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Teen given Disneyland scholarship for volunteering nearly 800 hours

After eight years of volunteering a total of 793 hours of community service in Orange County, Fountain Valley High School student Jonathan Hwang’s philanthropic ventures were recently acknowledged with a $7,500 scholarship during a Fountain Valley City Council meeting.
Hwang, a 17-year-old Fountain Valley student, was awarded the scholarship from the Disneyland Resort Scholarship Program by volunteering at Hoag Hospital and various Boy Scouts of America events.
According to Melanie Vogel, media relations representative, the Disneyland Resort has offered the scholarship since 2005 and selects 10 Orange County students each year.
Vogel said that in order to receive the scholarship, each applicant must be a graduating high school senior, have served at least 150 hours of community service with a nonprofit organization, have a 3.0 GPA, and be in the process of joining an institute of higher education.
Hwang said his two biggest achievements in volunteering were planning a Christmas caroling event at Hoag Hospital and helping repair a gazebo at the Alzheimer’s Family Service Center in Huntington Beach with his fellow Boy Scouts.
Hwang said time management is a key factor in his life since he not only finds time to volunteer, but also plays violin in the Fountain Valley High School orchestra and is the vice president of the Thirst Relief International Club, which raises funds to purchase clean drinking water for third-world countries.
Hwang said the scholarship will go toward college; he will attend UCLA next semester to study microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics.
According to Hwang, he became interested in medicine after his mother died of cancer when he was a child, which pushed him to learn more about what causes diseases and what can cure them.
Hwang remains modest in his accomplishments, saying that having the opportunity to help others in his community is the real reward, especially since he enjoys learning about medicine at Hoag. “The charity organizations I’ve volunteered for have given me so much more than I’ve given to them over the years,” he said. To view the original Orange County Register article, please click here.