Cox Charities surprises 10 deserving high school seniors on a video call with scholarships

It was a day of anticipation as Cox Charities Advisory Board members signed onto a video call to surprise high school seniors with scholarships to help defray college costs. Due to state and national social distancing recommendations to slow the spread of COVID-19, Cox Charities opted to virtually announce 10 recent high school graduates from Orange County and Palos Verdes as the 2020 Cox Scholars recipients. 

This year, Cox Charities awarded a total of $32,500 in scholarships to 10 students in the amounts. Charities is the philanthropic arm of Cox Communications and is funded by employee donations, matched by Cox, and overseen by an advisory board consisting of employees who volunteer their time. The donations are used to support the community in the form of scholarships and nonprofit grants. Statewide, Cox Charities has awarded more than $1.7 million in scholarships to date.

Cox Charities Kalya Lihardo

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Kayla Lihardo was named a 2020 Cox Scholar; she will attend Duke University

 “This year has been unprecedented in so many ways for our graduating high school seniors, and we’re excited to bring them some good news during this challenging time,” said Sam Attisha, Senior Vice President and Region Manager for Cox Communications in California. “These 2020 Cox Scholars are so deserving of these scholarships, and Cox and our employees are proud to recognize all of their hard work and accomplishments.”

Cox Charities Advisory Board members invited students to participate in video calls to learn about their post-graduation plans and what a scholarship would mean to them. The students were unaware at the start of the calls that they had already been selected as Cox Scholars and were surprised and excited to learn that Cox would be awarding each of them with a scholarship for college. 

“On behalf of the Orange County Department of Education, I want to express my gratitude to Cox Charities and its employees for funding the dreams of 10 exemplary students,” said Orange County Superintendent Dr. Al Mijares. “The 2020 Cox Scholars have demonstrated a commitment to academic excellence and community service. While we are proud to celebrate their successes today, we know their greatest achievements are yet to come.”

Cox Charities surprises Avery Klauke

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Avery Klauke was named a 2020 Cox Scholar; she will attend University of California, Berkeley

This 2020 Cox Scholars for the Orange County and Palos Verdes regions are: Casey Gallagher, Tustin High School, attending the University of Southern California, Santa Barbara; Chloe Gonzalez, Palos Verdes High School, hopes to pursue a degree in mathematics this fall with the intention of following a career in education; Erica Hsueh, Northwood High School, attending Princeton University; Aidan Kelly, Tesoro High School, plans to study aerospace engineering; Avery Klauke, University High School, attending the University of California, Berkeley; Kayla Lihardo, University High School, attending Duke University; Anton Lok, Palos Verdes High School, attending Stanford University; Mary Norman, Foothill High School, attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; Alyssa Simmons, Laguna Hills High School, attending Loyola Marymount University; and Maxwell Tumbrello, San Clemente High School, plans to study engineering in the fall.

Cox Charities awards college scholarships to graduating high school seniors across our California service areas, including Orange County, Palos Verdes, San Diego and Santa Barbara. These Cox Scholars are pursuing careers in a STEM related field with a passion for giving back to their community.  For more information on the Cox Scholars program, visit