Aspiring Fashion Designer Awarded Hillgren Scholarship

Photo by Mirjam Swanson / OUTLOOK
La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce Chairman Rion Zimmerman, Steve Rickert, Chamber CEO Pat Anderson, Peggy Sheridan, scholarship winner Grace Rickert, Andy Rickert and Chairman-Elect Steve Hronek gathered Tuesday at Memorial Park to celebrate the presentation of the $1,000 Hillgren Scholarship.

In fine fashion, the La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce offered Grace Rickert a send-off Tuesday morning at Memorial Park, presenting her with the $1,000 Hillgren Scholarship.
The La Cañada High School graduate is headed to Cornell University, where she will study fashion and design management.
“I was set on Cornell from the start because they have this really unique program [that] combines design with creativity and business within the fashion industry,” Rickert said. “It’s so exciting. I’ve been sewing since I was in kindergarten and I started designing when I was in 5th grade. I remember, I had these 5th-grade idealistic goals like, ‘I’m gonna be the most famous fashion designer in the world!’ But I never thought I’d actually be on the way to learning it and setting it into motion and making it my career.”
The scholarship is named for O. Warren Hillgren, who helped La Cañada Flintridge attain cityhood in 1976 and then spent 16 years on the City Council, including four as mayor. It’s awarded to LCHS seniors on the basis of merit. Special consideration is given to further involvement with the local business community and an aptitude for business entrepreneurship and commercial enterprise.
Rickert’s fashion values are well known — in LCF and beyond.
In 2014, she showed off her skills on a Lifetime TV competition show, winning “Project Runway: Threads” and receiving $10,000 to spend at Jo-Ann Fabric and a scholarship to the summer program of San Diego’s Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.
Rickert — who works at the Paper Rabbit, a specialty gift and scrapbooking store in Montrose — also makes dresses for her friends. This year, she made several prom dresses, each of them unique: There was a short black piece that incorporated lace, a short cream-colored dress with funky straps, a lavender gown with pleating and a red fitted mermaid-type dress. Her dress was the color of sea foam, silky with beads, flowers and pearls embroidered on.
“I’m so thankful for this [scholarship] because there’s going to be so many uses for it at Cornell,” Rickert said. “This will be really helpful.”

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