SCVi senior surprised with nearly 6-figure scholarship 

Carter Sand holds a check that will cover five years of his tuition at Maryville University. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
Carter Sand holds a check that will cover five years of his tuition at Maryville University. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
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Walking into any room, many people don’t expect to receive money, let alone five years of tuition fully covered by their future university. Yet, for Carter Sand, that was exactly the case.  

The 17-year-old SCVi senior has been at the Castaic charter school since kindergarten and is planning on attending Maryville University in St. Louis in the fall.  

While his parents, Tamara and Arnold Sand, knew of his scholarship acceptance, Sand walked into the office of school counselor Kris Nilsen on Wednesday to find himself surprised by Dennis Jones from Maryville University holding a giant check with an amount of $99,064. 

Carter Sand enters college counselor Kris Nilsen's office to be surprised by his scholarship given by Dennis Jones of Maryville University on Wednesday. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
Carter Sand enters college counselor Kris Nilsen’s office to be surprised by his scholarship given by Dennis Jones of Maryville University on Wednesday. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

While all students who are admitted are instantly put in the pool to be selected, 735 of those students were interviewed, according to Jones, resulting in Sand, an aspiring physician assistant, to be the lucky student selected.  

Yet, it’s not just Sand’s luck that won him the scholarship, but years of hard work, as reiterated to him by Nilsen.  

“All the hard work you’ve done, and how amazing that you are, I wish you had more brothers and sisters,” Nilsen said. “I can’t wait to see your future and what happens, but we’ll be sad to see you leave SCVi.” 

Sand was especially taken aback by the gift, given that he thought the winner would be announced sooner.  

“I’ve been refreshing my email constantly,” Sand said to Jones.  

Sand knew of the various scholarship opportunities available through Maryville, but was truly surprised by receiving the Trustee Scholarship at a technologically advanced campus.  

Carter Sand, right, holds his check next to Dennis Jones, left, of Maryville University on Wednesday at SCVi. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
Carter Sand, right, holds his check next to Dennis Jones, left, of Maryville University on Wednesday at SCVi. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

“Every student gets an iPad when they get in, all the rooms, classrooms on campus have Apple TVs so that students can work in groups and connect their iPads, so it’s a very active classroom environment,” Sand said. “I’m really excited to have this opportunity.” 

Matthew Watson, the executive director of development at iLEAD California Charter Schools, of which SCVi is the founding school, reflected on Sand’s accomplishment. 

“I’m just so proud of Carter. He’s obviously an amazing young man, and it’s great to see others recognize that as well. He’s a product of SCVi from kindergarten all the way through his senior year in high school,” Watson said. “It’s just an amazing opportunity for him, and we’re so grateful that Maryville recognizes his accomplishments, as well.” 

Nilsen added that while students are planning their post-secondary adventures, Sand is an example of someone who benefited from a small, liberal arts college.  

“As a college counselor, I talk about small liberal arts colleges a lot because everyone knows a lot of big public schools in California. I push my kids to look at the smaller colleges because they can give money or have that small environment like SCVi,” Nilsen said. “There are these amazing colleges out there that kids don’t know about. And if you’re willing to leave California and travel to someplace new, this is going to be that kind of experience.” 

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