By Marjorie Mader
Diane Masket of Ladera, a student-athlete at Menlo-Atherton High School, and Benjamin Hadrovic of Menlo Park, a student-athlete at St. Francis High School, are winners of the 2010 Chris Zider Scholarships.
Each receives a $15,000 scholarship that can be used during the next six years for college, private high school tuition, or for educated-related expenses, such as taking a summer course on a college campus.
This year's winners and finalists represent five high schools: Menlo-Atherton, Menlo School, Sacred Heart Prep, Palo Alto High, and St. Francis. Since 1993, when the Zider scholarship program was established, 29 students have won scholarships.
The annual scholarships are given in memory of Chris Zider, who grew up in Menlo Park and Portola Valley and was the oldest child of Bob and Cheryl Zider of Portola Valley. Chris died in a snowboarding accident at Lake Tahoe in 1992, when he was 15 and a sophomore at Woodside High School. He attended Menlo School his freshman year after graduating from the Portola Valley School District.
"In my eyes, all these young adults are winners," said Cheryl Zider. "Besides their many accomplishments in the classroom, on the playing fields, and in the community, their love for their family comes across, she said.
Diane Masket combines her interest in sports with community service projects. As president of the Outreach Club at Menlo-Atherton, she's taken part in various fundraisers such as "Project Backpack," collecting backpacks and toiletries for homeless people in San Francisco's Tenderloin District. She also has tutored first- and second-graders in reading and math at Taft School in Redwood City.
Diane plays varsity lacrosse and soccer at M-A and club soccer.
Benjamin Hadrovic plays varsity football at St. Francis High School. He works as a "buddy" for mentally challenged children who play in the Menlo Atherton Challenger Baseball League.
The winners were selected from the nine finalists. The seven other finalists are:
● Richard Cornew of Portola Valley, who plays varsity lacrosse and football at Menlo-Atherton, restores cars and plays the guitar.
● Jesse Ebner of Portola Valley, who plays varsity soccer for Sacred Heart and volleyball for both her school and club. She is involved in "Tom's Shoe Club."
● Richard Harris of Atherton, who is news editor of the Menlo School newspaper. Named the most valuable player on Menlo's varsity basketball team, he also plays football and is a buddy for the Special Olympics.
● Kristoffer Hoglund, who plays varsity soccer and lacrosse at Palo Alto High School. He won an "Athlete of the Week" award from the Palo Alto Weekly.
● John Larson of Atherton, who traveled to New Orleans to help rebuild a home damaged by Hurricane Katrina. At Sacred Heart School, he plays football and baseball. He also volunteers at St. Anthony's Padua Dinning Room near Menlo Park.
● Sara Orton, who served as sophomore class president at Menlo-Atherton. She plays soccer and lacrosse for her school, and belongs to a mother-daughter book club.
● Shannon Scheel, who competes on Palo Alto High School's varsity water polo and swim teams, and coaches young children as a counselor at Christian Music Theater's summer camp. She traveled to Scotland as part of a thespian troupe that attended the Fringe Festival in Ediburgh.
How to apply
Preliminary applications for Chris Zider scholarships must be postmarked by March 21. Two $15,000 scholarships are awarded annually, one to a boy and one to a girl. High school sophomores may apply if they live in Atherton, East Palo Alto, Los Altos Hills, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Portola Valley, Woodside, or on the Stanford campus, or if they attend Menlo School or Woodside High. Financial need is not a requirement. Applications are available at high school counseling offices or by calling the Beta Group at 233-8700.
> Visit chrisziderscholarship.com for more information.