Photo by Bert Forbes Photo by Bert Forbes Photo by Bert Forbes Photo by Bert Forbes Photo by Bert Forbes

Gary Paul Piantanida Scholarships

Paul and Edna Piantanida established the Gary Paul Piantanida Scholarship Fund in 2001 as a living legacy for their son, Gary, who died of leukemia at the age of 16.  Gary was their only child.  The scholarships are awarded to high school graduates from San Luis Obispo County who demonstrate solid academic achievement, involvement in school and community activities, and a sound work ethic, dependability, and integrity.  Last year two Gary Paul Piantanida Scholarships were awarded.

Gregory Conti

Greg, a 2014 graduate of Mission College Preparatory High School, is studying Chemical Engineering at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.  One of five children, Greg credits his parents with inspiring his love of learning and his desire to help others.  Greg is enjoying “the freedom and responsibility to use my time for the most important things in life” this first year in college.  “Finding the right balance between prayer, learning, serving others, and taking care of myself has been a joy and a challenge,” he notes.  He’s been pleasantly surprised at how quickly he’s made friends at Notre Dame.  He’s keeping active with weight lifting and racquetball, and he’s acquired a new interest – Gregorian chant – while taking a music class and singing in the Liturgical Choir.  

Jason Olsen

Jason graduated from Arroyo Grande High School in 2014.  He’s studying Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of California at Berkeley and enjoying the excitement of a big campus.  “It’s exciting and crazy,” he notes, and in a good way.  “The thing that has surprised me the most about college is the changes I see in myself,” says Jason.  “I’m more aware of the things I say or the ways in which I interact with others.”  He’s more open to new ideas and experiences.  “Going to college has changed my perspective on the way the world is and the way people treat others with respect to race, religion, gender, sexuality.”  Jason plans to pursue a career in bioengineering and devote himself to “improving and advancing society and helping others.”  He still plays soccer, like he did in high school; and he’s developed a new interest in psychology.  

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