Sunny Hills AVID Senior Standout gets top scholarship prize of $25,000 from virtual Orange County Department of Education awards ceremony

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Senior Dana Mabin holds up the email she received April 7 from the Orange County Community Foundation notifying her of the $25,000 scholarship she received from a county AVID awards ceremony, which was canceled and turned into a virtual slide presentation ceremony because of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the email, Mabin will be given $6,250 through a scholarship check which will be mailed directly to her educational institution to help cover each year’s college tuition up to four years total.

Andrew Park

In the midst of the coronavirus crisis with several senior-related events canceled or drastically changed, Dana Mabin received some good news from the Orange County Department of Education [OCDE].

This year’s Advancement Via Individual Determination [AVID] Senior Standout was awarded a $25,000 college scholarship, according to an April 7 email that Mabin received from the OCDE.

“I am pleased to inform you that you have been selected as a recipient of the AVID Scholarship funded by the Sun Family Foundation,” wrote Cathleen Otero, vice president of Donor Relations and Programs for the Orange County Community Foundation. “You will receive a $6,250 scholarship, renewable for up to three years (four years total), to be used for your undergraduate education expenses.”

Besides encouraging Mabin to write a thank you note to the donors of the scholarship award, Otero’s letter, which came as an attachment to the email, informs Mabin that she will be notified by May 31 how to process the $6,250 check, which will be mailed to the college Mabin chooses to attend.

“I felt overjoyed and happy that I won this award [because it’s] the highest amount that they award to students,” said Mabin, who was among the 61 Sun Scholars recipients of $6,250 over four years. “I feel relieved knowing that I am receiving more financial aid.”

Mabin was among the hundreds of Orange County AVID seniors who were scheduled to attend an April 20 AVID Senior Standout Recognition and Scholarship Presentation ceremony at the Barclay Theatre at the University of California, Irvine. But the awards ceremony was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, prompting OCDE AVID coordinators to produce a slideshow announcing the scholarship winners as well as to send a subsequent email notifying those who won.

“The AVID team was thrilled about Dana’s big win,” said Lori Larsen, the AVID coordinator for the Fullerton Joint Union High School District. “We weren’t totally surprised that the awarding committee recognized how special she is and awarded her the scholarship.”

Mabin, who has committed to enrolling in the University of California, Irvine, as a biological sciences major, was selected Nov. 22 as the Sunny Hills AVID Senior Standout of the 2019-2020 school year, earning her a chance to apply for the AVID Scholarship Program at Orange County Community Foundation, which offers individual awards ranging from $3,000-$6,250 over four years.

As a student of the AVID program since her freshman year, Mabin sends out her gratitude to all of the teachers and staff who supported her high school journey and motivated her to put in her best effort.

“I am grateful to have been part of the AVID program because of all the opportunities that it brought me and the experiences I had,” she said. “I learned so much in terms of character growth, and I have become a better student.”