That pretty much sums up Kyanne Parchment’s initial reaction when she discovered she’d won a $40,000 scholarship from Edison International’s Edison Scholars Program.
“I came home from school and saw the thin envelope. And I said to myself, let me just open it and get disappointed,” said the Kaiser High School senior. “And then when I read it, oh my God! I still can’t believe it.”
Her mother, Roneice Parchment, stood next to her daughter beaming with pride. “I feel so blessed,” she said, smiling.
There were proud parents galore at a recent Edison International reception honoring this year’s 30 Edison Scholars for their academic achievements. Moms and dads, along with siblings, grandparents, extended family members and friends, joined in celebrating their Edison Scholar and the financial benefit, and relief, the scholarship provides.
“Huge. It was amazing. My wife was crying; I had goose bumps,” said Richard Pumerantz, when he learned his daughter Clarice would receive an Edison scholarship. “It’s an opportunity for Clarice to go to the school of her choice. We wouldn’t have come close (to choosing USC) without the Edison scholarship.” Clarice will be studying mechanical engineering in the fall.
Stephen Johnson, whose daughter, Sydney, was also awarded an Edison scholarship, knows it’s tough paying for college these days. “The money’s going to be a big help. We’ve been praying and praying. God met our needs,” he said. “This is a blessing; a Godsend all the way,” his wife, Paula, added.
Hugs, smiles, handshakes, kisses, high-fives and picture-taking were abundant at the San Gabriel Hilton Hotel, where the celebratory lovefest got underway.
Ron Litzinger, president of Southern California Edison (SCE), praised the scholars for their academic achievements, telling them SCE and Edison International, the parent company of SCE, supports education, especially the science, technology, engineering and math fields, known as STEM.
“The company is very happy to support education and we’re confident that the 30 scholars here tonight will continue their education, learn well and we look forward to seeing the results over the next four years,” he said. “Congratulations.”
Last year, more than 1,400 students in SCE’s service area applied for the 30 coveted Edison scholarships. Students must live in or attend public or private high schools in SCE’s service area and plan to study STEM. Under the $1.2 million Edison Scholars Program, each student will be awarded a $40,000 scholarship paid over four years. All scholarships are paid for by Edison International shareholders and dependents of employees are not eligible.
As guests mingled over hors d’oeuvres and desserts, Camille Schlesinger, an Edison Scholar from Chino Hills High School, said she didn’t think she’d win the scholarship. “I was completely shocked,” she remembers. “I thought I didn’t get it.”
Camille learned otherwise at school when her theatre teacher suddenly called her to the front of the class where SCE employees surprised her with the good news, a mock check for $40,000, and an Edison Scholar medallion. “I was like, is this it?” she said. “Oh my God!”
“I just want to tell other students to give it a try. Don’t think you can’t do it, it might work.” She will attend U.C. San Diego and major in computer science this fall.
Clarice Pumerantz credits her grandmother Ingrid Wineberg for her scholarship win. She saw information about the scholarship printed on her SCE utility bill and encouraged her granddaughter to apply. “Forty-thousand dollars is a lot of money and there were only 30 slots,” Clarice said. “I didn’t expect much, but my parents and my grandmother told me to give it a try. I’m really glad they did. I’m so grateful.”
Across the room, Margarita Guevara stared at her son, Alberto Nanez, a senior at South Gate High School, who will be attending U.C. Berkeley and major in computer science. “I’m excited for him. He’s the first one in the family to go to college,” she said.
Alberto heard about the Edison scholarship from a previous recipient who encouraged him to apply. He was surprised and ecstatic when he found out he’d won the scholarship. “It was like a blur. I’m very humbled I was selected,” he said.
For him, the $40,000 scholarship means he won’t have to take out a school loan or sign up for a work studies program to help cover college expenses. “I can devote my time and attention to my studies,” said Alberto. “It gives me many options and allowed me to go to any college I wanted. I’m very grateful.”
For more information: Edison.com/EdisonScholars