Shannon Sklow of Rancho Palos Verdes, California, has been announced as the recipient of the first 2018 Plum + Grander Scholarship For Promising Young Gymnasts (PGSPYG). This one-time scholarship totaling $2,500, will support her academic and athletic journey at University of California, Davis (UC Davis) in the Fall of 2018 where she will major in animal science and will be a walk-on for the UC Davis Gymnastics team.

This past April, Plum Practicewear, the leading online retailer of gymnastics apparel and accessories, teamed up with Grander Inc., the mobile app experience that is designed to inspire the next generation of gymnasts, to announce the Plum + Grander Scholarship for Promising Young Gymnasts (PGSPYG). The scholarship, which will continue to be offered annually, was available to graduating high school seniors who could be identified as a competitive gymnast within one of the following disciplines: artistic, rhythmic, acrobatic, tumbling and/or trampoline. Applicants were required to complete a written essay, provide a copy of their most recent report card, and demonstrate individual excellence in areas such as volunteer/work experience, extracurricular activities, and academic performance. The applications were evaluated upon a 100-point rubric that were based upon the following criteria: academics (grades/essay) = 60 points, extra-curricular/volunteerism = 30 points, and attendance = 10 points.

Sklow is a graduate of Palos Verdes Peninsula High School and is currently a Level 10 gymnast at Azarian Gymnastics in Aliso Viejo, California. For the past 15 years, she has been a student-athlete balancing gymnastics, academics, and extracurricular activities. Academically, Sklow is a life member and Gold Seal Bearer of the California Scholarship Federation and has been a two-year member of the following honor societies: National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta National Mathematics Honor Society, National Science Honor Society, Rho Kappa National Social Studies Honor Society, and National Spanish Honor Society. Athletically, Sklow is a third-year level 10 where she travels 100 miles a day to practice 25 hours a week for gymnastics. She was the Level 9 Regional Bar Champ in 2015 and an alternate to the Junior Olympic National Championship this past May. Outside of gymnastics, Sklow nurtures her passion for community service and volunteering at the Palos Verdes Performing Arts Conservatory, National Charity League, Whiskers and Tales Foundation, and the 1736 Family Crisis Center to name a few. She also interns at the Point Vicente Animal Hospital. Her dedication to helping others has not gone unnoticed. In fact, Sklow has received the President’s Volunteer Service Award for four consecutive years (2015-2018) in addition to receiving the National Charity League Merci Award in 2016 and 2017, which recognized her outstanding philanthropic service out of 169 students in her chapter. 

“Community service is one of my true passions in life. What began as simple ‘volunteer opportunities’ quickly transformed into a love for serving others, and a level of human understanding I never thought possible! Six years and 1,700 plus hours later, these values have been solidified for life,” said Sklow on what inspires her dedication to help others.

“This scholarship was established to celebrate student-athletes across the U.S. that have committed themselves not only to sports, but also to their education and giving back to their communities,” said Debra Rizzi, Plum Practicewear partner and director of marketing. “As Plum’s core values are built upon empowerment, positivity, and a strong sense of community, Sklow’s attitude and incredible achievements, both inside and outside the gym, aligned her perfectly to be the recipient of the Plum + Grander scholarship. She is an inspiration.”

For Sklow, gymnastics has instilled in her all of the qualities needed for her to be successful. “My gymnastics experience has definitely shaped me for life. It has taught me the confidence to approach challenges head-on with the drive and determination to succeed,” she said. Her dedication, perseverance, mental stamina, and willingness to work hard to achieve her goals are all life lessons she credits to her 15 years of being a gymnast. She is elated to be joining the UC Davis gymnastics team as a walk-on in fall of 2018.

Matthew Lombardi, co-founder of Grander Inc. agrees, “On behalf of Grander, we are thrilled to reward Sklow for her comprehensive efforts. Grander is proud to inspire the next generation of gymnasts, and we know the Sklow will continue to lead academically and athletically at UC Davis. We are excited to follow her on her journey.”

Applications for the 2019 scholarship program will be announced in April 2019.

July 10, 2018 by Lauren Massamillo