Seven high school seniors will be receiving $1,000 checks in the mail soon, courtesy the Grand Prix Foundation of Long Beach.
The checks are for winners of the 2020 Robert E. Leslie Scholarship. Leslie was a Long Beach Fire Chief and member of the Grand Prix Foundation board.
The scholarships were awarded even though the 2020 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach — and the foundation's fund-raising events — were canceled this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"We felt we had an obligation to fulfill our promise," foundation board president Rick DuRee said. "We had the money in the bank, and the kids still are going to school this fall."
This year's scholarship winners are (in alphabetical order): Julian Alonso of Millikan High, Isabella Aranda of St Anthony High, Emily Tapia-Delgado of Cabrillo High, Jazmine Cruz-Martinez of Avalon K-12 School, Karen Ornelas of Cabrillo High, Anthony Scott of Jordan High and Josephine Villicana of Millikan High.
“We were gratified to receive an application from Avalon this year, and that coincidentally our winners came from a nice variety of Long Beach high schools,” Valerie DeMartino, scholarship committee chair, said.
Normally, the checks are presented at a reception with the honorees and their families. That too has been felled by the coronavirus, and the checks "are in the mail."
Most of the money raised by the foundation comes from events during Charity Days — the week or two before the Grand Prix. That includes the Run The Course 5K Walk/Run and Monte Carlo night the Friday of race weekend.
Those events have been canceled along with the race. People who have already signed up and paid for the run or the Monte Carlo party have options. They can turn entry fees into straight donations; hang on to the entries, which will be honored for the 2021 events or ask for a refund. For help, go to gplb.com/grand-prix-foundation.
In the past 30 years, the Grand Prix Foundation has raised and donated more than $4 million to Long Beach area charities. The all-volunteer organization sends more than 95% of event proceeds to Long Beach charities including Long Beach Area Special Olympics, Ronald McDonald House, Shortstop, Interval House, and Women’s Shelter, as well as the Robert E. Leslie Scholarship Program.