The West Las Vegas Library has always been a place that nurtures neighborhood youth. Past president of the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District Foundation Board, Tom Lawyer and his wife, Bonnie, were astonished to learn about the exceptional services and resources provided by that library and staff. In honor of the library's commitment to the community, the couple pledged to award five $1,000 scholarships for five years to graduating seniors from West Las Vegas who are pursuing higher education. This year, with 18 applications submitted, the Lawyers and the Foundation awarded eight scholarships.

All of this year's winners, cumulatively, have an average grade point of 4.2. They have all utilized the West Las Vegas Library in some way to help them succeed in school and gain acceptance into college. Academic success aside, the thing that stands out most about these talented students is their willingness to give back. All have worked as volunteers, helping younger children read, work on homework, or engage in community projects.

2011 winners of the Tom and Bonnie Lawyer West Las Vegas Library Scholarship
Back row (l to r): Avree Walker, Francis Simon, Angelina Paez, mother of awardee Kevin Wright, Tom Lawyer and Bonnie Lawyer. Front Row: Shandrea Stampley, Shawnna Peters and Ashley Carter.

We invite you to take a moment to get to know a little about the 2011 winners of the Tom and Bonnie Lawyer West Las Vegas Library Scholarship.

Ashley Carter graduated from the Andre Agassi College Prep Academy with straight A's and a history of community involvement, including the Summer Business Institute and University Medical Center. She plans on attending either Georgetown University or University of Miami. Ashley wants to use her nursing degree to become a pediatric nurse or a pediatrician. She has used the West Las Vegas Library since she was a child and considers it "an important part" of her life.

Juan Garcia

Juan Garcia is a second time winner of the scholarship. He graduated from West Prep Academy and is currently an engineering student at UNLV. Juan used to volunteer at West Las Vegas Library and attributes his improvement in public speaking to practicing reading at the library to young children. More importantly, he maintains that it was encouragement from the West Las Vegas Library staff that gave him the confidence to go to college. The engineers at Lawyer Trane Company, impressed with Juan's full time course and employment scheduled, pooled funds to make this year's award for Juan possible.

Angelina Paez also graduated from West Prep Academy and plans to attend UNLV, studying hotel management and business. Angelina dreams of someday running a premiere line of hotels on the Mexican coast - "Paez Paradise." Angelina's most important mentor has been her grandmother, who ran a video/flower shop with a lot of tenacity and hard work, along with the support she received at the library. Angelina has also been inspired by her community and school, where she is also known for her work ethic, vitality and "can do" attitude.

Shawnna Peters

Shawnna Peters graduated from the top of her class at Clark High School with a 4.6 grade point average and outstanding records on the swim and volleyball teams. She plans to major in pre-law and minor in psychology at one of the ten schools she has been accepted and then go to Harvard Law school. Shawnna remembers visiting the West Las Vegas Library since she was little to participate in the Summer Reading Program. Now she works in the library Homework Help center, assists with Summer Reading and the Performing and Visual Arts Camp, and is known as a motivational role model.

Francis Simon

Francis Simon (pictured here with her mother and father) is a graduating valedictorian from West Prep Academy who has been accepted to Mt. St. Mary's College (LA). Francis would like to be a pediatric nurse or obstetrician and help children in need. Her motivations are "a clean community, healthy school, and saving people from hunger!" She considers the West Las Vegas Library her third home, after her family and school, where she utilizes the District's online tutoring services and books. Her counselor notes that "Francis is a leader of the highest caliber - she will positively impact our nation and our world!"

Shandrea Stampley is also a second time Tom and Bonnie Lawyer scholarship recipient who graduated from Northwest Career & Technical Academy. She is pursuing a degree in the medical field as a nursing student at UNLV. Shandrea uses the West Las Vegas Library's resources to help with her papers and reports and contributes to other West Las Vegas civic activities.

Avree Walker

Avree Walker graduated from Las Vegas Academy and has a passion for dance. He is currently a Fine Arts major and dance student at UNLV, and also teaches music and dance. His resume is rich with performance experiences at the West Las Vegas Library Theater and Art Center. He would not have contemplated college without the encouragement of the Art Center and library staff, all of whom enjoy watching his leaps of progress - on the stage and off.

Kevin Wright graduated from Advanced Technologies Academy and is attending Northern Arizona University where he majors in Electrical Engineering, provides seminars and counseling for minotry students, and works in the Office of Financial Aid. Kevin contributed over 100 hours of volunteer services at the West Las Vegas Library and used the library's resources to complete school assignments. This is his second year winning the scholarship.

Tom and Bonnie Lawyer reside in Las Vegas. Tom attended Rancho High School and is the principal of Lawyer Trane Company. They live close to their daughters Ann and Sara, who is married to Jamie Castillo. Tom is a founding member of the Library Foundation board.