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Announcing 2008 Scholarship Recipient—Kenneth Oshita

Based on the enthusiastic recommendation of the PBKACA Scholarshp Committee, the Executive Board has chosen Kenneth H. Oshita as the recipient of our 2008-09award of $5,000. Kenneth, 18, has completed the International Baccalaureate Program at Lincoln Park High School and will be attending the University of Chicago in the fall.

Interested in every subject from physics to philosophy, Kenneth has a nearly straight-A transcript at Lincoln Park, where he also played saxophone in the school band and was on the junior varsity tennis team. He volunteers at the National Runaway Switchboard as a peer counselor, and he has served as a counselor-aide at an annual summer camp for children with muscular dystrophy. Among his awards is a prize from the Veterans of Foreign Wars for an interpretative essay on the theme of democracy.

In the next phase of his education, Kenneth plans to major in physics, though he seeks studies that are “expansive and well balanced.” He hopes “to meet new people and to be exposed to different points of view, to discover and try new things and to harbor [his] independence and sense of self.” The committee members were impressed as much by his reflective maturity as by his budding philosophical depth. “I suppose,” Kenneth writes, “that the same basic quality of imagination that it takes to conceive of wizards and dragons is the same as that which is necessary for understanding Einstein’s theory of relativity or even Newtonian mechanics. Physics reveals to us how imagination is ironically the key factor in understanding reality.”

The PBKACA Scholarship Committee, chaired by Emelda Estell and Michael Silverstein, worked closely with Danielle Cox-Jones, Scholarship Program Manager of the Office of High School Programs and the Chicago Public Schools in distributing and collecting information and applications to each Chicago public high school. Award recipients are selected based on academic achievements, leadership ability/ extracurricular activities as well as financial need.