Atherton PAL awards $20,000 in scholarships | July 4, 2018 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


Community - July 4, 2018

Atherton PAL awards $20,000 in scholarships

by Barbara Wood

Four high school seniors from Atherton schools have been awarded $5,000 scholarships by the Atherton Police Activities League: Clairesina Fifita and Mirian Melendez from Sacred Heart Preparatory, and Joseph Lohmann and Jenny Ruiz-Venegas from Menlo-Atherton High School.

Fifita threw the discus and shot put on Sacred Heart's track team and played junior varsity soccer. She also sings and plays the trumpet and ukulele, and is trilingual — speaking Tongan, Spanish and English. Fifita said she wants to go into the medical field, but hadn't yet decided on her college.

Lohmann played lacrosse, ran cross country and played AYSO soccer while at Menlo-Atherton. He was the founder and president of the Ronald McDonald House Club and won the Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony Social Justice award for his strong grades, commitment to difficult social issues and leadership in community action.

Lohmann also received a National Merit Scholar Commendation and a President's Volunteer Service Award, was named an AP Scholar with Distinction, and was a member of the California Scholarship Federation and National Honor Society. He plans to study pre-med biological science and either international relations or anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ruiz-Venegas received awards for having a high GPA and tutoring third-graders. She also participates in her neighborhood's annual canned food drive. She will attend the University of California, Merced, with the goal of entering the medical field.

Melendez participated in soccer, drama, chorus and the girls a cappella group at Sacred Heart. She will attend Loyola Marymount University to study sociology with a goal of going into law or public policy.

The PAL program started in 2004 and has awarded more than $170,000 in scholarships. All funding is donated by Atherton residents.

For more information about the program, contact Jennifer Frew at 650-752-0503 or


There are no comments yet for this post

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields


Race is tomorrow!

On Friday, September 21, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run, or—for the first time—half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

Learn More