Shawnee Stump, a senior at Golden Valley High School, loves to dream.
A member of the National Honor Society and the Golden Valley varsity swim team, she carries a full load of Advanced Placement classes and finds time to work in some hands-on instruction, taking bank, auto tech and physical therapy classes through the district’s Regional Occupational Program classes.
So when she was given Honorable Mention in the California Museum’s 2011 Dreamers Challenge Scholarship competition, it came as no surprise to people who knew her.
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“She’s a great student,” said her counselor, Justin Thomas. “She’s mature, respectful, motivated and driven. I wish there were more of her.”
In her life of constant activities, Stump sees a lot of situations that make her think about possible solutions.
“I wish there was something I could do, but I’m not really old enough to the point where I can start changing things,” she said. “So I figure the best way to do something about it is to inform other people about the ideas I have and get it out there. A great way to do that is to apply for scholarships that are along the same lines.”
It was pondering like that which led to her coming up with a potential solution to the unemployment problem, the basis of her “California Dreamers” submission.
“Have you heard of the golden handshake?” she asked. “It’s for people, mostly for well-off people who want a safety net if they’re fired from anything. I called mine a ‘Promising Handshake’ and it’s along the same lines, but it was for anyone in the baby boomer generation. I went into more specifics. It would be an incentive to retire, so that they would move out of the workforce and it would open up a lot of space for incoming and people who are cyclically unemployed right now.”
Stump was one of 156 students who submitted paintings, poems, video productions, music and written essays to the California Museum, home of the California Hall of Fame, to convey how their dream would leave a lasting mark on the state, nation and the world at large.
Taking top honors in the contest, which was sponsored by Comcast, were Tom Rydquist, 17, of Modesto who produced a video “Funding the American Dream: Helping California Lead the Way In Water Reclamation,” and 17-year-old Catherine Mitchell of Oceanside whose essay “Beauty 4 Life” describes how hunger and disease in Uganda inspired her to start a micro-business to create sustainable income for poverty-stricken families. They will each receive $5,000 scholarships at the Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies Thursday night in Sacramento.
Stump is realistic about college, planning to save some money by taking her first two years of general education at a community college before jumping to a four-year college or university.
“I haven’t won any scholarships yet,” she said, laughing.
Stump plans to pursue a degree in business and hopes to become a CPA.
She added that she was surprised by the Honorable Mention, running across the announcement by accident when she was looking up something else. She still hasn’t received official notification from the California Museum.
“It’s still pretty great,” she added.