Tim Klein scholarship

In this June 2017 photo, Tim Klein, then a Palmdale High School teacher, holds his Guinness World Record plaque for climbing Mount Everest on a climbing wall. Keiry Soriano, a former Palmdale High student who was near death after a shooting, holds a plaque of Klein’s first climbing hold from his record-breaking climb. Klein set the world record for the fastest time to climb the height of Mount Everest on an indoor climbing wall in honor of Soriano.

PALMDALE — Former Palmdale High School teacher Tim Klein inspired thousands of students in his 17 years at the school. Now, more than two years after Klein’s tragic death, an effort is underway to establish a memorial scholarship in his name.

Klein was co-coordinator of Palmdale High’s award-wining Health Careers Academy. He died on June 2, 2018, along with his best friend and climbing partner Jason Wells, in a fall from the 3,000-foot-tall El Capitan at Yosemite National Park during what would have been Klein’s 107th one-day ascent.

The goal is to raise $10,000 through the Antelope Valley College Foundation to endow an approximately $500 annual scholarship in perpetuity.

“Ten thousand gives us the initial endowment and then of course the more that’s put in there the more we can give out,” AVC Foundation President Stacy Bryant said.

The scholarship will go to a high school senior who will major in a health career field and who plans to attend Antelope Valley College as a full-time student. The student must have a minimum 3.0 grade-point average.

“It’s not just students in the Antelope Valley Union High School District,” Bryant said.

The scholarship will be open to any high school senior living in the Antelope Valley who graduates from a local high school and attend AV College.

“Whoever wins the scholarship, if it doesn’t get spent, that money follows them to a four-year university as well,” Bryant said.

A committee including Palmdale High School representatives will select the recipient.

Bryant was inspired by the Health Careers Academy students and staff when, the day after Klein died, they still came to a 5Klicks to Home Run/Walk event and volunteered.

“They were crushed, saddened and in shock and yet they attended the event and provided support to the participants and smiling faces at the finish line,” Bryant wrote.

“To me, and it seemed to them, those actions represented the spirit of Mr. Klein,” Bryant wrote. “He left an indelible mark on students and staff and they in turn do the same for our community. Funding this scholarship is our small way of keeping his story and work alive as he continues to be an inspiration to us all.”

Endowments are typically created with a one-time donation. It can also take up to five-years to collect the minimum $10,000 to establish an endowment.

“Many of our endowments are focused on memorials of people, which is good,” AV College Foundation Executive Director Dianne Knippel said.

A typical endowment takes about one year of investing before it can generate cash for scholarships. Scholarship amounts in the first year or two are about $500.

“You can think that the higher your endowment the higher your scholarship will be,” Knippel said.

Klein was named Palmdale High’s Teacher of the Year in 2014 and 2018, when he also was named the Antelope Valley Union High School District’s Teacher of the Year.

In addition to his work with the Health Careers academy, Klein was well-known locally for setting a Guinness World Record in December 2016 for the fastest time to climb the height of Mount Everest on an indoor climbing wall. He did it in nine hours, 26 minutes, 15 seconds.

Klein’s inspiration was Keiry Soriano, a former Palmdale High student who was the victim of a car-to-car shooting more than three years ago that left her with a 1% chance of survival.

The public can contribute to the endowment fund via PayPal or a credit card. Visit https://www.paypal.com/donate?hosted_button_id=4R236URQYY6Q8

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