Roxanne A. Jacobs (left), Joshua M. Pignon (center) and Allison L. Wall (right), the three Long Beach students honored as CSULB President’s Scholars. Photo courtesy of CSULB.

It’s hard to imagine anything better when graduating high school: you worked hard to become a valedictorian and in return, you’re handed a $70K scholarship and the prestigious title of a President’s Scholar.

Three local students—along with 22 other incoming college freshmen from around the state—have done just that after becoming the 25 scholars chosen out of a massive pool of 650 applicants.

Roxanne A. Jacobs, Joshua M. Pignon and Allison L. Wall—all from Long Beach Unified School District—will be starting their first year at college with all expenses paid and their names marking the 20th anniversary of one of CSULB’s most respected programs. Since its inception in 1995, the program has served over 1,100 students from 42 counties across the state.

Jacobs, valedictorian at Millikan High School, has just a 10-minute walk to her new academic home at CSULB, where she will begin her work on a civil engineering degree (plus it didn’t hurt that her mom, Charmaine, is a CSULB graduate and an expert rhetorician).

“My mother rightly pointed out that this is a top program and that CSULB could provide many excellent academic and extracurricular opportunities. But who listens to their parents?” Jacobs wrote in her application essay. “Yet, as I researched colleges throughout the country, this university popped up time and time again. Normally, I hate it when she is right, but not this time. CSULB is a golden opportunity sitting right in front of my eyes, and I never realized this until I did my homework.”

Pignon, hailing from the top at Lakewood High, will be studying criminal justice with the hopes of attending law school in the future.

Meanwhile, Wall—also from Millikan—will major in nutrition and dietetics.

“Because of the efforts of hundreds of supporters who annually raise the necessary funds privately, we are able to offer these academically talented students a full scholarship and the opportunity to receive an outstanding education in a variety of academic programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level,” said Valerie Bordeaux, director of the President’s Scholars Program, in a statement. “In return, they add a great deal to the stature of the university through their academic pursuits in research, academic competitions and other activities. They also perform thousands of hours of community service and are outstanding representatives of the university wherever they go.”

Other recipients include: Amanda Burns, Sabreen Thorne and Justin Cortina, Palmdale; Katelyn Campbell, Fresno; Hope Daley, Torrance; Shealyn Engfer, Mariposa; Christopher Fernandes, Yucaipa; Ryan Florence, Big Bear Lake; Lea Fong, Auburn; Miranda Horton, Cool; Erik Larsen, Visalia; Elyssa Lawrence, Terra Bella; Scott Morris, Vacaville; Nicolas Olenslager-Orton, Tulare; Quentin Pestner, Corona; Christina Tapia, Rancho Cucamonga; Elizabeth Tyler, Merced; Andrew Warren and Tyler Wayne, Lancaster; Alexis Wildman, Colfax; Amy Yang, Rancho Palos Verdes; and Marco Zamora, Plumes Lake.