The Santa Ynez Valley Jewish Community has presented a $3,000 scholarship to Lita Wright, who graduated this month from Santa Ynez Valley Union High School.
“With over 18 applications, hers spoke to the selection committee in a manner … which emphasized Tikkun Olam, a Hebrew phrase that represents a standard by which Jewish people measure their lives. It translates as ‘repairing the world’ through social justice and social action,” said Susie Margolis Pierson, president of SYVJC, at the awards ceremony on May 22.
“Lita’s response to the essay prompt: “What can my generation do to improve and promote inclusion and understanding among all people?” struck a chord in all of the judges. A particular sentence distilled succinctly the most critical action needed: ‘It is an innate biological part of every creature, human or animal, to be afraid of those who are different; however, this animalistic tendency is seeping into people’s thoughts every day without us acknowledging its existence.’
“Lita went on to describe the need for all of us to be willing to identify the origin of that perception … ‘understanding before judging’ is critical for change.”
Margolis Pierson noted that all four judges read the essays separately, and all listed Lita as their first choice.
Lita is also the winner of the English Department Achievement Award, President’s Education Excellence Award, Golden State Seal Merit Diploma and Gold Stole recipient, and she plans to attend Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y.