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12/03/19

A Letter From CHSF President Marvin Biasotti

Dear Friends of Carmel High School, 

As we close out 2019, we invite you to help change the lives of our students. 

Funded by contributions from our alumni and supporters, the Carmel High School Foundation (CHSF) runs two dynamic programs that help Carmel Unified high school students. The Scholarship Program offers need and merit-based college scholarships to graduating seniors. The Ron Stoney Educational Pathways Program (RSEPP) awards need-based grants to students in grades 9 through 11. These grants fund life-changing educational and vocational opportunities outside of Carmel High School. Last year, the Foundation awarded 32 scholarships totaling over $40,000 and 8 RSEPP Awards amounting to $10,000. Allow me to introduce you to two of our recipients.

Cristal, a freshman at CSU Monterey Bay, attended schools in Carmel Unified School District from kindergarten at Captain Cooper School though her graduation from Carmel High in June of 2019. Her parents both work in housekeeping at one of the Big Sur resorts, often working second jobs just to make ends meet. Since her parents spoke Spanish and only attended school through the middle grades in Mexico, they were unable to help her directly with her schoolwork. In addition, not having a computer nor Internet access at home were barriers that most other CUSD students didn’t face. But, Cristal’s parents helped her in the most important way. They instilled in her the value of education. They taught her that education was the key to more opportunities than they had, to a better life.

Cristal’s strong work ethic and love of learning helped her overcome every obstacle.  While in elementary school, she voluntarily stayed after school to get extra help and have access to a computer.  When she received a school-issued tablet in high school, her parents would drive her to an area with Internet access. At CHS Cristal became involved in the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program, and advance she did. She challenged herself by taking Advanced Placement courses and was on the Honor Roll and a member of the California Scholarship Federation in each of her four years.  She also spread her wings, jumping into the Dance program where she excelled as a four-year participant. At home in Big Sur, Cristal volunteered at fundraisers for the Big Sur Health Clinic and at her local church as a teacher while somehow finding time to work part time at the Big Sur Deli in order to earn money for college. 

By the time Cristal graduated from CHS, she had emerged as a true leader on campus as evidenced by her mentoring of younger students to build a culture of inclusion and kindness. When Cristal walked across the stage at the Carmel High School commencement ceremony last June, she was the first person in her family to graduate from high school.  When asked about the role of scholarships, like the one from CHSF, Cristal was very clear about their importance. She said that coming from a low-income family, the scholarship she received created opportunities that otherwise would not have been available.

Broden, currently a junior at Carmel High, has a passion for computing. He has always been fascinated with electronics, with logic, with conquering a system he didn’t immediately understand. It wasn’t long before he was building circuits, thinking like an electrician. By middle school, he was teaching himself JavaScript and HTML, the building blocks of a website. In high school, he became a key member of the CHS Robotics Team while also volunteering for a local non-profit that donates computers to those less fortunate. Currently he’s working on an outreach project in Haiti to create a mobile computer lab that will teach basic technology literacy to students in rural schools. 

Although his family has a middle-class income, the recession wiped out their assets. Because Broden’s education is the family’s priority, they spend nearly half of their take-home income each month to rent a house within Carmel Unified boundaries. When Broden became aware of the Accelerated Introduction to Computer Science program at the U.C. Santa Cruz High School Summer University, it seemed to be a perfect way to expand his knowledge beyond what was available at CHS. But the five-week residential program came with a hefty tuition, not feasible within the family’s budget. Fortunately, Broden was aware of the Ron Stoney Educational Pathways Program. With the assistance of CHSF, he was able to attend the summer course without placing a financial burden on his family. When asked about his experience, Broden beams: “I don’t exaggerate when I say my time at UCSC changed my life.  I’m now confident that I can manage the academic demands and social discipline needed to succeed in college.” Don’t be surprised if Broden’s passion for all things computing doesn’t someday change how each of us manage our way in the world.

Cristal and Broden are just two of many students at CHS who are thriving because of the help they received from CHSF.  Unfortunately, our current level of funding doesn’t allow us to reach all the CHS students who need assistance. And that’s where you can help. Please partner with us to fulfill our mission by making a donation. You can trust that your donation will go directly to aid our students. Together we can make a difference in the lives of our students and our community.

Marvin Biasotti

President, Carmel High School Foundation

To continue sponsoring our future leaders please consider a generous donation! To contribute, follow this link or click the red "Donate Now" button below.