Four local high school students from the Puyallup School District that demonstrated personal and communal responsibility and have proven themselves ready for college have received a total of $8,000 in scholarship awards from Toyota of Puyallup. This is the second year that the dealership has offered this amount as a part of the company’s ongoing commitment to supporting education.

To receive the scholarship, students must be enrolled in the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program, an elementary through postsecondary college readiness system designed to increase schoolwide learning and performance. According to AVID’s website, 75 percent of AVID students are from a low socioeconomic status background, and 80 percent are underrepresented students. However, 93 percent complete four-year college entrance requirements, 90 percent who apply are accepted into four-year colleges, and 85 percent persist into the second year of college.

“There are so many areas in which we can give back to our community,” Kerry Sawyer Odeman, president and owner of Toyota of Puyallup and executive sponsor of the scholarship program, said in a statement. “We’ve chosen to invest in exemplary students by helping them pursue their dreams of higher education. These young men and women are our future leaders and it’s a privilege to support them on their journey.”

Austin Bicknell of Rogers High School, Hani Abuassi of Emerald Ridge High School, Serin Caldwell of Walker High School, and Hallie Pichette of Puyallup High School, were awarded the Toyota of Puyallup AVID Inspirations Scholarships during their high schools’ awards ceremonies.