Lake Wins $40,000 Edison Award

By SUE PASCOE,  Editor

Kendal Lake was in her honors marine biology class at Palisades High School on April 13, when she got the surprise of her life.

Tammy Tumbling, director of philanthropy and community investment for Southern California Edison, presented her with a $40,000 college scholarship, $10,000 a year for four years.

“We are here today to tell you Kendal Lake is a 2016 Edison scholar,” Tumbling said.

The class broke out in applause as Lake sat in stunned silence. Then the senior broke into a beatific smile, before coming to the front of the class to accept the award. Her best friends and family had been told that she would win the award, but had kept the secret until a Edison camera crew could film the presentation.

“We envision students like Kendal being part of our work force, because of STEM,” Tumbling said, referring to national efforts to encourage kids to study science, technology, engineering and math. “This bridges a pipeline from the community back to the workforce.”

“I am so amazed and thankful,” Lake said. “I think Edison is great, this is so generous!”

This past year, 933 seniors from all over Southern California (from Santa Barbara to San Diego) applied for the scholarship, which is awarded based on financial need, GPA and an interest in STEM. Thirty were chosen.

Lake wakes up at 5:30 a.m. every morning to catch a 6:30 bus to PaliHi. Living in the Windsor area of Los Angeles, she attended Community Magnet Charter School in Bel-Air for elementary and New West for middle school.

This semester, she rarely arrives home before 7 p.m., because she’s on the school track team, where she runs the 100 and 200 meter races, and both relays.

In her scholarship application, Lake explained that “My 26-year-old sister suffers from systemic lupus erythematosus and hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia, and was stricken by the age of five. My sister is routinely hospitalized for weeks at a time and visits the emergency room monthly. She sees countless specialists and is cared for by my mother.”

At the ceremony, Lake was thankful for the check because “my sister’s disease has affected the rest of the family financially and emotionally. This is a big weight off my shoulders.”

Lake’s mom, Karen, had initially urged her daughter, who has a 3.4 GPA, to apply for the scholarship. “I thought I should go for it,” Lake said. “It never hurts to try.”

In addition to marine biology, Lake is taking photography, government/economics, math analysis, AP literature and Spanish 4. She plans to attend Spelman University in Atlanta because “I think I’ll have a lot of opportunities there. I’d also like to go outside of California, because I’ve been here my whole life.”

Lake plans to major in biology/sports medicine or maybe even become a doctor because “I want to help my sister.”


Family members helping celebrate Kendal Lake’s $40,000 scholarship were (left to right), (aunt) Kellie West, mom Karen, Kendal Lake, (great-aunt) Lena Echols and dad Jay. Photo courtesy of Southern California Edison

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