Truckee High senior receives scholarship |

Truckee High senior receives scholarship

While gearing up for Truckee High School’s end-of-the-year celebration on Wednesday, salutatorian Andrew Pado has more to smile about than just graduation.

In April, Pado faced off against Nevada County’s top math and science students for a college scholarship in the second annual Sierra Environmental Studies Foundation TechTest 2008 ” a university-level exam given to qualifying high school seniors throughout the county.

“It seemed like a good opportunity and I figured I had a shot at winning a some money,” Pado said.

After the foundation’s academic scholarship committee administered and graded the exam, Pado said he was shocked and pleased to learn on Tuesday that he placed first, earning him a $6,000 college scholarship.

“The test went from really hard to impossible,” Pado said. “It means a lot to get first.”

The Sierra Environmental Studies Foundation is a nonprofit organization created to research and provide clarity to the issues facing Nevada County such as large-scale disaster planning, economic development strategies and transportation infrastructure, said Executive Director Michael McDaniel.

The foundation has been administering the TechTest for just two years, and McDaniel said he hopes the scholarship fund will grow to become the largest in Nevada County.

“We saw a void in mathematics and science scholarships and wanted to help promote education in those fields,” McDaniel said. “It was important to us because we see technicians as the future of the country.”

In 2007, the foundation raised $5,000 to dole out to the top three test-takers. This year, that number tripled and the foundation was able to award 13 scholarships ranging from $300 to $6,000, McDaniel said.

Pado will attend the University of California, Santa Barbara in the fall with a major in mechanical engineering. In addition to the scholarship, Pado said he also received several math, science and literature awards from Truckee High.

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