Scholarship Essay Information For High School Juniors & Seniors.

Are you a high school junior or senior who can speak well and has a powerful, personal Can-Do story to tell? 

Any high school junior or senior in Temecula or Murrieta is eligible to apply for our $500 scholarship! 


Deadline is February 20, 2015.


Annually, a senior is selected to receive a college scholarship for narrating a compelling, true, personal story of individual initiative at our Annual Can-Do Day Celebration.  The 2015 event is Saturday, March 7, starting 3:00 p.m., at the Community Recreation Center in the Ronald Reagan Sports Park. The winner will read his or her speech, receive a $500 scholarship, and be awarded with the Medallion of Initiative.


On this occasion, we honor the Can-Do spirit of those community members who built the sports park, as well as the fact that their efforts were recognized and applauded by President Ronald Reagan for their “typical American spirit.”


The 2014 Medallion winner was a Great Oak senior, Jeremy Stumpp, whose determination to improve in cross country and track led him to rise from “dead last” as a freshman, to team captain and one of the top seven runners to help lead his school to the CA State Championships as a senior. He has a special appreciation for freedom in America because of his unique heritage. He is “proof that America is the land of the free … a safe refuge for those seeking a chance to live without the intrusion of a hostile government.”


In 2014 we actually had two winners of the Medallion of Initiative! Hailey Strode, another Great Oak senior, won the award for a beautiful and poignant speech. Hailey had a unique experience as a nine year old. She wrote a condolence letter to First Lady Nancy Reagan after President Reagan died—and received a letter back thanking her for her kindness. Hailey also was among the people who spoke at the Temecula City Council meeting, when the park’s name change was discussed and the monument first suggested.


The 2013 Medallion recipient was a Murrieta Mesa high school senior, Elijah Rios, who had to battle a brain tumor and a spinal tumor, one after the other, as well as the naysayers who told him he would never be able to go to college. What an inspiration this young man is to all who know him.


In 2012, Emily Conely, a student from Temecula Valley High School, won the Medallion. Her father had served in the U.S. Army since before she was born and she believed that experience was what helped her learn to overcome challenges, as well as value American heritage and liberty. 


In 2011, Medallion winner, Nancy Matti, a senior from Temecula Valley High School and a refugee from Iraq, told us how she, at age five, and her family, left her native Iraq by foot to escape religious persecution. After years of effort, they arrived safely in the United States and were given asylum. She knows first hand the precious value of American freedom.


In 2010, Paige Lewis of Chaparral High School, won her Medallion of Initiative for her touching story of being inspired by her brother’s positive attitude in the face of his multiple medical challenges.  She was the first winner to also receive a $500 scholarship.


The year before, in 2009, Medallion recipient, Justin Markowitz, a senior from Temecula Valley High School, having won a number of awards for his musical


compositions, played two of them on the keyboard, and explained the challenges even gifted people face. He also addressed what he learned about the value of freedom from his grandfather’s experience in war-torn Poland during WWII.


In March 2008, Nikolas Nunez won the Medallion of Initiative. As a home schooled graduating senior, he told the audience how he had been inspired by his grandfather whose determination to get his family to freedom caused him to flee Castro’s Cuba, after having his business confiscated and having to live in a prison camp for three years. Nikolas also performed “Malaguena” on the keyboard, and noted that the composer also fled from Communist Cuba.


In 2007, Joseph Lambert, our first Medallion of Initiative recipient and another home schooled senior, shared his experience of being unable to read until the age of 10, and then described what it was like to work hard to catch up.  He spoke of his dream to be a cadet at West Point, and the path he was taking to get there, encouraging all in the audience to persevere.  He has since graduated from West Point!


Since we are celebrating our community’s Can-Do spirit, these inspiring stories are an essential part of our tradition. If you are a young person with a story to tell about the importance of the American spirit of individual initiative, please enter this competition! We also invite teachers and principals to recommend students they think will be good candidates for this scholarship.




We ask each candidate to submit a speech in writing, with a heading at the top of the first page which includes:           


     name of entrant                    

     adult contact phone number (school counselor or parent)                 

     name of school


From these submissions, we will select candidates for the Medallion of Initiative Scholarship. Final selection will be determined by interview and a trial presentation of the speech, which must be about 5 minutes in length.  We will work with the winner to help polish the presentation for delivery on Can-Do Day.


All entries should be e-mailed to by no later than Friday, February 20.  Each entry will be acknowledged by e-mail.  Any mailed in entries must be received by close of business February 20.  Any entries received beyond that date will not be judged.  Entries may be mailed to Friends of Ronald Reagan SP, 27636 Ynez Road, Suite L7-245, Temecula, Ca 92591-4645.


Finalists will be interviewed about their speech.  The candidate we seek will be an inspiration to others, as he or she delivers the speech to our audience on Can-Do Day, March 7, 2015. (We will help you get ready for this performance.) At the Celebration, we will present this individual with a $500 scholarship check and a Medallion of Initiative from Friends of Ronald Reagan Sports Park.


As President Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States were men were free.”  


Entries, as well as questions, may be addressed to Do not neglect to include your name, school, and adult contact information.