La Cañada Student Receives Prestigious Gift

alexislorenz WEB
Alexis Lorenz, a student at La Cañada High School, was one of three recipients of the 2014 Shami Sall Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship is a partnership between Denny’s, one of America’s largest full-service family restaurant chains, and the Magic Johnson Foundation, one of the most recognizable philanthropic organizations in the world aimed at empowering underserved communities.

With Lorenz, high school students Malanna Wheat of Los Angeles, Philip Thompson from Oxnard and college students Zoey Cigar Hodge from  Los Angeles and Micah Earley of La Mirada, will each receive a $2,500 scholarship on behalf of the restaurant chain and non-profit organization. The winners will also be publically recognized by representatives from Denny’s and the Magic Johnson Foundation this fall.

“It’s truly an honor to name these five fine students as the recipients of this year’s Shami Sall Memorial Scholarship,” said Brian Tademy, senior director of field marketing for Denny’s. “Each of them truly embodies Shami’s helpful spirit and guiding light. We at Denny’s and our partners at the Magic Johnson Foundation hope that his legacy continues to inspire and empower more students to be proactive in making positive change both here in Los Angeles and around the world.”

All five winners submitted an essay depicting his or her life story and how one can live by Shami Sall’s personal mantra – “Give a hand up instead of a handout.” Applicants also submitted two letters of recommendation from a community leader, teacher or principal along with a copy of his or her most recent GPA. Essays were reviewed and judged by the Magic Johnson Foundation.

“The Magic Johnson Foundation is honored that Denny’s selected our organization to be a participant in the Shami Sall Memorial Scholarship Program. Shami’s life was dedicated to service and helping others, and through this scholarship, we have been able to touch the lives of some incredible students who will now forever be a part of his legacy,” said Shane Jenkins, vice president, Magic Johnson Foundation.

The eponymous scholarship was started in 2013 to honor the memory of Shami Sall, a much-loved and admired senior director of operations at Denny’s who passed away in 2012. The scholarship is part of Denny’s Hungry for Education program, which will provide more than $200,000 in scholarships to deserving high school and college students in partnerships with eight leading non-profit minority advocacy organizations this year.

For more information, visit or