laurel alice foundation

past winner stacey wenzel
Here's what she's saying...

The prospect of transferring to UCLA was both exciting and concerning. My mom and I did not know how we were going to afford it, but I was determined to go and willing to make sacrifices. My emotions back then are pretty universally shared.

I became aware of the Laurel Alice Williams Scholarship through an e-mail from an old professor and club advisor at Las Positas. I researched the scholarship and foundation and remembered hearing about Laurel's tragic passing not long before. I decided to apply at the last minute, meaning I frantically wrote my essay and threw my application together the day it was due in the mail. I did not expect to hear from anyone, but wanted the comfort of knowing I applied for every scholarship available. Receiving the phone call from Kathy Williams was shocking and thrilling. However, from the moment she walked into my work to meet me no more than ten minutes after informing me I was the recipient did I realize this scholarship was more than just another financial gain. It was an honor and a blessing. Never have I had anyone be so happy to award me a scholarship. Kathy and Ken's joy of helping me leave for college stems from their love for their daughter. They were doing for me what they did not get to do for their own. That is what separates this scholarship from all the others: their family's pure joy and graciousness.

I immediately connected and related with the Williams. Their love and commitment to Laurel's memory is beautifully obvious. And their desire to give other young women support for their education is selfless. They took me in as part of their family and have continued to give me support and encouragement. They stay in contact with me not just to see how school is going, but to foster a personal and meaningful relationship with me.

The dinner banquet at which I was awarded my scholarship was a memorable night. Seeing and meeting the people who knew Laurel and who deeply care for her further shifted my perspective. This scholarship is meaningful because not only does it honor a beautiful girl represented by loving family and friends, it is part of a foundation whose mission also includes preventing teen deaths from drunk driving. The Williams' determination and ability to create a positive social change from their personal tragedy is a testament to their strength and grace.

Laurel's scholarship has not only been the easing of my financial worries but also, and more importantly, the blessing of knowing the Williams and taking part in their foundation. I actually met and knew Laurel in middle school and although I do not remember her well, I am sure our paths were intentionally crossed. When I did my research for her scholarship I found only tributes to her compassion and genuine spirit. I am pleased to receive this opportunity to say thank you to the Williams and the scholarship committee and the people who contributed to the scholarship. I am excited to be a part of this foundation and to see others be given the immeasurable support I have been given.

-Stacey Wenzel
2009 Winner
laurel alice
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