The Pacific Palisades Optimist Club, through its foundation, and with financial support from realtors Michael Edlen, Anthony Marguleas, Alexandra Pfeifer and Dan Urbach, was able to offer $2,000 scholarships to six graduating seniors at Palisades High.
Rich Wilken, who graduated from PaliHi in 1964 (summer), said that the recipients were selected because of “their academic achievement, community service activities, their goals for continuing higher education at the college level, and the special circumstances and challenges they faced in the pursuit of their educational goals.”
Those selected were Claire Thibodeaux (UC Berkeley), Erwin Barillas (Pepperdine), Kalaan Day (Tulane), Nina Rahmanian (UC Berkeley), Isabella Venus (Chapman) and Eli Safaie-Kia (USC Marshall School of Business).
The Optimist Club received a June 5 letter from Safaie-Kia, who was president of the Palisades High School Ambassadors leadership club. It shows how grateful he was to be selected. He wrote:
“I wanted to thank you and all of the other Optimists not only for the incredibly generous scholarship, but also for the immense kindness you have shown me over the last few years. From my first Optimist meeting with Amir almost three years ago, I have been welcomed with open arms and made a part of the Optimist family. Waking up extra early on a Tuesday to stop by a meeting was always my favorite part of the week, and there was no better way to start my day than surrounded by true Optimists. You have supported me and the Ambassadors every step of the way, and I am so grateful for that.
“Thank you, guys, for the generous scholarship, and all your hard work to support the Pali students. What you do makes such a positive difference in the Pali community. I’m staying close for college next year, so you guys haven’t gotten rid of me just yet! I think you may have a lifelong Optimist on your hands.”