Give Back Tahoe: Scholarship recipient burns bright at MIT
“I have a passion for solving problems and finding my way through complex issues,” Lorenzo Vigano wrote in his 2014 Alpine Winter Foundation scholarship application essay. A former Dean’s List student at Truckee High School, Lorenzo is now at Boston’s Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and majoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Professors are already attempting to persuade the sophomore student to teacher assist and present Physics curriculum to large classes.
Lorenzo was a freshmen at Truckee High School when the trend of teen suicide was making its painful presence felt. After a good friend took his own life, Lorenzo felt a fire ignited within.
With a group of students, Lorenzo co-founded a local branch of Sources of Strength, a national teen suicide prevention organization. A group of respected Truckee High School students organized themselves as peer-to-peer counselors to reach out to “students who might otherwise remain in the shadows and succumb to peer pressure and depression.”
The co-founders created the Wellness Center in a converted Biology classroom. Lorenzo wrote, “It was in this twenty-by-thirty foot room that I not only learned more about my peers’ personal struggles, learned more about myself than I could have possibly anticipated.. I gained some understanding about why my friends had chosen to extinguish their light. Rather than sinking into despair, I used this knowledge to grow and to allow my own light to burn brighter than ever before.”
We may never know to what extent these students impacted one another’s lives, yet it is impossible not to be proud of the way that they responded to a national tragedy on a community level.
When asked about the importance of higher education, Lorenzo wrote “universities are breeding grounds for world changing ideas and solutions, and places to be exposed to different types of thinking. It is important for people to be exposed to the perspectives of those of us from small towns. We, as a green, active, and caring community, have a lot to share with the world.”
The Alpine Winter Foundation scholarship not only helped make Lorenzo’s dream of attending MIT a reality, but it also helped our mountain community to send one of our brightest young people out into the world as a leader and a changemaker.