LAPS Foundation Recognizes Scholarship Winners and Educators of Distinction



The Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation awarded scholarships to eleven outstanding students in the class of 2020 for their demonstrated service contributions to the students and community of the Los Alamos Public Schools. Each student received a scholarship and was asked to write an essay about an Educator of Distinction – someone who has had a positive impact on the student during their time in the Los Alamos Public Schools. The students found a creative way to say thank you to their educators of distinction instead of being in a photograph together this year due to social distancing requirements. Congratulations to the following eleven students and educators:

Isaac Ronning LAPSF Portraits_Scholarship Winners_0520-7979Isaac Ronning

Isaac Ronning is the son of Nicole and Filip Ronning.  A future bioengineering major, Ronning was selected among this already impressive group of students as the most meritorious recipient and he was awarded with the Rynd Award. This award is made possible by a large bequest left to the Foundation by Ed and Betty Rynd, a couple with a passion for community service and our schools. Ronning chose Mick Matusak as his Educator of Distinction. About Matusak he wrote, “It was his class that made me realize what field I wanted to major in, and his constant upbeat outlook on life is thrilling to be around. He is always ready to help anyone and everyone, and knows how to push people to be the best they can.”

Amaya Coblentz LAPSF_Scholarship Portraits_0520-8003Amaya Coblentz

Amaya Coblentz is the daughter of Kristine and David Coblentz. She will attend Western Washington University where she will major in biology. Coblentz selected Jenny Diesburg-Lathrop as her Educator of Distinction. In her essay she wrote this about Ms. D-L, “I believe she is a master teacher. She demonstrates a commitment to her students and to education through her kindness, support, and the way she challenges students. I discovered my love for reading during her class. . . When I think back on the most influential part of my elementary education, I think of Ms. Diesburg-Lathrop, tea in hand, surrounded by books, someone who saw the potential in me.”

Sarah Crotzer LAPSF_Scholarship Portraits_0520-7994Sarah Crotzer

Sarah Crotzer is the daughter of Laura and Ronald Crotzer. She will attend New Mexico Tech in the fall where she will major in biomedical sciences. Crotzer chose Naomi Unger as her Educator of Distinction. Crotzer wrote, “As my seventh grade science teacher, she was the first person to inspire me to pursue a STEM degree in a specific field. . . Ms. Unger incorporated challenging yet engaging assignments and fun lessons into the curriculum, and always spoke about the real-world applications and importance of the material we were learning.”

Emily Holmes LAPSF_Scholarship Portraits_0520-7999Emily Holmes

Emily Holmes is the daughter of Nancy and Richard Holmes. She plans to study anthropology at the University of California Berkeley. Holmes chose Margo Batha as her Educator of Distinction. She wrote, Mrs. Batha has challenged me to commit to the things that matter, not limiting me but helping me see the freedom in pursuing what I truly care about instead of what I feel pressured to do. I can truly say that she has changed the way I view the world around me for the better and I am glad that she has helped me become a better student, citizen, and human being.” 

Vaclav Budzileni-Maldonado LAPSF_Scholarship Winner_0520-7973 (1) (1)Vaclav Budzileni-Maldonado

Vaclav Budzileni-Maldonado, the son of Jorge Maldonado and Joanie Budzileni, plans to study health services/medicine at University of New Mexico. Vaclav chose Jonathan Lathrop as his Educator of Distinction. He wrote in his essay, “He helped me find something inside of me that I was not aware of. I can’t know for certain what it would be like had I never met him, but I know had he not been with me along the way I would not be on the path that I am now of service that drives me to become a nurse. This is why I feel that to a certain extent I owe Mr. Lathrop for helping me become who I am now.”

Carlos Chacon Cuesta LAPSF Portraits_Scholarship Winner_0520-7975Carlos Chacon Cuesta

Carlos Chacon Cuesta is the son of Luis Chacon and Isabel Cuesta. He will attend Barrett, the Honors College, at Arizona State University where he will major in engineering with a focus in robotics. Chacon Cuesta chose Don Davis as his Educator of Distinction. Carlos wrote, “Mr. Davis has been the teacher who has impacted me the most because if it were not for him, I would not have found robotics as interesting as I do now, and I would not be majoring in mechanical engineering.”

Joslyn MartinezJoslyn Martinez

Joslyn Martinez is the daughter of Santiago and Anna Martinez. She will attend New Mexico State University in the fall where she plans to major in biomedical sciences. She nominated Robyn Ladino as her Educator of Distinction.  She said, “Robyn Ladino is a high school teacher that has changed me as an individual through her motivation and inspiration. The quality I love most about Mrs. Ladino is her heart. She always treats each one of her students with the same attentiveness, kindness, and care.”

Nathan McCabe LAPSF_Scholarship Portraits_0520-7997 (1)Nathan McCabe

Nathan McCabe is the son of Rodney and Kirsten McCabe.  He plans to major in the performing arts at University of New Mexico with a minor in environmental sciences.  Nathan chose Stephanie Meyer as his Educator of Distinction.  He wrote, “Science can be hard to learn for many students, including me, but Mrs. Meyer allows students to learn in the most productive way possible for each person.  For me, learning science through storytelling made it understandable and fun.  Allowing me to learn in a way that excited me provided a great opportunity to learn as well as incorporate my love for the performing arts in science class.”

Maddie Ovaska LAPSF_Scholarship Portraits_0520-8006Maddie Ovaska

Maddie Ovaska is the daughter of Lynn and Eric Ovaska. She will attend Barrett, the Honors College, at Arizona State University in the fall as a pre-med major. Ovaska named Donna Schaefer, her 4th grade teacher at Mountain Elementary School, as her Educator of Distinction. In her essay she wrote, “Ms. Schaefer’s hands-on class opened my eyes to the possibilities of expanding my curious nature of learning. . . She always encouraged me to think outside of the box and to try my best.”

Roshan Prosad LAPSF Portraits_Scholarship Winners_0520-7980Roshan Prasad

Roshan Prasad is the son of Lakshman and Gauri Prasad. He will study aerospace engineering at Texas A&M University.  Roshan chose Natasha Barkhudarova, his ballroom dance teacher, as his Educator of Distinction. He wrote, “She taught me that everyone learns differently and it is important to accommodate that. She taught me how to have the motivation to give up your personal time to help others accomplish their goals and made me a real leader. Ms. Natasha has had the most impact on me and has transformed me into a confident, poised, caring leader (who can dance too).”

Sonya Svyatskaya LAPSF_Scholarship Portraits_0520-8010Sonya Svyatskaya

Sonya Svyatskaya is the daughter of Natalia Sherman and Daniil Svyatsky. She plans to major in human biology at University of California San Diego. She chose to write about her teacher Allison Renner as her Educator of Distinction. “Mrs. Renner was the first teacher that taught me it was okay to fail.  She was the first teacher that taught me it was better to fail, get up try again, learn more, rather than simply get it.  If anyone prepared me for college and for life, it’s Renner.”

About LAPS Foundation

The Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation is an independent nonprofit organization that helps the local community provide an extraordinary education for Los Alamos students. Los Alamos has given well over $1 million to fund opportunities students and teachers would not have otherwise. To learn more about LAPS Foundation and how to get involved and/or make a donation, visit or call (505) 500-6501. Donations to LAPS Foundation, a 501(C)(3) organization, are tax-deductible.