Wednesday, July 6, 2022
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Brentwood’s P.E.O. Sisterhood chapter awards scholarship


Mia Phounrath, a valedictorian this year at Oakley’s Freedom High School, was excited the day she was able to give her recent speech in front of nearly 5,000 visitors, especially after the past two years’ graduations at her school, which featured drive-through and scaled-down ceremonies.

“It was pretty cool. Getting to make my speech on stage made me very thankful,” she said. “Just being able to see a regular graduation with all the decorated caps from the stage was exciting.”

Phounrath recently had the opportunity to stand on yet another stage to speak about her high school years and plans for the future as she accepted a scholarship from the P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization) Sisterhood Chapter YA of Brentwood. Phounrath said that her 4.46 GPA has opened the door to a few opportunities for her future.

P.E.O. Chapter YA, Brentwood, has been a part of the Brentwood community since it was organized in September 2016. Its membership includes women with a passion and interest in advancing education for women.

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The $2,500 STAR scholarship is just one of several that Phounrath received to help with her education in her chosen field. She is pretty firm in her desire to become a dentist. Although she was accepted into UC Davis and UC Berkeley, in the end, she chose to attend the University of the Pacific (UOP) for their accelerated programming in dentistry.

She plans to attend the UOP campus in Stockton to attend a predentistry program and then move on to the UOP San Francisco campus to complete her degree. Phounrath’s love of dentistry started with the help of her uncle, Dr. Ferdinand Parawan, at the San Ramon Dental Center. He helped Phounrath with her first internship at the dental center and is helping to teach her some of the things she wouldn’t usually learn in college.

“For example, he taught how important it is to learn how to run a business as well as a dental office,” she said.

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Phounrath said she loved her time at Freedom High and excelled because of the help of all her teachers at the school.

“There are too many teachers to name just one that helped,” she said.

During her time at Freedom, she held leadership roles in the California Scholarship Federation, KEY Club and the Aloha Club. She also volunteered until she was 16 for the city of Oakley’s Junior Recreation Leader program. When she turned 16, she was able to become paid staff and took on the position of junior recreation leader for the city.

Along with the P.E.O STAR Scholarship, she found several scholarships to apply for through the school’s counseling office and received a few others. Phounrath said she found something much more important in the P.E.O. Sisterhood group.

“The women at the chapter were always so kind and supportive,” she said. “I’m thankful for their kindness and compassion that expanded beyond the scholarship.”

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Community ride: Continuing the celebration of Antioch’s 150th anniversary festivities, the Celebrate Antioch Foundation will host a Community Bike Ride around Antioch Water Park/Prewett Park.

The bike ride will take place from 9 a.m. to noon June 26 and include a 3-mile and 6-mile course. The ride will start and end at Antioch Water Park, and there will be refreshments and raffle prizes afterward.

Those who enter the bike ride will receive a commemorative sesquicentennial T-shirt, a $5 gift card from Baskin Robbins and half off Antioch Water Park admission (good only on June 26). Registration begins at 8 a.m., and participation costs $10. The Celebrate Antioch Foundation organized the ride to help familiarize the community with some of the city’s trails and paths.

To sign up in advance online, visit For more information or to volunteer, contact Michael Gabrielson at 925-642-7031 or e-mail [email protected]

Roni Gehlke can be reached at [email protected]

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