EE Scholars


The single overriding goal of Exceeding Expectations is to see to it that every kid gets as much education as he or she is  capable of absorbing, and to make sure that lack of means is never an obstacle. Sometimes that means making sure kids are not forced by circumstances to drop out of high school. Once they've graduated and turned their attention toward college, we see to it that lack of financial means is never a deterrent toward earning their degrees. For team members with special talent, we look for ways to help them develop their skills to the fullest of their potential.

As always, the more money we have, the more we can do. Funding individual kids is tricky, because it always has to be weighed against the ongoing financial requirements of the rest of the team.

A few years ago it got a little easier. Thanks to a very generous founding donation and continuing pledge from Don Reilly and his son Frank, of Reilly Financial Advisors of San Diego, we established the Exceeding Expectations Scholars Program, which would allow us to help individual team members, designated "EE Scholars," to defray the costs of pursuing ongoing learning. Our intention was to provide scholarships, in amounts varying according to the need, for:

  • expenses for college and vocational schools

  • test prep and college application guidance

  • special tutoring

  • music lessons to supplement what schools with dwindling budgets are able to provide

  • leadership and other training programs

  • transportation to and from school

Former Navy man Don Reilly with EE team member Edgar Orozco at Edgar's graduation from Marine boot camp a few years ago. (Edgar has since re-upped...and is now a Drill Instructor at Parris Island!) If Don looks familiar to you veteran triathletes,  it's because he's Mike "Voice of Ironman" Reilly's brother, only much better looking and a better golfer


Edgar re-enlisting on the deck of the USS Midway


The EE Scholars program has become more successful than we dared hope, thanks in part to generous, and often recurring, scholarship donations from these good friends:

  • The Blazeman Foundation (read here)

  • Hillary Biscay (backed by a cast of hundreds, and matched by High Cloud)

  • John & Lizzie Brenkus

  • David Martin

  • The McFarland Family

  • Barbara Ann Bernard on behalf of her cousin Win Charles and Team weWin

  • Don & Frank Reilly (who got the ball rolling originally)

  • Greg Seal 

(While these benefactors have established specific scholarships, it's important to note that the much of the money we use to fund higher education for EE kids still comes from the hundreds of individual donations we receive into our general fund. Those $10, $20, $50 and $100 donations have always been the backbone of EE, and probably always will be.)

So what kinds of things are we doing with the money?


Nik Keller

Nik graduated high school five years ago with a 4.0 and a string of special honors (photo below). He was accepted at UC San Diego but the costs were more than the family could handle, so an EE scholarship helped with tuition. Nik graduated last summer and is now working for a medical supply company in San Diego.


Marlene Sammano

Marlene was accepted into a special program that allowed her to complete her first two years of college while finishing her last two years of high school (see graduation photos). She came through it all with flying colors and entered UC San Diego as a junior. She has since graduated, is now working, and is getting ready for graduate school.


Louisa Patterson

UC Berkeley. What an achievement!  Louisa just graduated from this prestigious institution and is in the process of applying to law school.


Josh Rodriguez

You may remember that this talented violinist was chosen to be one of the youngest members of the San Bernardino School District's Honor Orchestra. He has performed with an orchestra in Italy and will be playing with them at Carnegie Hall this March.


Miguel Ibara

This budding pianist was one of the kids who entertained us after our Swimathon a few years ago. But you can only go so far on what a financially strapped public school is able to provide, so we arranged for private lessons from a dedicated teacher. Now, Miguel is student at Cal State San Bernardino. (Read an essay by Miguel on what it means to him to be an EE team member.)


Archi Lai and Jesus Soto

These three ambitious students have already banked a couple of EE scholarships intended for tuition and other college expenses. Now they're drawing down on them at UCLA (Archi) and UC San Bernardino (Jesus).



We announce new EE Scholars at our December Scholarship and Award parties, so stay tuned!

Nik Keller graduating high school

Nik graduating college!


Education November 13, 2013: A new fund in our "EE Scholars" program was created by Lee's former partner at Deloitte, Greg Seal. Greg is a longstanding and generous supporter of the kids, and he has now pledged $5,000 over the next five years for the Greg Seal Educational Development Fund. This money will be used to get kids into programs and activities that are not run by their schools but which we believe will be useful in furthering their education. This could include such things as a music conference or camp, leadership programs, tutoring or other outside assistance, test preparation, or any creative use that a kid comes up with that he can justify as supporting the goal of eventually going to college.

Read about the Blazeman Memorial Scholarship established by the Blais Family. To be conferred annually in memory of Jon "Blazeman" Blais, it will benefit our foundation and honor two outstanding older EE team members with college scholarships.