Burbank Police Officers Association Give Out Scholarships In Honor Of Matthew Pavelka

By On May 18, 2011

Photo By Ross A. Benson

The Matthew Pavelka Endowment Fund was established after Officer Pavelka was tragically murdered on November 15, 2003.  In that one instance of brutal gun violence, an entire community was devastated.  Less than 24 hours after the incident, Burbank’s unbelievable generosity began to pour in.  The businesses and residents of Burbank, and the surrounding communities’ kindness and support was overwhelming.

Burbank Police Officer Matthew Pavelka who was tragically murdered on November 15, 2003.

Officer Matthew Pavelka’s parents, Mike and Sue Pavelka, graciously requested the endowment fund be used to promote the building of future leaders. There was never a question as to the career path that Officer Matthew Pavelka would follow. After high school, he joined the Air Force, only because he was too young to enroll in a police academy. He served for five years as a military policeman, received an associate of arts degree in criminal justice, and was intent on further pursuing his education in his chosen field. Matthew Pavelka was remembered by more than one of his fellow officers as a charming, light-hearted 26-year-old, with a crown of spiky orange hair, who loved being a cop.

Members from the Burbank Police Officers Association recently attended the National Law Enforcement Memorial ceremonies in Washington DC. While at the Memorial Wall, Detective Jeff Barcus and Detective Anthony Faggiano honored all of our fallen officers. The five officers lost in the line of duty are Officer Matthew Pavelka, Deputy City Marshall Luther Colson, Deputy City Marshall Robert Normand, Officer Joseph Wilson, and Officer Richard Kunkle.

The Scholarship Awards Committee is comprised of Mike & Sue Pavelka, BPOA President Mark Armendariz, and Sgt. Darin Ryburn. The objective of the Committee is to provide an award for high school seniors who have demonstrated outstanding effort in pursuing a vocational goal, to motivate students to dedicate themselves more thoroughly and responsibly to their education or training, and to encourage students to strive for excellence and distinction in whatever they undertake.

The scholarships were awarded to:

Cindy Wee –  Burbank High School
Rosario Hernandez –  Burroughs High School
Patric Kim –  Bellarmine Jefferson High School
Sayda Hartoonian –  Providence High School
Katharine Adler –  Chaminade Preparatory High School

Cindy Wee

Cindy is from Burbank High School.  Her passions are medicine and volunteerism specifically in the maternity ward at Saint Josephs Hospital here in Burbank.  Mr. Thomson, in his letter of recommendation, acknowledged Cindy’s “hard work as the school editor and her willingness to help others as two strong aspects of a wonderful young lady that will demonstrate a high degree of intellect during her time at a top University.”  When Cindy was twelve, she met a man named Robert Robak, whom she refers to as her “American Dad”.  Cindy’s parents had difficulty speaking English as immigrants.  In an effort to assist the family, Mr Robak introduced Cindy to the theater, music and encouraged her to speak freely and better understand current events, school reading assignments and her personal life.  All of this has instilled a passion in Cindy towards fulfilling her goal of becoming a nurse.

Rosario Hernandez

Rosario is from John Burroughs High School; her chosen future career is to become a teacher in an elementary or kindergarten classroom.  Growing up, Rosario was influenced by her grandmother who was a teacher. Rosario remembers meeting some of her grandmother’s students and how they all looked up to her grandmother in admiration and respect.  Lisa Freeman (One of her advisors) noted that Rosario is a young adult who seems not to rest until she has worked to her full potential.  In addition, Ms. Freeman commented that “Rosario would be an asset to any college and would make an excellent teacher”.

Patric Kim

Patric is from Bellarmine-Jefferson High School, he has chosen a career in the medical field.  As a doctor, Patric envisions helping others just as they have helped him overcome his fight with cancer.  While spending a large amount of his childhood in hospitals, Patric became curious and would constantly barrage his doctors with questions on their actions while being treated.  Patric wants to return the favor and become a doctor who not only treats the patients but also comforts them with a warm heart.  Brother Philip Shepler from Bellarmine Jefferson commented “ Patric is a generous young man who thinks of others”.


Sayda Hartoonian

Sayda is from Providence High School.    Sayda has also chosen a career in the medical field.  At an early age, Sayda experienced firsthand the frustration and personal crisis as she watched her father fight off cancer several times.  Several other family members experienced debilitating injuries causing Sayda to become a caretaker at a very young age.   Sayda continued her willingness to help others by volunteering and being accepted into the Medical Focus Program at Providence Saint Josephs Hospital.  This program involves higher level math and science instruction with an emphasis on the traits required to be an effective person in the medical field.  Mary Saikali at Providence High School commented “Sayda’s compassion and dedication to the people around her makes her socially thoughtful, enjoyable, outgoing, caring, understanding, and selfless.”

Katharine Adler

Katharine Adler was selected as a graduating senior of a Burbank Police Officers’ Association Active member. Her father, Adam Adler has been a police officer here in Burbank for eleven years. Katharine attends Chaminade Preparatory School and has chosen a career in the Foreign Correspondence. She envisions herself as a conduit between a global crisis in another country and obtaining Humanitarian Aid for the affected people. Katharine cited prominent news correspondent, Christiane Amanpour as one who has influenced her towards her career path as a foreign correspondent.  In a commentary on Chrsitiane Amanpour I noted she gained a reputation for being fearless for parachuting into areas of conflict.  I am sure her parents are hesitant to see her parachuting into a conflict area!  Wendy Cowgill from Chaminade School commented “Katie is kind and compassionate to those around her and has a strong belief in helping others”.