Five local high school students earn scholarships for their artistic “Perspectives on Peace”

Ventura, CA: The Rotary Club of Ventura, which this year celebrates 100 years of service to the Ventura community, has announced the winners of a new Perspectives on Peace Scholarship program. Five high school seniors are being awarded a total of $9,000 in scholarships, based on their outstanding original art submissions around the theme of “Perspectives on Peace.” They will be honored at Ventura Rotary Club on May 15th, and their artwork will have a special exhibit at the Museum of Ventura Country from May 18th – June 2nd.

“We did some research on the types of scholarships available to Ventura-area high schoolers and found that, while there are several competitive essay-based and merit-based scholarships available, there was not an artistic-based scholarship”, said Doug Halter, current Ventura Rotary Club president. “So we decided to recognize and
support the outstanding creativity and artistic talents of Ventura’s high school seniors using monies raised by our Club.”

“The scholarship program’s theme of ‘Perspectives on Peace’ was chosen both because we were quite curious to learn what high schoolers today feel about the concept of peace, and because Rotary International has recently made promoting peace one of the focal purposes of the organization worldwide”, reports George Poulakos, Ventura Rotary member and chair of the scholarship effort. “Rotary, of course, has always been about peacebuilding but only recently started to really codify what that means both in our local communities and around the world. So, whether we’re serving local disadvantaged kids by providing a warm jacket or a backpack and school supplies – or we’re helping to support a skill-training center for vulnerable young girls in rural Zambia – we are in fact promoting peace.”

The Perspectives on Peace Scholarship received 20 entries of original artwork from high school seniors representing Buena, Foothill Tech, Ventura, St Bonaventure, and El Camino high schools. The submissions included paintings, drawings, mixed media, photography, video and dance. Ten judges reviewed each applicant’s artistic rendering of their personal perspective on peace and their recommendations from teachers, guidance counselors, or mentors. “The creativity of these young adults is truly inspiring,” said Poulakos, “and the judging process was a difficult one. We are grateful for the help and input from local professional artists who served as judges, including Pete Ippel, Jen Livia and Denise Sindelar of the Museum of Ventura.”

The winners of the Ventura Rotary Club 2019 Perspectives on Peace Scholarship are:
1st prize $5,000 scholarship:  Shira Zaid (Ventura High School)
2nd prize $2,000 scholarship:  Madison Lonis (Buena High School)
3rd prize $1,000 scholarship:  Kamar Hanna (Buena High School)
Honorary mention $500:  Jordan Pollock (Ventura High School)
Honorary mention $500:  Rachel Chang (Foothill Tech High School)
On Wednesday, May 15th the Ventura Rotary Club will honor the winners during the Club’s luncheon meeting at The Derby Club from 12:00-1:30 pm. The Museum of Ventura County will also showcase the Perspectives on Peace Scholarship submissions with a special exhibit in the Pavilion Building. The exhibit will be open on Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from May 18th through June 2nd. There will be a reception to honor the scholarship winners on Tuesday, May 21st from 5:00-7:00 pm at the Museum of Ventura County. Press are invited to attend.

“It was deeply moving to see the incredible talent and artistic visions of these high school seniors and to help support them on their journey to higher education – and I’m proud to say that the Ventura Rotary Club plans to continue this annual scholarship program moving forward”, reports Halter. “We’ve been putting ‘Service Above Self’ right here in Ventura for 100 years now and that’s quite a feat! But while we honor our Club’s past, it’s the future that we’re most excited about.”