Arena Alternative High School Student Scores CFW Scholarship
Heather Otsby rewarded with $1,000 scholarship to El Camino
El Segundo, CA – March 8, 2012 – Carl Sandberg created one of his most memorable poems with the simple title, “The Road Not Taken.” Countless high school students across America contemplate the message behind that poem, whereas Heather Otsby, an Arena Alternative High School student, has already lived the road less traveled.
Attending Arena Alternative High School, Heather set out to graduate from high school ahead of schedule. The Arena online curriculum, which allows students to progress through course requirements at their own pace, has allowed her to stay on track. Planning to graduate by the Spring break, Heather has her sights set on continuing at El Camino Community College to pursue a career in the arts, teaching, or both.
Caldwell Flores Winters, Inc., the company instrumental in assisting with the planning and passing of Measure M to upgrade the El Segundo Performing Arts Center and the athletic facilities, also established the Caldwell Flores Winters Foundation, an entity dedicated to providing scholarships to public high school students. The original pledge of $250,000 over five years has been exhausted on deserving students like Heather – but the good news is CFW has just this year decided to continue their altruism and is again dedicating an additional $250,000 over the next five years to help students pursue college, technical school, or community college.
Mr. Gene Williams, Heather’s teacher at Arena, instantly encouraged Heather to apply. “The scholarship is designed especially for students who have overcome immense obstacles and in spite of those obstacles, make it through high school and continue on to higher education. I have seen Heather grow and mature right before my eyes. Nobody deserves this honor more than she does.”
Heather, an extremely gifted artist, is torn between pursuing a career in art or nursing. “All I know is that I want to help people in the way that so many people have helped me,” she shares. One possibility Heather is also contemplating is art therapy, combining both nursing and her art skills to help sick people regain their health through art. Williams agrees this would be a great fit for Heather. “We have an art class once a week at Arena, and one week the instructor, who is gaining quite a reputation for his own art, was called away for a gallery showing and couldn’t come. Heather stepped right in, picked up where our instructor left off and gave her all to her fellow students.”
It’s this kind of initiative, dedication and humility that made Heather the perfect recipient of the Caldwell Flores Winters Foundation Scholarship. When Assistant Vice President Jeremy Cogan arrived at the ESUSD Board room to honor Heather, his excitement at getting to see first-hand the difference a $1,000 scholarship can make in a young student’s life was quite evident. “This is exactly why we do what we do,” Cogan stated. “We continue to be inspired by these very students we honor.”