergen County Academies
John Monagle *		Clark		Arthur L. Johnson High School
Becky Moran		Pleasantville	Home schooled
Jolene Wang		Piscataway	Piscataway High School
Eason Hahm		Chestnut Ridge	Spring Valley Senior High School
Jason Mogen		Dix Hills	Half Hollow Hills High School West
Nastasha Pollard	Stony Point	North Rockland High School
Brittany Robles		Smithtown	Smithtown High School West
Sheel Tyle		Pittsford	Pittsford Mendon High School

Elizabeth Carney	Charlotte	Myers Park High School
Ryan Hollander		Winston-Salem	Forsyth Country Day School

Alex Windjue		West Fargo	West Fargo High School

Ann Cheng		Cincinnati	Walnut Hills High School
Jacob Potticary		Loveland	Loveland High School

Carly Schnaithman	Garber		Garber High School

Richie Day		Salem		South Salem Senior High School

Christopher Shotter	Monaca		Monaca Junior/Senior High School

Tyler Bridges		Sumter		Sumter High School
Graham Van Schaik *	Columbia	Spring Valley High School

Nicholas Stukel		Burke		Gregory High School

Sharda Fields		Memphis		Whitehaven High School
Caroline Hadley		Knoxville	Bearden High School
Chandler Lawson		Tullahoma	Tullahoma High School

Trevor Burbank *	Flower Mound	Flower Mound High School
Nicole Castro		Keller		Keller High School
Mark Hernandez		Eagle Pass	C.C. Winn High School
Marilyn Mootz		Dallas		Highland Park High School
Jasmine Thum		Austin		Liberal Arts & Science Academy
Kavita Venkateswar	San Antonio	Winston Churchill High School

Sydney Hartsell	Salt Lake City	Rowland Hall St. Mark's School

Ian Akers		Radford		Radford High School
Ariel Talts		Danville	Galileo Magnet High School
Sydney Tenhundfeld	Charlottesville	Renaissance School

Erik Hille *		Ritzville	Ritzville High School
Sarah Klemsz		Battle Ground	Prairie High School
Brian Tolkin		Mercer Island	Mercer Island High School

Brittaney Check		Wauwatosa	Wauwatosa East High School
Rachael Lester		Cedarburg	Cedarburg Senior High School

* National winner - $20,000 scholarship
All others receive $10,000 scholarship

Community Service Snapshots

Following is a small sampling of community-service projects performed by the 2008 class of Toyota Community Scholars (more detail can be provided upon request; student interviews can also be arranged).

• Surviving cancer and an amputation inspired this Scholar to found the Hearts of Hope project, where she mentors and personally visits cancer patients and amputees as they undergo treatments and/or recover from limb loss. Over the past nine years, she has visited more than 600 patients, and dedicates more than 300 hours of service per year to patients and their families. She funds the project herself with money earned from a part-time job.
(Shanna Decker, Plainview, Minn.)

• Founded The Community Café, a soup kitchen that has provided more than 11,000 meals to the needy. The Community Café has also raised more than $13,000 from civic groups and individuals. Hot meals are currently served five nights a week; the program also provides a take-out meal service. This Scholar hopes to expand The Community Café to offer meals three times each day, seven days a week to ease hunger and help to relieve the financial strain of the people served. (Kristen Allcorn, Sedalia, Mo.)

• This Scholar helped raise $21,000 to benefit Team River Runner, an organization that rehabilitates wounded U.S. soldiers at a local hospital by teaching them to kayak. The majority of the funds bought a new transport van as well as three new kayaks for the wounded veterans to use. His work with the organization has helped raise awareness about the wounded soldiers recovering at nearby Walter Reed Hospital. (Eric Weisberg, Bethesda, Md.)

• In 2005, founded Beyond All Borders – a project that aims to help children suffering from weekend hunger. The program has since collected over 3,000 pounds of food for distribution to more than 160 schools in New Jersey. Beyond All Borders has also expanded its focus to global-hunger issues by reaching out to help alleviate Kenya's hunger problems. This student's group also raised $5,300 to plant five acres of passion fruit for 50 Kenyan farm families. (John Monagle, Clark, N.J.)

• Based on the need for programs focused on character-development in children, this Scholar started a non-profit foundation called the Open My Eyes Foundation, which carries a message encouraging students to see every person as valuable. By means of the book she has authored, Look At Me I Am Just Like You, this Scholar has led discussions with over 1,500 children, ultimately raising awareness that leads students to accept diversity. She is confident that her project will help put an end to loneliness, racism, suicides, self-centeredness and bullying in forthcoming generations. (Abigail Hardin, Clinton, Miss.)


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