For most kids, turning 18 is a notable milestone. For Shaye Busse, a 2015 graduate of Corona del Sol High School, it was absolutely unforgettable.
That’s because the honors student was presented with a $1,000 check toward his tuition at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Busse received the check as recipient of The Blake Norvell Smile Scholarship. The annual scholarship honors the memory of Norvell, a 2006 graduate of CdS who died unexpectedly two years ago.
According to the Tempe Union High School Education Foundation, the scholarship is awarded to a Corona student “who most epitomizes the qualities that made our dear friend Blake so special — community leadership, academic acumen and a positive, outgoing personality.”
With a 4.0 grade point average, Busse was an honors student, ranking 10th in a class of more than 600. He played soccer all four years and men’s volleyball for two. He belonged to the National Honor Society, was president of the Spanish honors society and treasurer of the math club.
More than his academic prowess and extracurricular activities, though, the selection committee—and Busse’s teachers at Corona — saw something more.
Sarah Blechacz had Busse in her honors exercise physiology course during his junior year. She described him as having a “brilliant mind” but noted in her letter of recommendation to the scholarship committee that his “enthusiasm and inquisitiveness are unpretentious…Shaye understands that true knowledge is lived and takes time to develop.”
Lisa Busse, Shaye’s mom, said she found out about the scholarship award when Shaye texted her a photo showing him holding the oversize check. On his birthday, of all days.
“I was over the moon,” she said. “I’m so proud of him.”
Busse will attend UCLA this fall and plans to major in biology and minor in Spanish. He hopes to attend medical school after that so that he can achieve his “lifelong dream of helping as many people as possible.” In the future, he’d like to conduct research to help fight cancer.
Stephanie Norvell said she wants incoming Corona seniors to know about the scholarship, information about which will be posted on the Tempe Union High Schools website in February 2016.
Blake Norvell’s “enthusiasm, leadership, and love for life always inspired others,” she said.