Community Scholarship Foundation makes three academic awards

By Gretchen Wing

The Lopez Island Community Scholarship Foundation (LICSF) is proud to share the news of its 2024 awards recipients. Three top-notch students received $6,000 awards for four years of study. Although no Career, Technical or Engineering award applications were submitted this year, LICSF hopes to award CTE scholarships in 2025. Meanwhile, all three of LICF’s four-year college awardees are aiming high.

Lopez High School’s Valedictorian, Jade Renee Gonzalez, daughter of Staci French, has set her sights on medical school. Thanks to what retired Lopez counselor Jeanna Carter called “a heartfelt inquisitive nature, a genuine excitement for learning, and a positive can-do enthusiasm while embracing the rewards of excelling,” Jade received acceptances from Washington University, the University of Michigan, and UCLA. She chose Washington University, which is in St. Louis. “Her brain is firing all the time,” Carter wrote in a letter of recommendation, adding, in reference to the baking business Jade started during the height of the pandemic, “While her baking skills are amazing and beyond her years, they really don’t compare to her passion for learning medicine, science, and engineering.”

Another Lopez scholar aiming for medical school is Melissa Valencia Sandoval, daughter of Catalina Sandoval Valencia. After holding leadership positions in several sports, clubs, and ASB, Melissa will start at the University of Washington this fall. In her application, Melissa wrote of her gratitude for her community, which “has taught me to cherish the good times, to live in the moment, and not limit myself just because we live on a small island in the middle of nowhere.” Melissa’s experience at Stanford University’s Golf Camp felt like “a once in a lifetime opportunity. When I go to university and explore the world,” she added, “I will always carry a part of Lopez Island with me.”

LICSF’s third award goes to Amelia Patino, daughter of Tara Patino and Guillermo Patir. Amelia is headed to Loyola University in Chicago, where she plans to study Political Science and Public Policy. Looking down the road, Amelia dreams of earning a Master’s degree in Foreign Service or Global Human Development, working toward a career in international diplomacy or policy-making. In her letter of recommendation, Lopez High Principal Martha Martin noted that, as incoming ASB President, Amelia was planning assemblies and other positive events well before the school year began. As lead singer for the school band MMPACT, Martin said, Amelia is “an actual rockstar,” but a leader as well, “always encouraging younger students.” Martin added, “I often hear, ‘What will we do when Amelia graduates?’ but the program is better because of Amelia’s leadership.”

On behalf of the community, LICSF wishes these stellar 2024 graduates all the best in their life’s next chapter. All three will now choose an Advocate, a non-family community member who will stay in touch with them throughout their next four years, providing support as needed. If you are interested in becoming an Advocate for a future graduate; in joining the LICSF Board; or in financially supporting our hard-working students with big dreams, please visit