Sony makes Southmoreland a star
Last September, Sony Technology Center-Pittsburgh embraced Southmoreland High School as its Star Class School, launching a program that will track 12 scholar finalists from the middle of their sophomore year to their senior year.
One winner will emerge with a $10,000 college scholarship.
The program started with a kick-off rally in the school's gym where Sony representatives announced the scholarship opportunity.
Applicants submitted portfolios with no specific guidelines, said Sony communications specialist Mary Lynn Harden. "Really it should be a snapshot of their life right now. It could include awards, letters of recommendation, a photo of the student and information on their post-high school goals," she said.
The chosen dozen were selected from a field of 23 students who submitted portfolios. All have at least a 3.0 grade point average and demonstrate good citizenship. None have an unexcused absence from school. The contenders have to maintain these standards through their senior year to be eligible for the scholarship. During their junior year, contenders must team up on a community service project.
Carolyn Adams, the school principal, said the service-oriented goals of the program provide the most benefit. "Though there is an individual result -- one person receiving the scholarship -- the program provides all 12 the opportunity to work as a team, to work together for community service. We feel that it can be a success for everyone involved."
Harden said she has seen students continue service projects long after they have to be finished in some of the Sony Star Class Teams organized in San Diego and San Jose, Calif., and Dothan, Ala., the three other school districts where the program is held annually. This is the first school year that Sony and Southmoreland High School have partnered. For the past six years, the program was held at Frazier High School in Perryopolis, but Southmoreland is now the only school in Pennsylvania involved in the program. Harden said Southmoreland administrators and Sony officials plan to continue the partnership.
Each student will have to compile another portfolio his or her senior year, then complete a short interview with judges and take part in a peer evaluation. Their scores will be added to come up with the scholarship winner.
The following is an alphabetical list of the 12 sophomore finalists and the accomplishments they said make them most proud.