The Santa Catalina Island Fund for Higher Education (SCIF) held its 3rd Annual Award Dinner on Sunday, June 14, 2015. The event was sponsored by the Avalon High School Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) department and hosted by SCIF college students and college graduates. Over 200 guests were present including the Mayor of Avalon, Anni Marshall, Sheriff’s Department, Captain Douglas Fetteroll, teachers, parents, college graduates, representatives of civic organizations, community members, and other invitees.
Twenty-two SCIF college bound students from Avalon High School were honored during the event. Three AVID college bound students were also among those honored. Students who fulfilled SCIF’s rigorous program requirements, signed a pledge to “pay it forward to their family, their friends and the institutions that have invested in them,” before receiving luggage filled with a laptop, winter clothes, an array of dorm supplies as well as scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.
“We base these scholarships on growth, need and consistent dedication to the values of the program,” said Linda Rivkin, Founder and Director of SCIF.
As of today, close to 100 students have participated in the SCIF program: 22 of them will be entering college in the fall and 68 are either enrolled in college or have already graduated. For years, the college graduation rate among the Avalon School students rarely exceeded 10%, not uncommon considering its rural location and large concentration of low income, minority students from non-English speaking households. Since its inception five years ago, SCIF is a privately funded initiative that provides a path to higher education for Santa Catalina Island students. Working hand-in-hand with the Avalon School, SCIF provides students with the opportunity to succeed by building their self-confidence, equipping them with the tools and knowledge to live on the mainland, and providing individualized advice on college choices. Students who matriculate from the program receive support from the first year of college through graduation. At SCIF, students are prepared for all aspects of life, including guidance on their transition from teens into responsible adults. Most students start with the program during their junior or senior year and stay with SCIF throughout their entire educational career and beyond.
“SCIF did more than just provide an affordable college plan. I was guided and encouraged to express my full potential all the way until graduation,” recent Coe College graduate, Brandon Hays noted.
“SCIF ignited the urge to go to college for my daughter,” shared Corina Rufino, Michelle Rufino’s mom. “It really increased her sense of responsibility, at the same time motivating her to study hard to achieve her goal of attending a college.”
“Through SCIF I gained access to numerous tools and resources that I had no idea existed before,” Michelle Rufino said. “SCIF helped me not only understand the college application process, but also gave me the opportunity to visit a number of colleges to make an informed choice.”
Michelle has been accepted to Cottey College, an independent Liberal Arts College located in Nevada, Missouri. Among colleges that will welcome students from Avalon this year are Berklee College of Music, Barnard College, Cornell University, Williams College, UC Berkeley, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, College of St. Mary’s, University of Denver’s Master’s in Psychology Department, John’s Hopkins University PhD program and many others.
As the high school graduates prepare for the new path ahead of them, SCIF is in the process of enrolling junior and senior students into this year’s program with SAT and college preparation classes scheduled to begin on June 29th. To enroll in the program or to obtain more information about SCIF, please visit our website at www.scifhigheredu.org or call us at 310-427-2450.
Photo courtesy of SCIF