Scholarships pave way to college

Eight Brahmas are among those continuing their athletic careers at the collegiate level.


Ingrid Chan

Four out of the eight Brahmas (left to right) that earned athletic scholarships are Kayla Pak, Davion Bluitt, Gabrielle Niko and Jane Park.

Catherine Liu, Staff Writer

With the price of college tuitions rising each year, it’s no surprise that students are looking for alternative ways to cover the costs. While many students take the academic route in securing scholarships to help cover the price of education, eight students at Diamond Bar High School have secured scholarships due to their success in athletics.

Davion Bluitt, Andrew Ellis, Kathleen Gani, Jeff Lu, Elijah Mott, Gabriella Niko, Kayla Pak and Jane Park have all received scholarships to continue playing sports in college.

Heading to N.A.I.A. Ottawa University, Davion Bluitt and Andrew Ellis plan to continue playing sports in college, with Bluitt competing in football and Ellis running track.

Meanwhile, Jeff Lu will pursue football at Stetson University.

Elijah Mott will continue football at Minot State University, having only to pay for his first semester. At Diamond Bar, he made 27 tackles and forced two fumbles as defensive lineman but at MSU, he will play fullback. Mott is preparing for the new position by practicing his stance and footing.

“I wanted to take the challenge because [there are] different areas, different people to meet and different things to do,” Mott said.

Senior Kayla Pak led the Lady Brahmas with nine goals through 21 games.

Kayla Pak plans to head to the University of the Pacific to continue playing soccer while also pursuing her dream major as a pharmacist. According to Pak, while the school does not compete highest in the division with soccer, it is also one of the few colleges that offer the Accelerated Pharmacy Program. Choosing to have both soccer and her dream major, Kayla decided to go with UOP.

“I played for so long and never got tired of the sport. I love the sport a lot,” Pak said.

Leading the Brahmas in points, Pak had nine goals, but going into UOP, she will change her position from a forward player to an outside defender for the team.

UOP was also the choice for Kathleen Gani, as the athlete plans to pursue a major in either Pre-Med or Pre-Pharmacy. As captain of the swim team, she placed first in the girls 100 breaststroke and third in girls 200 IM Finals during the Palomares League finals. Gani has participated in two CIF State Finals and is participating in her third one this Friday.

Meanwhile, Gabrielle Niko is heading to Sacramento State with plans to play in a sport that she has no experience in–rowing. She received the scholarship since she displayed good endurance and strength, while showing skill in her previous sport, swimming.

According to Niko, the college covers her tuition, but the fund is an annual scholarship, meaning she would have to renew it the following year.

“I’m actually looking forward to being in a team because I’ve always been in a sport where I’m racing by myself […] With rowing, it’s all about timing, consistency and matching with other rowers so I’m really excited to do that. I never really got to work together with other athletes, so this is a whole new experience for me,” Niko said.

Jane Park plans to head to Holy Names University to continue golf. During her time at DBHS, she was selected as First Team All-League in her junior year and Second Team All League in her senior year.

“In the beginning I hated the sport, but over time, I started enjoying the sport more and more and now I don’t want to leave,” Park said.

She was scouted by HNU through an email and accepted since they will cover 85 percent of her tuition, resulting in $30,000 covered.

“I’m excited for new challenges […] I’m really excited for a new lifestyle,” Park said.