Pacific Union College announces 2015 Maxwell Scholars

By Staff Writer on June 2, 2015

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Pacific Union College has selected the recipients of the 2015 prestigious Maxwell Scholarship. The scholarship rewards incoming freshmen for high academic achievement, a commitment to Christian service, and outstanding leadership experience with $15,000 in annually renewable funding—$60,000 each over the course of four years at PUC.

These students comprise the seventh group recognized by PUC’s Maxwell Scholar Program, which was established at PUC in 2009 to recognize the late Malcolm and Eileen Maxwell, former president and first lady of PUC. Applicants must meet GPA and test-score requirements, and the ranking of their applications is based on resumes, an essay, and letters of recommendation.

For the 2015-2016 academic year, the Maxwell Scholar Program selected as their finalists Andrew Caster, Sam Delaware, JoAnn Johnson, Laurel Kwon and Morgan Rogers.

Andrew Caster, a senior at Loma Linda Academy, is a well-rounded individual whose hard work is evident in all that he does. According to principal Robert Skoretz, Andrew “represents that quintessential blend of academic excellence, extracurricular breadth, service and leadership.” Complimenting his outstanding academic record, he has served in multiple leadership roles, including campus ministries director and co-leader of the school’s daily worship team. A gifted and talented musician, Andrew is the principal French horn and Student Conductor for the Loma Linda Wind Symphony. In 2013, he was named to the All-Southern California High School Honor Wind Ensemble. Using his musical talent for service as well, Andrew is a volunteer with Loma Linda Broadcasting Network and performs for the Loma Linda University Seventh-day Adventist Church, Heritage Gardens Health Care Center, and ReGEN High School Ministries. Mission-oriented, he has served on a mission trip to Costa Rica and sponsors a Congolese orphan. Andrew is a member of the National Honor Society. 

Sam Delaware from Durham, Maine divides his time between maintaining excellent grades, volunteering as a math tutor, and serving as Pine Tree Academy’s senior class president. Sam is a member of the National Honor Society, a Phi Beta Kappa Award recipient, and first chair trumpet in his high school band. An avid photographer, “Sam epitomizes the word creative,” says Judy Krzywon, his English teacher. “He is a talented artist, but he uses his artistic ability to spread the word of God through poignant photographs.” His interests beyond photography include varsity soccer, mission trips, mathematics, and entrepreneurship. He owns his own wedding and portrait photography business.

Jo Ann Johnson, of Highland, Calif., is committed to making her high school, church, and community a better place. In addition to her exemplary academic achievements, Jo Ann is an enthusiastic volunteer who has aided in homeless ministries, directed her local Pathfinders club, and completed a month long mission trip to Panama. Since 2012, she has worked as an organization assistant and intern at the Elder and Disability Law Firm. Jo Ann honed her leadership skills as editor-in-chief of the Redlands High School newspaper, Hobachi. According to her English teacher, Heather Block, Jo Ann “has been accepted for a lifetime nomination in the prestigious Quill and Scroll International Honor Society for High School Journalists for her contributions.” Her other interests include music—she plays violin and piano in multiple ensembles—and running on the cross-country girls team.

Laurel Kwon leads an active student life at Cabrillo High School, where she has been involved in many school clubs, including the National Arts Honor Society, National Honor Society, Art Club, Conqs for Christ, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Associated Student Body. She currently serves as editor-in-chief of the high school’s yearbook. A Lompoc, Calif, native, Laurel participates in a variety of community service projects including collecting clothes for the homeless, donations to food banks, fund-raising for UNICEF, trash pick ups and singing to patients at the Comprehensive Care Center. As musician, composer and singer, she shares her talents and musical knowledge leading a singing group called "Titanium." “One of my favorite qualities in Laurel,” shares music teacher, Joyce Michaels, “is that she enjoys stepping into the spotlight, but she is equally happy to step aside and encourage other people when it's their turn to shine.”

Morgan Rogers of Redlands, Calif., was chosen as a Maxwell Scholar for her Christ-like character, outstanding academics ability, and experienced leadership skills. At Redlands Adventist Academy, she ranked at the top her class and has been a National Honor Society member since her sophomore year, while serving in a variety of leadership positions, community outreach projects, and mission trips. Morgan excels further as she is involved in many extracurricular areas such as varsity sports, music ensembles, and school publications, proving that it is possible to achieve high marks in classes and perform on the courts and in concerts. Campus Ministries Director Lemar Sandiford says “Morgan is a young lady who has continued to shape herself into Christ's image in that she has a heart focused on the service and care for those less fortunate that herself.” Morgan is also very involved in the Redlands Adventist Church as a youth praise team member, children’s Sabbath school leader, Vacation Bible School volunteer.

In addition to these finalists, PUC recognized five semi-finalists, who received annually renewable scholarships of $12,000. The 2015 semi-finalists are Michelle Camba from Mountain View Academy; Jaymie Monteith from Central Valley Adventist Academy; Ariel Park from La Sierra Academy; Jefferson Richards of Mount Vernon Christian School, Wash.; and Kerstan Thio of Pleasant Hill Adventist Academy.