DOWNEY -- Two hundred and sixty-six Downey Unified middle school students received a Stauffer Scholar Award during the month of November. These students had to earn straight A’s on their report cards for both semesters as fifth-grade or sixth-grade students during the 2014-2015 school year. Dr. Mary Stauffer presented these personally, as she does every year in the fall.
Doty and Sussman middle school students attended their ceremony on Nov. 4 at Downey High School, where principal Tom Houts spoke on the importance of a college education. On Nov. 18, Griffiths and Stauffer middle school students attended their ceremony at Warren High School, where Principal Laura Rivas also spoke about the importance of saving for their college education.
A total of 346 Downey Unified middle school students qualified, 285 applied for this award and 266 attended the awards ceremonies. Two hundred and fifty-eight of the attending students received checks for $100, along with eight who received the honor of being named Stauffer Scholar of the Year, which included a check for $500 and their name engraved on a perpetual plaque that hangs at the respective school site. The Stauffer Scholar of the Year is chosen based on an essay, which is submitted during the application process, and their citizenship, leadership, service and conduct.
Linda Kennedy, former Downey Unified director of Curriculum and Instruction now current Chief Financial Officer of the Mary R. Stauffer Foundation, attended both award ceremonies. She discussed the benefits of starting a college savings plan early to prepare both the student and their families for college financing. She also explained the application procedure for the ScholarShare: 529 College Savings Plan.
“Education is the best investment that you could ever make,” stated Dr. Stauffer.
The Stauffer Scholars Program is one of the many ways in which Dr. Stauffer continues to support students. Dr. Stauffer presented these high-achieving students checks totaling $29,800 to enable them to start, or to add to, their ScholarShare: 529 College Savings Plan.
Dr. Stauffer gives hundreds of thousands of dollars annually through grants, scholarships and outright donations.
Among her contributions: $200,000 annually go towards community college grants for graduating high school seniors; $10,000 per year towards 4.0 GPA awards for high school juniors; $30,000 annually to high school athletes with 3.5 GPAs or higher; $25,000 per year to send Downey Unified fifth graders to the Columbia Memorial Space Center; $35,000 annually to send all Downey Unified third, fourth and fifth-grade students to the Gene Autry Museum; $234,00 last year alone towards Project Lead the Way Funding at the middle school level; and approximately $5,000 for the visitation of the Mobile Science Museum for all fourth grade classes within Downey Unified.