Students don’t get grades for having a never-say-die attitude, fierce determination or perseverance in overcoming adversity, but Trustee Lisa Kaplan is doing her part to recognize those qualities by buying and awarding Chromebooks to students who exemplify such traits
Kaplan visited Natomas High and Discovery High on Monday (May 14) to present three of the eight Chromebooks that she and her husband, B.G., purchased this year to award as Kaplan4Kids Scholarships. Later this week, she will surprise winners at Inderkum High and Leroy Greene Academy.
In addition to a Chromebook, Kaplan presented each student with a certificate reading, “In recognition of your strength, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements and impossibilities. With hard work you will succeed.”
One of the student winners is a foster child who has overcome daily challenges, improved her grades, and is on track for graduation.
Another honoree is winning her fight against feelings of depression and loneliness.
A third winner is an immigrant who can speak English well now but remembers what it was like to be new to the country and ridiculed or mocked – in one case bullied – because she couldn’t communicate with classmates. She’s nearly a straight-A student now and hopes to be a doctor someday.
Kaplan said her Chromebook scholarship is a way of “paying it forward” because she sees a little of herself in these kids.
A local attorney, Kaplan was raised by parents who were not college educated or wealthy, but they always told her she could succeed – and she has, putting herself through college and law school. She owns her own law firm now and has been an NUSD Trustee for 16 years.
The winners’ smiles spoke volumes today.
“It feels amazing,” Ammara said after receiving her Chromebook. “I can’t explain it. It’s just an amazing feeling.” She turned to Kaplan. “Thank you so much.”
Asked to describe herself, Jessica, an 11th-grader, said simply that “I’m strong. That’s all I can really say.”
Each of the honorees was given a business card with Kaplan’s phone number. The Trustee reached out to all of them, inviting them to call her in the future if they ever needed advice, a letter of reference, or had a problem and simply wanted to talk.
“That makes me feel really great,” Samantha said of Kaplan’s invitation to call. “It just lets me know that I have someone, an adult, that I can go to for help if I ever need anything.”
Kaplan’s message to the students was a simple one: Yes you can attend college – don’t let anybody tell you no.
Sometimes they don’t realize they can go to college, perhaps they feel their family can’t afford it, but with fierce determination and a laptop computer they can pursue grants, loans and scholarships that can lead to a degree and a bright future, Kaplan noted.
This marks the fifth consecutive year that Kaplan has awarded Chromebooks to students who overcome obstacles to succeed in school – and in life.