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A Dream Come True: Parkway Alumni Association Gives Grants to Students

Ten years ago the Parkway Alumni Association (PAA) started a program called "Granting Dreams" with the hope of encouraging and helping Parkway students explore new interests. On May 10 the PAA will give 135 grants totaling $12,000 to Parkway students, fulfilling dreams from attending space camp and learning about cooking, to getting a talking globe to help a student's family learn more about their relation to other countries. After ten years, the PAA has given over $99,000 in grants, helping fulfill 996 dreams. "One way to measure the success of a grant program is to see the students to whom weve awarded grants go on and pursue a career in the field they wrote the grant about," said PAA executive director Jan Misuraca. "I just heard some great news about a Parkway graduate who received a grant entitled Becoming a Scientist just four years ago who is now a scientist working to help people in Africa with water purification. Its stories like this that make this program so rewarding." Parkway North 2002 graduate Rebecca Adler now attends Caltech and was just named the 2006-2007 Watson Fellow, awarding her a $25,000 grant to work on her project to promote sustainable water supply and sanitation in Africa. Any Parkway student can apply for a grant. The students must write the grant themselves, and the grants are evaluated by the Granting Dreams committee. Once the recipients are selected, the students are surprised in the classroom with a presentation of a certificate announcing their grant. The student and the student's parents are then invited to attend a ceremony where the money is awarded. The funding for the grants is provided by donations from alumni and the community. Some students apply for and receive resource grants, allowing them to shadow a member of the community in the field they are interested in. This Wednesday, 115 monetary grants and 20 resource grants will be awarded at 6 p.m. at South High.