The Orange Coast Optimist (OCO) Club announces their 2020 scholarship winners.

Eleven seniors were selected and over $13,000 in scholarship funds were distributed among the recipients based on academic performance, leadership and outstanding community service. Recipients were all members of OCO’s Youth Octagon program and participated in OCO’s community service projects. Eight recipients held leadership positions in the youth program.

Selecting recipients during the pandemic created some last-minute adjustments to the selection process. The committee typically gathers to review the candidates’ essays, transcripts and letters of recommendation as part of the process that culminates in an in-person interview. The committee and candidates had to quickly pivot to online interviews for the first time.

“We had to quickly adjust our process so that we could continue to recognize these seniors for their hard work. In a year where seniors are seeing all their celebrations cancelled, we wanted to end their year on a positive note,” said Jolene Kanda, this year’s scholarship chair.

The Annual Youth Recognition Banquet, which honors these outstanding seniors, had to be cancelled. The celebration took to the streets with a group of about 20 members from the OCO Scholarship Committee, advisors and Octagon Youth Group caravanning to each recipient’s home to present the awards and show them that their hard work and dedication was recognized.

The scholarship recipients are: Kevin Cheng, Chelsea Ebisuya, Sklyer Kinomoto, Aidan Kosaka, Kylie Lasconia, Matt Okazaki, Nicole Palmer, Tiffany Shimizu, Kyle Suzuki, Marisa Tanga, and Caitlyn Wang.

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