Local foundation holds virtual awards banquet, awards $2 million in college scholarship money

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Las Vegas based Rogers Foundation made Wednesday a day to remember for 25 high school seniors, as it held its annual college scholarship award banquet virtually. 

8 News Now spoke with one of the foundation’s 2020 award winners, after she learned she would receive $100,000 of scholarship funds to the university of her choice. 

“This was just surreal,” Rogers Foundation award recipient Demi Lee said of the moment she learned she won. “Absolutely surreal.”

Lee is a senior at Coronado High School in Henderson. She will attend Yale University in the fall, where she plans to study neuroscience and global affairs. 

Lee said she would like to attend medical school and study neurosurgery, then work for Doctors Without Borders when she graduates.

The Rogers Foundation, which was founded in 2013 by Jim and Beverly Rogers, provides scholarships to individual students in Southern Nevada. It also awards grants to educational institutions, artists and organizations that support the arts locally.

The organization has donated around $90 million in scholarship funds to students, schools and educational programs in the last five years, according to its president.

While it usually holds award banquets in person, the COVID-19 pandemic forced The Rogers Foundation to pivot to a virtual celebration this year.

“In a time like this it’s good to see glimmers of hope,” Rogers Foundation President Rory Reid said of the ceremony. “These young people are shining examples of why we should believe in the future.”

While celebrating at home may feel different, Reid hopes this honor brings these hard working teenagers a slice of happiness.

“I think Nevada’s greatest renewable resource is its young citizens,” Reid said. And the group of kids that win this scholarship are proof of that fact.”

This year, The Rogers Foundation provided $2 million worth of college scholarships to 26 local seniors. 

10 students were awarded full ride, four year scholarships to Kentucky Wesleyan College, where many family members of founder Jim Rogers attended. 

Nine students were awarded $20,000 scholarships to the university of their choice, while five students were also awarded $40,000. 

The organization normally chooses one student to receive $100,000, but representatives said applicants Demi Lee and Michelle Garcia Vazquez were so remarkable, both were chosen. 

“Especially during this great time,” Lee said of her winnings. “Something great happened.”

Lee added that while her senior year of high school may not be exactly what she had in mind, she believes this amazing honor will carry her through these unexpected times. 

“During this time you want to walk with will,” Lee concluded. “And lead with light.”

For more information on The Rogers Foundation, CLICK HERE.

Rogers Foundation Achievers Scholarship Winners:

  • Dakyung “Demi” Lee, Coronado High School, $100,000
  • Michelle Garcia Vazquez, West Career Technical Academy, $100,000
  • Zachary Billot, Spring Valley High School, $40,000
  • Jay Parikh, Ed W. Clark High School, $40,000
  • Nesrine Maidi, West Career Technical Academy, $40,000
  • Erin Keene, Ed W. Clark High School, $40,000
  • Amaris Davis, Advanced Technologies Academy, $40,000
  • Alister James, CSN High School-West, $20,000
  • Camille Thevenot, Las Vegas Academy of the Arts, $20,000
  • Brock Walker, Ed W. Clark High School, $20,000
  • Leonard Brattoli, Coronado High School, $20,000 
  • Nallely De Anda-Zamora, Chaparral High School, $20,000 
  • Yaseen Shah, Advanced Technologies Academy, $20,000
  • Andres Carrasco, Spring Valley High School, $20,000 
  • Autumn Robertson, Moapa Valley High School, $20,000 
  • Andy Tan, Virgin Valley High School, $20,000 

Kentucky Wesleyan College Full-Ride Scholarship Winners

  • Sophia Tsiralidis Southeast Career Technical Academy
  • Naomi Rhoades Las Vegas Academy of the Arts
  • Tracy McGee Las Vegas Academy of The Arts
  • Claire Sloane Las Vegas Academy of the Arts
  • Gabriela Mendez Foothill High School
  • Yoselin Herrera Rancho High School
  • Oliviya Coon Southeast Career Technical Academy
  • Logan Reed Las Vegas Academy of the Arts
  • Emily Hunt Spring Valley High School
  • James Gow Sierra Vista High School

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