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Approximately 354 Milpitas High School seniors were honored for earning a combined total of more than $2 million in scholarships during Senior Awards Night on May 17.
“It is one of my favorite events during the year,” Board President Daniel Bobay said. “We get to see the achievements of our students in their senior year and it’s very nice to see the kids that are going off to college at some of the most prestigious institutes in the world from our high school. It’s very encouraging. It always refuels me at the end of the year, and it puts a big smile on my face.”
In opening the event, Principal Phil Morales talked boastingly about the accomplishments of the Class of 2017.
“This year’s senior class is truly impressive,” he said. “In the fall of next year, we will have approximately 82 students attending a UC, approximately 155 attending a CSU, 24 will be at private universities, at least 12 will be heading out of state, four will attend art schools, 254 have plans for community colleges, and eight will be moving into their military careers.”
From those, a student who will be attending Yale, two who will be heading to Stanford, three to Santa Clara University, 91 to San Jose State University, and many others who will be spending their college life in various locations across the United States.
The 2017 Valedictorian is Justin Tso who earned a 4.55 weighted grade point average (GPA) and will attend University of California at Los Angeles and the Salutatorian Kinbert Chou earned a 4.53 weighted GPA and will attend Stanford.
“Our students are the pride of our Milpitas community,” Superintendent Cheryl Jordan said. “They are who we in MUSD work for, and on nights such as the Senior Awards, I feel tremendous joy, and a strong sense of connection to all those who have touched the lives of each of these determined students. Congratulations to our seniors and their families!”
During the event, students were awarded scholarships and grants based on the qualities and characteristics that they have shown during their time at Milpitas High School.
“We tried to calculate the combined amount that these students have earned in scholarships and grants, but know that not all awards have been given out yet,” Morales said. “At this point, we proudly say that these students being honored here tonight have earned nearly $2.4 million dollars given by extremely generous donors.”
More than 250 students received the Gold Chord for earning a 3.25 unweighted Grade Point Average (GPA) or 3.5 weighted GPA; 144 students received a Maroon Chord for completing 150 hours or more of Community Service; 100 students received a President’s Education Award for maintaining a minimum GPA of 3.5 or higher from 10th grade to 12th grade, taking five AP/Honors classes with a B or better in each and scoring “Advanced” on four of four Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium exams; 226 students received a Golden State Seal for receiving a B+ or higher in an English, Math, and science course in ninth, 10th, or 11th grade and receiving a B or higher in U.S. History and a grade of B or higher in two other courses for ninth, 10th, or 11th grade; and five students are a National Merit Scholarship Finalist for placing in the top 1% nationally based on their performance on the PSAT taken in their junior year. Finalists are eligible for multiple scholarships.
“I want you to look around and see all the people in the room celebrating with you,” Morales said, in opening the program. “From the people in our community to make Milpitas a safe city to live in, the school board and district office people who make sure that you have the opportunity for a quality education, your administration, counselors, school staffing, and teachers, who give to you and encourage you each day. Then look at the faces of the loved ones who are here to celebrate. Take a moment to acknowledge their support in helping you to be here tonight. This is a celebration for all of us, and that means thank you parents.”
Marissa Canez, Milpitas High School’s College and Career Technician and coordinator of Senior Awards Night, shared her pride in the ceremony.
“My favorite part of the event was seeing all the students dressed so nice with big smiles on their faces,” she said. “It made me so proud of all their hard work and to be recognized personally in front of their families and special guests.”