As part of their Arlington West Santa Monica Project, Veterans for Peace awarded two scholarships to Santa Monica High School seniors at last night’s awards ceremonies at the High School.
Four $2,000 scholarships were available to students who met the following criteria: a minimum 2.0 GPA, financial need, a relative on active duty, fulltime enrollment at Santa Monica College in the upcoming year, and willingness to be mentored.
Receiving the Santa Monica Arlington Wesr Iraqi War Memorial Scholarships were two students who met all the criteria: Jean-Marie Kpachavi, whose cousin is now serving in Iraq, and Damian Navarro, whose brother, Eddie, is in the U.S Navy, stationed at Port Hueneme.
Presenting the scholarships was VFP Los Angeles chapter President Hugo Rasmussen, 91, a World War II veteran who lost an arm in the Battle of the Bulge in November, 1944, and has been a lifetime educator and union activist.
One of the scholarships is named for him. The other one is named for Captain Lawrence B. Ryan, an Army Intelligence officer who was killed in action in June, 1968, shortly after beginning his second tour in Vietnam.
An SMC professor will serve as mentor to the two students.
The money for the scholarships consists of hundreds of donations of $1 and $2 made by visitors to the Veterans’ Arlington West Memorial to service people killed in Iraq. Every Sunday since mid-February, the Veterans have set up a field of crosses on the beach north of the Santa Monica Pier. There were about 350 crosses when they began, and are now more than 1600.Ed Ellis, Project Coordinator, said of the scholarships, “We think it’s a great way to give back to the community. We hope the money will give the students the opportunity to work one day less per week and focus on their studies.”