Students honored by Mercy Hospital

By: Eric Laughlin Telegraph correspondent
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Eleven of the area’s most driven health care students were awarded big for their hard work and service to the community. All received $1,200 scholarships Friday from Mercy Hospital of Folsom’s Auxiliary organization. The students included high school seniors with grade point averages hovering above 4.0 and two mothers working to advance their careers in the health industry. The scholarships are given out annually from the all-volunteer Auxiliary, and the funds come entirely from the organization’s hospital gift shop sales and events throughout the year. “I think it’s great,” said Mercy Folsom President Don Hudson. “These people represent our workforce of the future and it helps them get started.” All 11 recipients were presented with their scholarships by Auxiliary members at a Friday luncheon at Serrano Country Club. They included Oak Ridge senior Kelly Douglas. “It’s really special that they are able to give so much to help us fulfill our goals,” she said. Douglas’ mother Karen also attended the award luncheon. “I’m so thankful to all to these wonderful volunteers in-volved,” she said. “What they do is so unselfish, helping these children who are so deserving.” The younger Douglas plans to study either nursing or physical therapy at Azusa Pacific University. She became interested in health care while serving as sports medicine trainer for Oak Ridge’s football team. The other 10 recipients seemed offered thanks for the Auxiliary’s help. Most spoke briefly when honored individually at the luncheon. Folsom High student Marisa Franz is an academic decathlete who maintains a 4.13 GPA. She plans to attend either UC Davis or Cal Poly to study to become a clinical psychologist. Regina Marino, also at Folsom High, wants to become a gastroenterologist. She plays the violin and her college choices include UC Davis and University of Minnesota. Navneet Kahlon ranks fourth out of 516 in her class at Oak Ridge High School. She maintains a 4.4 GPA and plans to become an oncologist and work with Doctors Without Borders. Jessica Pegadiotes has managed to perform well in school while lettering in four sports (soccer, skiing, snowboarding and water polo). She plans to attend either St. Mary’s College or University of Nevada, Reno. She wants to become an emergency room nurse. Tracy Matthews currently works as a monitoring technician at Mercy Folsom. While caring for three teenaged children, she has managed to excel in radiology classes at Folsom Lake College. Linda Gu ranks second in her class of 314 at Vista Del Lago High School. She serves as president of the Key Club and teaches Sunday school. She also speaks and writes in Mandarin. Michelle Jones has been a perinatal technician at the hospital for six years. She plans to become a nurse and has already earned an associate’s degree. A mother of two, she chose nursing so she could make an impact. Rohit Talreja is in the top one percent of his class at Folsom High School. He plans to attend Stanford University to major in biomedical engineering. He became interested in bio-medical advancements following a car accident he was involved in. Danielle Zezoff is a soccer player who was inspired to become a physician through treatment for a knee injury. The Folsom High student has worked hard to balance sports and academics. Yasin Nabavi attends Oak Ridge High and plans to enter the field of nursing. It is also her goal to start up a shelter/orphanage. She said she became a stronger person after surviving meningitis.