The Merit Scholar Awards are cash grants, made possible through the Jean Perkins Foundation, of up to $30,000 ($7,500 per year while the student continues to be enrolled and making normal progress toward a college degree). To be eligible, a student must be the child or stepchild of an active or fallen LAFD sworn employee. The eligible student must be a high school senior or college freshman, who will be enrolled in the fall as a full-time student in an accredited college or university. The scholarships are awarded on the basis of merit. The single most important factor is academic achievement, but the all-civilian Selection Committee considers other relevant criteria, including personal character and extracurricular accomplishments.
This year’s awardees were students who demonstrated excellence in academic studies, good character, high moral standards, leadership, distinction in extra-curricular activities, personal accomplishments and a potential for future success. The LAFD Merit Scholarship Fund Board of Directors had the difficult task of selecting the top candidates from an extremely competitive pool.
The 2022 LAFD Merit Scholar Award Recipients are: Mariah Alvarado, daughter of Battalion Chief Vincent Alvarado; Kelsey Barrett, the daughter of Engineer/Paramedic Keith Barrett; Shelby Richmond, the daughter of Deputy Chief Trevor Richmond; Kurt Ruedy, son of Inspector I Brent Ruedy. All bios are provided below.
This year’s runner-up award winners: Aidan Byrne, Jasmine Da Broi, Hadley Goodwin, Carmen Ibarra, Caitlin Perry, Jake Petersen, and Jessica Woodcock, are to be congratulated for their outstanding merits. Each received a one-time grant of $5,000.
The winner of this year’s Best Essay Award of $5,000 is Jasmine Da Broi. The Community Service Award was presented to Hadley Goodwin, who received $5,000 generously co-sponsored by the LAFD Foundation.
We would like to thank Mr. James Carroll III and Mr. Joe Connolly, Executive Board Members of the Jean Perkins Foundation and the LAFD Merit Scholarship Fund’s Board of Directors, Dick Barrett, President; John Anglin, Secretary; Molly Taylor, Treasurer; John Bowlin, Jim Ford, Jay Langan, Andrew McDonald, Brian Sullivan, and Jim Vincent for their dedication and support of our members and their children. We are also grateful to the Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation for their co-sponsorship of the Best Essay Award. The announcement for the 2023 competition should be posted early January 2023, at www.lafd.org/scholarship.
2022 LAFD MERIT SCHOLAR AWARD RECIPIENT BIOGRAPHIES
MARIAH ALVARADO is a graduating senior from Troy High School (THS) and the daughter of Battalion Chief Vincent Alvarado, assigned to Batt. 12 (20 years LAFD). Mariah will be attending the University of California San Diego, majoring in Chemical Engineering. THS has a nationally accredited tech program. While attending THS Mariah pursued the engineering pathway where she was able to immerse her passions for STEM through different engineering courses and a 150-hour internship. Mariah is able to meet the rigorous course-work of THS while still remaining motivated and passionate in her endeavors. She serves as the secretary of THS Compass Club. The Compass Club strives to promote the exploration of different career fields through a variety of interviews. She records the weekly meeting minutes and schedules the interviews. She is a member of the THS varsity dance team and attends advance dance classes in the evenings. She has trained and competed with select elite teams for 11 years in ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, contemporary and hip hop. She was appointed captain for 5 teams out of more than 60 dancers to lead dance teams at regional and national competitions. Mariah will continue dancing on the collegiate D1 dance team at UCSD. In addition to academic, and athletic endeavors, Mariah volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House Charities, Meals on Wheels, Pathways of Hope for the Homeless, and Crittenton Services for Children and Families. At Crittenton Services, Mariah provides attention and comfort, to support attention deprived infants and toddlers from neglected households. Mariah has an addiction to Minecraft which consumes an unhealthy fraction of her homework time. Mariah’s honors and awards include: Captain of the Dance Spot Elite Competitive Dance Team 2018-2022; National Title Recipient, Varsity Troy Redhots Dance Team 2018-2022; CADTD Regionals Jazz Soloist Champion 2019, 2020; WCE Nationals Gold Solo Qualifier; Florida Contest of Champions Nationals Med. Jazz Finalist 2022; National Honors Society 2020-2021; Principal’s Honor Role 2018-2022; California Scholarship Federation Seal Bearer 2018 –2022. Mariah graduates with a 4.6 GPA.
KELSEY BARRETT is a graduating senior from San Dimas High School (SDHS) and the daughter of Engineer/Paramedic Keith Barrett, assigned to FS 25 (22 years LAFD). Kelsey will be attending the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, majoring in Nursing. Her goal is to earn her Doctorate of Nursing Anesthesia Practices (DNA) and become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. Kelsey has challenged herself at SDHS with difficult classes that include advanced placement, honors and accelerated classes. Her rigorous class schedule, exceptional grades and demanding schedule attest to her academic excellence and ability to balance her time. Kelsey is a dedicated team player and a role model committed to her team, school and community. She is a tri-sport athlete, participating in varsity volleyball, water polo and softball. She was the captain of all three teams and helped win league championships in all three sports. She was active in school clubs. She served as ASB Athletics Commissioner, planning and organizing school events; Link Crew Leader, assisting freshmen students; and Best Buddies Team Leader, assisting special education students. Kelsey has actively volunteered at Lake Elder Care and Assistance with elderly care and assistance. At Victoria Village Dentistry, her duties included setting up equipment trays, assisting with x-rays and creating patient charts. Kelsey’s responsibilities at Guide Dogs for the Blind included training and fostering dogs to improve the quality of life and allowing independence for the blind. During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Kelsey had free time and wanted to help expectant mothers who had delivered babies all alone at the Pomona Valley Hospital. She started knitting beanies for babies and has knitted 125 beanies, which are included in care packages for the moms to take home. She hopes to knit 25 more before leaving to the University of Tennessee in August. Kelsey’s honors and awards include: First Team All-League Softball, Water Polo, Volleyball 2018-2022; HEART Award (Hustle, Energy, Attitude, Respect, Team) 2019; Valle Vista League MVP Volleyball 2022; Top 10% of Class 2018 – 2022; Gold Star Award 2018 – 2022; Renaissance Award 2018 – 2022; Merit Award 2019, 2020, 2022. Kelsey graduates with a 4.3 GPA.
SHELBY RICHMOND is a graduating senior from Thousand Oaks High School (TOHS) and is the daughter of Deputy Chief Trevor Richmond, Operations Valley Bureau (33 years LAFD). Shelby will be attending Dartmouth College, majoring in Biology, pre-med track. Shelby hopes to attend a medical or physician assistant school, or do research in the medical field. Shelby is a student at TOHS’s The Center, for Advance Studies and Research (The Center), an AP Capstone Program. As a junior, she completed her AP Research project successfully and overachieved with a score of five. The Center is the only course of its kind which involves high school students in advance college level research. In addition to academics, Shelby has been involved with various extracurricular activities. She is a dedicated student athlete, on the TOHS track team, winning scholar athlete awards, MVP, and served as Varsity Sprint Captain. Shelby actively participates in community events through TOHS’ Key Club, volunteering at animal and homeless shelters, CROP Hunger Walk, and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Student of the Year Campaign (LLS). LLS is a philanthropic leadership development program. Throughout the campaign, students learn to develop professional skills, i.e. marketing, entrepreneurship as well as project and team management. Shelby organized various charity events and conducted sponsorship Zoom meetings and contacted corporate offices. Her team, Bella’s Buddies, raised over $113,000, winning the LLS award of Southern California and donating all funds to cancer research. Shelby’s honors and awards include: MVP Girls 200-meter Dash 2021; Ventura County Champion 200 Meters 2021; Milesplit Junior Girls First Team All-State Team 2021; Marmonte League Champion 200 Meters; Scholar Athlete Award 2019 – 2022; Society of Women’s Engineers Award 2021. Shelby graduates with a 4.4 GPA.
KURT RUEDY is a graduating senior from Royal High School (RHS) and the son of Inspector I Brent Ruedy, assigned to the Fire Prevention Bureau, VIC Unit (22 years LAFD). Kurt will be attending the University of Alabama, majoring in political science. Kurt is a talented baseball player. He is intelligent, respectful and hardworking. He is a consummate team player, being flexible to play a variety of positions to better suit his team’s needs. Kurt brings these traits into the classroom as well as in service to his community. He is a Link Crew Group Leader for RHS, helping incoming freshmen transition to high school throughout the school year. Kurt serves on the RHS Senior Class Council where he was involved in making decisions on spending and asset allocation, organizing, planning and executing events. Kurt is a member of the National Honor Society (NHS). NHS members are required to maintain excellent academic standing as well as service to their community. Kurt volunteered for RHS’ Math for Good program by tutoring math online. He volunteers at the yearly church summer camps as a group leader for preschool to sixth grade. Through the RHS baseball program, Kurt is involved with the Challenger League in Simi Valley, a program helping disabled kids to play baseball, work together and build friendships. As he mentored and interacted with the players on and off the field, Kurt became more aware of his gratitude for his health and abilities. Kurt looks forward to applying to law school and practicing contract law as a sports agent. Kurt’s honors and awards include: National Honor Society 2020-2022; Scholar Athlete Achievement 2019-2022; Valedictorian – 2022. Kurt graduates with a 4.3 GPA.