Paniagua proves hard work really does pay off

Rosa Lemus

Rosa Lemus
Sophomore Keona Paniagua was nominated for a $20,000 scholarship from the Warren Christopher Scholarship Fund on Feb. 12.

Hard work often results in amazing opportunities and sophomore Keona Paniagua is yet another perfect example of this.

Paniagua was nominated for a $20,000 scholarship from the Warren Christopher Scholarship Fund on Feb. 12. Each year, 10 to 15 sophomores from the entire Los Angeles Unified School District are nominated for this scholarship.

These students are selected because they have proven themselves to be hard workers through their academic and extracurricular achievements and have pushed through challenging circumstances.

“I felt overwhelmed at first because it’s such a big scholarship and it’s a lot of money,” Paniagua said. “I just felt honored to be nominated.”

Paniagua lives up to these qualifications both inside and outside the classroom. As a sophomore, Paniagua tackles two AP classes and is still able to maintain her impressive grades.

In addition to being a straight-A student, Paniagua balances her time with various sports including basketball, volleyball and track. She also excels in martial arts, where she is currently a black belt and volunteers to teach classes at her dojo.

“I think she is most qualified,” Counselor Martina Torres said. “She is extremely active, she goes above and beyond and I think she has a great personality and great character.”

The founders O’Melveny and Myers LLP initiated the scholarship in 1992 to honor Warren Christopher, former Secretary of State. Every year, one outstanding sophomore from each LAUSD school is selected for a chance to win the scholarship and compete with other nominees for the award.

The monetary award is used to help inspire students to complete high school and follow their aspirations in college and the many years to come.

Paniagua plans on majoring in kinesiology and becoming a physical therapist. She also plans to continue to use her ability to prioritize and balance her time wisely to go into collegiate boxing.

“I have a good sense of responsibility. I take care of things when they need to be taken care of,” Paniagua said. “I know how to prioritize properly and I make sure the important things are done first and what isn’t as important comes second.”