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Yee selected as Seymour contender

Every year the California Scholarship Federation (CSF) selects 50 qualified students to acknowledge and show appreciation toward the Charles and Marian Seymour Memorial Award. Students must be Life Members in CSF in order to qualify and these students are awarded a total of $88,000 in scholarship money.

CSF members apply by submitting an application, essay and letters of recommendation; they are also required to take part in an interview. Winners are chosen based on applicants’ character, service and leadership.

This year senior Maddie Yee was chosen as a finalist for this award. English teacher and CSF Adviser Molly Sargent nominated her for the award and is very pleased that Yee was chosen as a finalist.

“People from our CSF chapter have been finalists many, many times before,” Sargent said. “I think Maddie is absolutely deserving of the award; she’s a great girl. She has the heart of a servant, plus I’ve never had a student who overachieves like Maddie does. She always does more than you ask her to do, which is so rare. So she definitely reflects the CSF motto of scholarship for service.”

As a finalist for the Seymour Award Yee automatically gets $2,000 as long as she shows up to the regional CSF Spring Convention for Central California, April 20. This convention will be held at El Diamante High School in Visalia, California. If she does not show up, she will not receive the money, but Yee is planning on attending.

If Yee is chosen as one of the 10 finalists to be the winner, she will get an additional $3,000 for a total of $5,000. If she is the winner for the central region, then she will be put into competition with the other 4 regional winners to compete for a $10,000 cash prize. One of those five will get chosen, winning a total of $15,000 from CSF. Yee’s initial reaction was one of surprise when she heard that she was a finalist.

“When I found out that I was a Seymour finalist, I was actually really surprised,” Yee said. “I had no idea if I was ‘qualified’ enough to be selected. I was shocked but really excited and happy to receive the news. I feel very honored that I get to represent FC and my hope is that I will able to just share who I am with the CSF judging committee, and represent FC in a God-honoring way.”

Yee was first informed of the award when Sargent brought it up at a CSF meeting. Once nominated, she filled out forms, collected letters of recommendation and completed other tasks in order to complete her application.

“Mrs. Sargent told all the CSF officers that whoever was interested in being nominated for the award could sign up and then she and Mrs. Rojeski would select two nominees to represent our school,” Yee said. “After being selected as one of the two candidates, I filled out an application, which consisted of writing out every community service I have been involved with, two letters of recommendation, one from my CSF advisor and one from an adult who was aware of my community service involvement. I then wrote an essay about how a variety of things have contributed to my success in high school such as academics, sports and extracurricular activities.”

Yee feels very privileged to have been chosen for the award. Even if she does not win the award, she is thankful for getting recognized for her hard work.

“Honestly, I just feel honored to be a nominee, and knowing that I will already receive $2,000 feels very rewarding,” Yee said. “It would be crazy if I actually won the whole thing. I am thankful for the opportunity that I have already to just be recognized for the time I have committed to different activities throughout high school.”

Yee will participate in a group interview with nine other finalists and a CSF judging committee while at the Spring Convention to determine which finalist will receive additional scholarship money. Yee notes that if she is to win the money, she will use it to help pay for college expenses.

“Winning the scholarship would definitely help contribute to college expenses, like tuition and book costs,” Yee said. “Overall, it would probably encourage me to continue to give my best effort in everything I do and to never settle for the bare minimum. Because I want to go into Christian counseling, which requires a masters degree, extra money would be utilized to cover college expenses, whether in the first year of college or spread throughout the four to six years I could potentially be in school.”

Senior Kevin Thao thinks Yee should win the award because of her friendly personality.

“Maddie is a really nice gentle person; she’s really friendly to everyone,” Thao said. “She’s really outgoing, and if you’re new at school she’ll come up and talk to you; it’s pretty cool. I think she should win because she’s a unique person and a really hard worker.”

Jessica Healy, ’13, also believes Yee deserves the award due to her strong work ethic. She admires Yee’s dedication to the work she is involved with.

“Maddie goes above and beyond in the work that she needs to do to get it done,” Healy said. “She should win the award because she really cares about doing the best that she can. She doesn’t just do a job halfway before calling it quits. She finishes every job and makes sure she gets everything that needs to get done, done.”

Editor’s note: front features photo courtesy of Ellie Mullins.

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @meredithmonke.

For more features, read the March 19 article, Annual Econ Fair promotes originality, business (PODCAST, VIDEO).

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