Most Deserving Academic Stars
Ventura County Star, April 29, 2010
It was the perfect hilltop setting to see some of the county’s brightest stars.
Tuesday night, 89 of Ventura County’s top academic achievers were honored at the 2010 Star Scholar Awards Banquet. The annual event held this year at the Spanish Hills Country Club in Camarillo was sponsored by The Star, the county Office of Education and the Ventura County Community Foundation.
The Star Scholar program — now in its 27th year — was the creation of Julius Gius, longtime editor of the Ventura County Star-Free Press, The Star’s predecessor. After his death in 1996, the Julius Gius Star Scholarship was established to honor his devotion to the community.
The winner of this year’s Julius Gius Star Scholarship Award, which includes a $5,000 scholarship, is Cheyenne Summers of Community High School in Moorpark.
Cheyenne, 17, who carries a 3.8 grade-point average, hopes to study multimedia art design in college. Her road to academic success is marked by an inner strength that enabled her to not only overcome an unbelievably difficult childhood, but to also excel academically at the highest level, no matter what life threw at her.
With one parent addicted to cocaine, crystal meth and other drugs, and the other in jail, Cheyenne, who was born addicted to rock cocaine, was forced to raise herself. She eventually ended up living on the streets. There, she grew up quickly, oftentimes sleeping in cars, rat-infested apartments and warehouses, and was forced to eat out of Dumpsters to survive.
She wrote in her essay: “I figured out that the only worth I could ever have is what I created for myself I found I could bear the pain and escape memories of my early life through learning and reading. Education became my focus.”
It was at Community High School that Cheyenne really began to shine. She wrote: “There, I’ve worked hard, arriving earlier and leaving later than everyone else. I made up all my credits, and will graduate early with a 3.8 GPA.”
Surely, Mr. Gius would have found young Cheyenne’s journey of escape and her eventual academic success most inspiring, as do we.
Likewise, it’s clear he would take great joy in the achievements of the other 88 scholars and what their achievements say about the excellence of our county schools.
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