In a first for Menlo-Atherton High School's Senior Awards Night, held this year on May 31, scholarships were handed out in the name of Alice Kleeman, a college adviser for M-A students for 20 years before retiring in June 2015.
A four-year college scholarship, a two-year scholarship and two honorable mentions were awarded in Ms. Kleeman's name, drawn from a fund of about $75,000 raised by more than 100 donors, according to scholarship committee member Joan Lambert.
The plan going forward is to award two scholarships per year "for the next several years." One will go to a student attending a community college; the other to a student attending a four-year college. The scholarships will "award students with financial need who show drive, determination, and the deep desire to excel in college," according to the website
M-A seniors receiving scholarships and honorable mentions are:
■ Luis Acosta Linares, who plans to attend the University of California at Berkeley and who will receive $2,500 a year for four years.
■ Orbelina Carranza, who plans to attend Canada Community College and who will receive $750 per year for her two years, and $2,500 for each of the next two years if she transfers to a four-year school.
■ Sharon Ontiveros and Lesly Gopar Chavez, who received honorable mentions and one-time scholarships of $2,500 each.
There are no plans to continue the honorable-mention awards beyond 2016, Ms. Lambert said.
Ms. Kleeman chose the recipients, and the scholarships include an offer to the award winners for mentoring from Ms. Kleeman throughout their undergraduate years, Ms. Lambert said.
"We believe that Alice's mentorship is worth way more than the amount of money we'll be able to give the students," she said.
Loved and admired
The scholarship project is the work of four or five mothers in a partnership with the M-A Alumni Association, which already gives out scholarships, Ms. Lambert said.
The idea came from students who had received guidance from Ms. Kleeman in the past and wanted to "do something for Alice," Ms. Lambert said. "She didn't want recognition, but wanted to quietly retire. This is a way to honor her legacy and help kids without lionizing her."
The project has Ms. Kleeman's support. "She was totally supportive and actually got more and more excited about it," Ms. Lambert said.
"I think this is a testament to how loved Alice is," she said. "It would be hard to find someone at that school who is more universally loved and admired."