San Pasqual Academy (SPA) is a San Diego County first-in-the-nation, residential education campus designed specifically for foster youth.  SPA has developed a remarkable 20 year, “Best in the Nation”, 95% high school graduation rate for foster children. This is particularly amazing compared to the nation wide foster child high school graduation rate of 50%.  
This week, La Jolla Sunrise Rotary with a matching grant from the Paula and Oliver Jones Family Foundation, awarded Rotary Scholarships to nine graduating seniors who elected to continue their education.  These nine Rotary Scholars are continuing their education thru a combination of trade schools,  junior colleges or four-year colleges.
2021 is a milestone for recognition and presentation of these Rotary scholarships.  It marks the 12th consecutive year, the recognition of over 120 Rotary Scholars and over $120,000.00 in scholarships the La Jolla Sunrise and the Jones Family Foundation have awarded to these outstanding graduating youth.  These foster youth have excelled in a system that is heavily stacked against them.
Doctor Oliver Jones says that recognizing these amazing foster youth for their life altering accomplishment and supporting their continued education has helped make his family foundation more resolute in its mission, and will pass on the Rotary ideal of helping the underserved to his next generation.
Debby Syverson, 26-year Coronado Rotarian and SPA Director of Development, observed these Rotary scholarships have had a profound impact on all students and staff at SPA.  This formal recognition motivates SPA underclass to continue their hard work to get their high school degree, and highlights to our staff that the extra effort dedicated to these youth have long-term and lasting results. She continued that these Rotary scholarships also provide significant funding to aide these amazing youth as they step into the next chapter in their life.
"Motivating these teens to earn their high school degree is a priority from Day 1, and has created a staff and student culture of success and high expectations for the foster youth within SPA," said Suzanne Miyasaki, SPA High School Principal.
Judge Jim Millikan, founding member of SPA remarked that "this positive recognition the underserved SPA youth receive is often their first, provides a sense of belonging, and significantly bolsters their self esteem and confidence."
Rotary International Citation for Meritorious Service recipient and La Jolla Sunrise Rotarian, Dee Doe Bauer has attended almost every SPA graduation since 2002.  She said "supporting SPA students during Rotarians at Work Days, high school football games, SPA Christmas donations and presenting these Rotary Scholarships is very inspirational and has provided some of the most proud moments of her year."
Supporting the outstanding, underserved SPA youth has provided our La Jolla Sunrise Rotary club members with a unique source of personal pride and our club with a special sense of purpose, fellowship and pride for over 12 years.