After reviewing more than 350 applications and interviewing 35 candidates, we’re thrilled to announce this year’s thirteen Esperanza Scholars. Thanks to the generous support of the D.C. Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs, our Board of Advisors, and contributors like you, these thirteen Esperanza Scholars will receive a total of $115,000 in college scholarships, which includes $6,472 raised in the last two weeks through our matching gift drive. Here are their stories:
- A recent immigrant of indigenous Nahuatl origin who grew up in a small Mexican village and worked planting tomatoes. He left his entire family to come to D.C., where he works 40 hours a week while excelling in his schoolwork. Described by one of his teachers as among “the top 1% of students with whom I have worked,” he will attend Montgomery College.
- A young woman who immigrated from India on her own initiative at age 15 to pursue a better education. A national karate champion and award-winning humorist, she has taken 11 college-level math and science classes at her Virginia high school, earned perfect scores on the AP Calculus and Chemistry exams as a junior, and obtained a competitive internship at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. This Fred Wang Memorial Scholar will study engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University.
- A recent immigrant from Guinea who struggled with family abuse and homelessness. She now manages her own household in an independent living facility while maintaining straight A’s at her D.C. public high school. She plans to study nursing at Bowie State University.
- A Colombian-American tri-sport varsity athlete who will be the second student at her Maryland high school to complete both the Academy of Engineering and the International Baccalaureate program. After seeing how her mother’s village in Colombia lacked access to clean water, she was inspired to become a civil engineer. This Providencia Marquez Scholar will enroll in the College Park Scholars Program at the University of Maryland.
- A young woman from Bhutan who spent the first 16 years of her life in a Nepalese refugee camp and fled to the United States after her family’s hut was destroyed in a fire. Despite being afflicted with a painful medical condition, she has maintained a 3.6 GPA and serves as vice-president of a local program for immigrant youth. Grateful for the “new life” that the International Rescue Committee gave her family, she plans to volunteer with the IRC after studying accounting at Salisbury University.
- A Pakistani immigrant who wakes up at 2:30 am every morning to deliver 800 copies of the Washington Post in Northern Virginia. She is vice-president of her high school’s chapter of the Future Business Leaders of America and the anchor of her school’s morning television broadcast. An aspiring physician, she will attend Northern Virginia Community College.
- A young woman who immigrated from Cameroon two years ago and is now the valedictorian of her high school class. Dedicated to fostering communication between the community and local government, she started a student advocacy organization and worked as an intern at the D.C. Council. She plans to study engineering at Frostburg State University.
- A recent immigrant from Vietnam who has maintained a 4.37 GPA and earned perfect scores on five different AP tests while taking care of her younger siblings after school. The daughter of a seamstress, she sews and sells stuffed animals to raise funds for her high school’s reading club. A powerful and passionate writer and speaker, she plans to become a psychologist after studying neuroscience at the University of Virginia.
- A young woman born in D.C. to parents from the Dominican Republic and El Salvador who was a youth resident in poetry at the Smithsonian’s Sackler-Freer Galleries and was her school’s sole representative at American University’s moot court competition. After attending George Mason University, she plans to join the Peace Corps and work for the State Department.
- A Mongolian immigrant who has maintained a 4.36 GPA while serving as concertmaster of her high school orchestra and working to revitalize her school’s student government. A devotee of both ancient Mongolian traditions and modern American pop culture, she will continue her studies at Howard Community College.
- A young woman who immigrated from Nigeria alone and maintained a near-perfect GPA while serving as captain of her schools’ varsity soccer and Quiz Bowl teams while working as a bookkeeper for her aunt’s small business. Inspired by her winning record on her high school mock trial team, this Arce-Aviles Family Scholar will attend Prince George’s Community College and plans to become a lawyer.
- A young man who left his mother and sisters in Ghana two years ago to join his father in the United States and then lost his father to lymphoma just before his senior year in high school. Inspired to become a physician, he has already earned a pharmacy technical license and will study biology at Virginia Commonwealth University.
- A young woman who immigrated to the United States from El Salvador less than two years ago and earned straight A’s in an advanced high school curriculum while working 20 hours a week at Sears. She is also a five-foot-tall weightlifter. After attending West Virginia University, she plans to become an industrial engineer.
We would like to thank all of our supporters for making these scholarships possible, and give a special thanks to Tom Olson and Bruce Berman for sponsoring our final matching gift drive.