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June 11, 2013 > Local High School Students' Dreams of Health Care Careers Get a Boost from Washington Hospital Service League's Scholarship Program

Local High School Students' Dreams of Health Care Careers Get a Boost from Washington Hospital Service League's Scholarship Program

The Washington Hospital Service League is well known for its many dedicated volunteers, both adults and students, who work with the Hospital's staff to provide care and support to patients, families and visitors. In fact, since the League was founded in 1955, its members have provided more than 1.8 million hours of service at Washington Hospital.

What may not be as well known is that the Service League also supports our community by providing scholarships to residents age 22 or younger and living in Washington Township Health Care District who wish to pursue a career in health care. The Service League's Scholarship Program, which has contributed to the training and education of so many young people in our community, was established in 1961. The first nursing scholarship for $150 was awarded to a nursing student training at Highland Hospital.

During the last 52 years, the Service League has awarded a total of $286,475 in scholarships to deserving students. Now, the Service League grants two $1,000 scholarships annually that are renewable for three additional years, based on the student's academic performance and continued focus on the health care field. Two additional one-time scholarships were also awarded this year.

"Our volunteers love working in the Hospital and helping patients and families, but giving assistance and support to budding doctors, nurses and other health care professionals in our community is also very meaningful," explained the Service League's First Vice President Gail Tomita, who chairs the Scholarship Committee. "Meeting these phenomenal young people and learning about their past accomplishments and future hopes and dreams is very inspirational."

A generous gift

"Volunteering for Washington Hospital already has been a great opportunity and experience, but this scholarship is a generous 'gift' that helps pay for my education and gives me the motivation to pursue my dreams of becoming a physician," said David Cheung of Fremont, who is graduating from Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton and is a volunteer at Hospital.

Cheung received one of the Service League's $1,000 renewable scholarships, the Katherine Fusco Yearly Scholarship. He has been accepted to the Saint Louis University's prestigious Medical Scholars Program and hopes to become a physician specializing in hematology and oncology. In addition to his studies, for which he has earned a 4.25 grade point average, Cheung has been involved with the school's science, math and logistics teams, as well as the orchestra. He has volunteered hundreds of hours with Open Heart Kitchen and Washington Hospital and has also served as a soccer coach and camp counselor.

"I am very honored to receive this scholarship," Cheung added. "Because Washington Hospital has helped me with college tuition, this also benefits the community, as I will be inclined to come back to this generous place and, hopefully, be a physician here."

Headed for medical school

Neil Almeida, who is graduating from Washington High School, has won a $1,000 renewable scholarship from the Service League - the Josephine Walton Yearly Scholarship. He has maintained a 4.0 grade point average for all four years of high school and is valedictorian of his graduating class.

Almeida is an Eagle Scout and captain of the school's tennis team. He will attend St. Bonaventure University, where he will major in biology on a premedical track. In the future, he hopes to complete his medical training in surgery.

Jenna Hamze, also graduating from Washington High School, has been awarded the Maria Tuyet Ha Tran Memorial Scholarship of $900. She plans to attend San Francisco State University to pursue a nursing career.

"I have always enjoyed helping people and volunteering my time as much as possible. I want to further my education and become a geriatric nurse," Hamze said. "Getting this scholarship validated that I am on the correct path."

Also receiving a Maria Tuyet Ha Tran Memorial Scholarship for $900 is Syed Ahmed, a student at Ohlone College.

"This scholarship gives me the opportunity and hope that I can one day be helpful in moving my community forward," he commented.

Ahmed will attend San Jose State University in the fall and is working to achieve a Bachelor of Science degree to fulfill the requirements for entry into medical school.

"It's such a privilege to meet each of the scholarship applicants before they go into their interviews," stated Jeannie Yee, this year's Service League President. "These students are a sampling of the academic 'cream of the crop' and give me great encouragement and hope for the future. They possess both the passion and the brains to go far in their health care fields, and I wish I could make them promise to come back to Washington Hospital to take care of us!"

Learn more

To find out more about the Washington Hospital Service League, including how you can become a volunteer at Washington Hospital, go to

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