Eight students stand in a line looking out at a very green Mono Lake with waves on it and with a tufa island and the Mono Craters in the distance, and they are all wearing cool-weather outdoor gear.

Recipients of the 2021 Mono Lake Committee Scholarship

Chyann Andrews. Photo courtesy of Lee Vining High School.

Last Thursday at graduation, the 2021 Mono Lake Committee Scholarship was awarded to Lee Vining High School seniors Chyann Andrews and Leonel Galindo. The scholarship application asked Mono County students to write essays that answered the question “Why do places like Mono Lake matter?” We received many submissions that were eloquent and beautiful, and the essays written by Chyann and Leonel really got to the heart of what we were asking.

Chyann shared the connection between her family and Mono Lake when she wrote, “Looking out at Mono Lake I can’t help but think of my ancestors, everything from the peaceful scenery to the comfort of knowing my ancestors are watching over me and protecting me. When you ask, why places like Mono Lake matter, it’s because it holds history, from the very first people to the modern day, all the way down to when my great grandparents were but little children running through the sagebrush.” You can read Chyann’s essay here.

Leonel Galindo. Photo courtesy of Lee Vining High School.

Leonel’s essay gave us a view into the hardships and motivations that many high school students experience. He wrote, “Once we moved into the home next to Mono Lake it opened my eyes and helped me see the beautiful things in life, and by doing that it not only helped me mentally but also physically. My school grades were going up and many things in my life were going my way, because of the way Mono Lake motivated me. It helped me achieve many of the goals I had in my life. Whenever I felt overwhelmed by school and my emotions, I could always look outside and enjoy a beautiful view.” You can read Leonel’s essay here.

We thank and applaud both of these students for sharing their love for Mono Lake.

We at the Mono Lake Committee send our heartfelt congratulations to the class of 2021 at Lee Vining High School and all graduating seniors throughout Mono County! The Committee supports students pursuing higher education with two $1,000 scholarships. Mono County resident high school seniors who have firm plans to attend a two- or four-year college within a year of graduation qualify for the Mono Lake Committee Scholarship.

Thank you to Mono Lake Committee members, who make the scholarship program possible. If you are interested in the Mono Lake Committee Scholarship program, please contact me by email.

Top photo by Ava Stavros.