The saga of the L.A. Times scholarship

Many moons ago I worked on the newspaper at PCC, the Courier. One of the main benefits of the class was being able to attend the Journalism Association of Community Colleges (JACC) state and national conferences. In addition to mail-in and on-the-spot writing/photography competitions and numerous beneficial workshops, the conference also featured a scholarship awards ceremony. During my term as editor-in-chief in 2005, I submitted a writing entry for the L.A. Times scholarship, one of the three largest scholarships up for grabs, for the March conference. And wouldn’t you know that I won! Woo hoo for me.

A couple months went by and I still hadn’t heard a peep about my scholarship. So in mid-May I wrote to Timi, one of the JACC board members, inquiring about my money.

On 5/13/05, “Linda Rapka” wrote:

Hello Ms. Poeppelman:

My name is Linda Rapka and I am the editor at the Pasadena City College Courier. I was the recipient of the L.A. Times scholarship at the JACC conference held in Sacramento and have not received nor heard anything since that time about said scholarship.

My journalism adviser, Mikki Bolliger, told me that you would know what steps I should take in finding out more about how to receive the scholarship. Any assistance you could provide me with would be greatly appreciated.

=====
Linda Rapka
Editor-in-Chief
Courier

And I heard back… nothing.

My journalism adviser, Mikki Bolliger, was persistent about getting this issue onto the JACC discussion group. Nearly one year later, after I had long since left the Courier, Mikki sent me the following message:

From: “Mikki Bolliger”
Subject: Re: Money!
Date: Wed, 8 Mar 2006 18:46:36 -0800
To: “Linda Rapka”

Linda:

It is still a topic discussion on the JACC teacher’s group. They are giving the Times another week or so before JACC cuts checks. Of course, the organization is putting as much pressure as possible on the Times because JACC doesn’t want to put out the money. My e-mail contribution every couple of days is that the check needs to be sent out before the conference on March 30. I’m guessing the check will probably show up days before the conference.

Five months later, still nothing from Timi. I informed Mikki, and she responded:

From: “Mikki Bolliger”
Subject: Re: Courier stuff…
Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2006 12:53:05 -0700
To: “Linda Rapka”

Linda:

Below is the message I sent out to the JACC board and the faculty online group. One of these days you’ll get that damn check.

MB

To JACC Board

I just received an e-mail from Linda Rapka, our former editor, who never received the L.A. Times Scholarship she was promised two years ago. I thought that once we determined that the deadbeat L.A. Times wasn’t going to pay up that JACC was going to give the promised money to those scholarship winners. I know my student is not the only one who didn’t get the promised scholarship check. Please let me know how to respond to her.

Mikki Bolliger

Nearly three weeks later, I actually hear from the infamous Timi:

Date: Mon, 18 Sep 2006 16:49:30 -0700
From: “Timi Poeppelman”
To: “Linda Rapka”
Subject: Re: L.A. Times scholarship

Linda: believe it or not–I’m attempting to put closure on the LA Times scholarship that was owed you! I am trying to get the LA Times to live up to their promise AND if they don’t within the next month–JACC will pay you the $750 scholarship by Jan. 1, 2007 if not sooner. That is what the JACC Board of Directors voted on yesterday in their fall board meeting!

It would be great if you could send me a snail mail address that you would like the check to be sent.

I am soooo sorry for the inconvenience of this situation–I never in a million years dreamed that this situation would occur when I entered into the agreement with the LA Times.

Thanks for understanding and please call me if you have any questions–

Well, that seemed promising. So I responded:

On Sep 21, 2006, at 9:39 AM, Linda Rapka wrote:

Hello Timi,

Thank you so much for your kind attention to what I’ve come to refer to as “the ongoing saga of the LA Times scholarship”! This is truly wonderful news, and is very greatly appreciated.

My mailing address is:
Linda Rapka
XXXXXXXX
Los Angeles, CA XXXXX

Should you need to contact me by phone, I can be reached during the day at xxxxxxxxxx or on my cell at xxxxxxxxxx.

Please express my gratitude to all of the members of the JACC Board for their persistence and integrity regarding this matter.

Many thanks,
Linda Rapka

As expected, Jan. 1 came and went without me hearing anything. After three weeks, I sent the following message:

Date: Tue, 23 Jan 2007 13:45:41 -0800 (PST)
From: “Linda Rapka”
Subject: Re: L.A. Times scholarship
To: “Timi Poeppelman”

Hello Timi,

I still have not heard anything about this scholarship. Could you please give me a status report?

Thank you,
Linda Rapka

That very same day, I received a reply back.

Date: Tue, 23 Jan 2007 14:49:52 -0800
Subject: Re: L.A. Times scholarship
From: “Timi Poeppelman”
To: “Linda Rapka”

I need your address and we can send you the check!

Timi

Um… yeah. She already had my address. Hmm. I finally was resigned to the fact that I would never be seeing this money. But, I sent my address again anyway, and CC’d Mikki on my note. She replied:

From: “Mikki Bolliger”
Subject: Re: L.A. Times scholarship
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 2007 16:10:19 -0800
To: “Linda Rapka”

Yeah!
Let me know when the check actually gets there. JACC announced that scholarship applications are now available, and so I reminded them that they haven’t paid up yet from previous years. They hate it when those reminders go out to the discussion group. I’m happy to see you may actually get what you were promised.

MB

Two weeks go by without anything. Big surprise. Ever the caring former adviser, Mikki emailed me a couple weeks later.

From: “Mikki Bolliger”
Subject: Did you get the check yet?
Date: Thu, 1 Feb 2007 12:17:14 -0800
To: “Linda Rapka”

Dear Linda:

I know Timi promised to put the check for the scholarship in the mail, but we have all heard that line before. What I want to know is whether it actually arrived.

MB

I replied that I, of course, had not.

The following evening I get home from work and check my mailbox. Lo and behold…. a letter from JACC!

Could it be?

I didn’t hold my breath as I opened the letter, but by golly, an actual check was inside!

Never in my days did I think I’d witness the freezing over of hell.

My sincerest gratitude to Mikki, Timi and the JACC board for making this scholarship a reality.

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4 thoughts on “The saga of the L.A. Times scholarship

  1. looks like this was posted a while ago, but i have a funny story about l.a. times scholarships. i won a thousand dollar scholarship two years in a row while a student at ucsb. both times the actually failed to contact me!! the first time it was sent to an old address, but no phone call, no email?? i don’t even know how i found out i won the second time. i think i called them, just to be sure. i got the money no problem, but it was scary to think that it could have passed me right by.

  2. Hehe. Good you finally got it. I’ve been through this process quite a bit to know how nerve-racking it is.Now tell us how your ridiculous album collection got even more ridiculous after it.Cheers.

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