Judge Scott Pearson will be introducing 11 of the 33 Washoe County High School students nominated to receive scholarships from the Rotary Achievement Beyond Obstacles Program.  The students will be telling their stories to the club members and guests.

The purpose of the ABO program is to award scholarships to deserving high school seniors who have triumphed over hardships and demonstrated academic success, personal leadership and courage.  During their senior year the students attend a 16-hour leadership workshop conducted by Dean and Rochelle Whellams. Although the workshop is based on the RYLA program, it is customized to address the challenges and hardships that these scholarship nominees have overcome. These students are offered opportunities through the ABO program such a Financial workshop, and Mentoring throughout the school year and continue that personal help even after they graduate High School and move on to College.  The ABO program offers scholarship money to previous winners that reapply and have met ABO criteria.

All 33 students will be judged by an ABO committee on their presentations and preparation for continuing their education.  This is a very difficult task but necessary since ABO is not financially able to award scholarships to all 33 students.

Scholarship recipients will be honored at an Awards Dinner held in April at the Atlantis where they will be celebrated for their achievements.


Reno South Rotary started the Most Improved Student Program in 1996 to recognize students whose pathway to high school graduation proved to be much more difficult than that traveled by most of us. These students had, or were in the process, of overcoming issues such as significant health problems, abuse, dysfunctional families, homelessness, even brushes with the law – all the while attempting to continue their coursework on the road to graduation. In the world of scholarship “awards”, academic prowess normally triumphs over the successes these students have had in overcoming the obstacles life had placed in their way.  The desire was to reach out to these particular students with an encouraging word and some financial assistance. The goal was to encourage these Most Improved Students to continue their education.