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Rios awarded Shelley L. Hann Scholarship

Posted: April 1, 2009 6:34 p.m.
Updated: March 31, 2009 8:00 p.m.

Jennifer Rios, Silver Rose Debutante, volunteers weekly with Special Olympics to coach swimmers, including Erica Alvarado, 12, of Sun Valley.

Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital 's Silver Rose Debutante season had a very rewarding ending for one debutante.

Jennifer Lynn Rios of Saugus High received the inaugural $2,500 Shelley L. Hann Scholarship on March 29, during the debutante's farewell brunch.

"I was really caught off guard. The girls I was up against for the scholarship are so amazing, it seemed surreal that I won," Rios said.

Criteria for the scholarship included the debutante's grade point average, community service participation, and referrals from friends and teachers.

An advantage of the Shelley L. Hann Educational Scholarship is that it can be used for whatever educational training the recipient chooses -- trade school, state school, or university.

Funds can be applied toward the first year's tuition, as well as any necessary corresponding educational materials.

"This is a passion of mine. I really missed out on not going to college. I've had a good career as a hairdresser, but I always said with an education and the confidence that comes with it, I would have been the female Donald Trump," Hann said.

All eight debutantes applied for the scholarship and according to Terrie Cipriano, Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital's liaison with the Guild, and the competition was close.

"It was a really difficult decision for the panelists to select a winner. In the end, Jennifer stood out as a really well-rounded young woman and heartfelt with her career goals. She represented the girl that the scholarship was created for," Cipriano said.

A Senior Girl Scout for eight years, Jennifer has also been actively involved with the Special Olympics as a swimming coach. A love for children has motivated Rios to become a pediatrician, and she'll begin pre-med studies at University of Redlands in the fall.

As the oldest daughter of five children, Rios is grateful for the scholarship -- not just for herself, but for her family, with whom she's exceptionally close.

"It's a great way to help pay my way through college, which is important to me. My two younger sisters are starting high school this year and the scholarship relieves the pressure on my parents a little bit so they can start focusing on their college education," she said.

According to Hann, the scholarship adds another significant benefit to the Silver Rose Debutante Program. Now in its 23rd year, the program is open to high school seniors and provides an opportunity for the girls to acquire vital social, civic, and professional skills.

"A lot of people are unfamiliar with the Deb program. They think it's frou frou, but these girls work hard to get good grades and be of service to their community," Hann said. "While many of our debs are from middle and upper middle class families, many could still use help in providing for their educational future and should be rewarded for their efforts."

About Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital
Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital is a 221-bed not-for-profit acute care hospital serving the Santa Clarita Valley since 1975. Services include trauma, emergency, intensive care, maternity, surgery, nursing, wound care, behavioral health, and acute rehab, as well as cancer, cardiology, imaging, lab, digestive, respiratory services and physical and occupational therapies. Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital is located at 23845 McBean Parkway, Valencia, CA 91355-2083. For more information, call (661) 253-8000 or visit


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