Simi Valley Soroptimists award 10 graduating high school seniors with scholarships

Updated: Jun 20, 2020

Soroptimist International of Simi Valley is proud to announce the 2020 recipients of their annual iMatter Overcoming Obstacles essay scholarships.

iMatter committee members were hard-pressed to choose just ten local high school seniors as award recipients out of 49 applicants, totaling $5,000 in iMatter scholarships given this year.

The scholarship award winners were: Stacy Almanza, Grace Clifford, Nancy Aguila, Faith Wayman, Lexi Rose, Cristina Rivero, Brianna Valencia, Isabella Saipale, Samantha Manguia, and Jewelia Davis. The winners were selected from Royal High School, Santa Susana Magnet High School, Simi Valley High School, Monte Vista Independent Learning Academy and Apollo High School.

iMatter chair LeeAndra Chergey commented:

“It was an extremely difficult decision this year as we had twice as many applicants as in prior years. Due to this increase in applications and the current situation faced by our entire community, nation and world neighbors, we have decided to award 5 more scholarships than we have in the past. We are truly privileged to honor these young ladies who have overcome so much in their young lives. We wish we could accept them all! Congratulations to all the applicants!”

The iMatter Overcoming Obstacles Education Support Awards program for Simi Valley was started four years ago with the hope that Soroptimist International of Simi Valley would help female graduating seniors reach their dream of a higher education, whether it be in their pursuit of a vocational degree, certificate or a college degree. Applicants were asked to describe how they had overcome and succeeded despite their trials and struggles. Applicants described various obstacles overcome, ranging from homelessness to prejudice.

The organization is proud to have offered this program to young women for the past four years. In order to qualify, applicants are required to submit a minimum three-paragraph essay describing their obstacle(s) and how they were able to overcome them, or are currently doing so. These essays are stories of strength and determination and each year the Soroptimist Simi Valley members are so proud of their applicants, making recipient selections extremely difficult. iMatter is a program of Soroptimist International of the Americas’ "Dream It, Be It," a long-running program with Live Your Dream: Education and Training Awards for Women to create the “Soroptimist Dream Programs,” which provide sustainable, measurable change for women and girls, and ensure they have access to the education and training needed to reach their full potential and live their dreams. The Live Your Dream Awards assist women by giving them the resources they need to improve their education, skills and job prospects. Soroptimist International of the Americas is a cause-related philanthropic federation of clubs improving the lives of women and girls through social and economic empowerment. The Simi Valley Soroptimists join 160,000 members in more than 120 countries and territories that empower women and girls through volunteer projects, such as cash grants for education, hands-on efforts to end domestic violence, career mentoring for girls, women’s health initiatives and many other community-based projects. For more information on how Soroptimist improves the lives of women and girls, visit

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