News Column

Scholarships Awarded to Student Champions of Diversity

Jan. 21, 2013

Nine regional colleges awarded scholarships to high school seniors during the 13th annual Champions of Diversity Awards ceremony, held Dec. 5, 2012, for their contributions to diversity in their schools and communities.

The ceremony honored a total of 87 area high school students. Educational institutions, local businesses and community organizations awarded a record-high $208,366 in scholarships to 59 seniors who have shown exemplary service in leadership, community service, and in academic and educational activities, according to Public Information Director Arden Ainley.

Central Washington University, Eastern Washington University, Skagit Valley College, The Evergreen State College, University of Washington-Bothell, University of Washington- Seattle, University of Washington-Tacoma, Washington State University, and Western Washington University honored high school students from Skagit and Island counties.

The 24 scholarship recipients published today are listed by the college they will attend. Skagit Valley College recipients were published Jan. 13. Award recipients will be published later this month.

High schools indicated are Anacortes High School -- AHS, Burlington-Edison High School -- BEHS, Burlington-Edison North High School -- BENHS, La Conner High School -- LCHS, Mount Vernon High School -- MVHS, Oak Harbor High School -- OHHS, Sedro-Woolley High School -- SWHS.

Central Washington


Four students received $5,000 scholarships: Zach Bamba and Jessika Meadows, MVHS; Elany Corado, SWHS; and Fortino Partida, LCHS.

Zach Bamba has maintained a 3.4 GPA throughout high school while participating in DECA, basketball, and lettering in baseball and football. Zach has also volunteered at California homeless shelters through LA Missions and churches.

Jessika Meadows is a member of Careers in Education and has been involved in Children of the Valley, the Children's Art Festival and Kids Club at Riverside Health Club. She has played basketball, softball and soccer. Jessika would like to study education.

Elany Corado has participated in AVID, La Cima, NW Wild and YAIL leadership programs. She was a Be the Change leader, Safety Captain of Robotics Club, and she volunteers at Helping Hands Food Bank. Elany trains new Debate Club recruits and competes in Congressional Debate.

Fortino Partida attends Native American cultural events, supports Spanishspeaking peers and works with underprivileged kids. He is a community mentor, translator, youth coach and caregiver. Fortino is interested in studying international business in college.

Eastern Washington


Two students were awarded $7,933 scholarships: Elizabeth Alvarado, BEHS; and Andrea Garcia, MVHS.

Elizabeth Alvarado participates in AVID and Latinos in Action. She volunteers through Skagit Harvest Festival, Buddy Walk and the high school mentorship program. She is also a member of Key Club, Earth Club and Literacy Club. Elizabeth plans to earn a bachelor's degree in English and become a writer.

Andrea Garcia is involved in LINK and Sports Medicine Club. She would like to become a pediatrician.

The Evergreen State College

Three students received $5,000 awards: Linnaea Groh, Micaela Vanderwal and Melissa Wilkerson, all at SWHS.

Linnaea Groh is vice president of her school's National Honor Society chapter and she volunteers with the Lincoln Theatre, Earth Corps and NPR pledge drives.

She is an advocate for the LGBTQ community. Linnaea plans to study communications or rhetoric and volunteer in the Peace Corps.

Micaela Vanderwal is a member of the Squaksin Indian Tribe, where she had difficulty fitting in because of her blonde hair and Dutch surname.

Her difficulties and experiences have made her receptive to minorities and enhanced her understanding of other cultural ideas and beliefs. (Her photo was not available.)

Melissa Wilkerson is a Change Leader and trained facilitator at The Landing, where she helps grieving kids. She also has been involved in Robotics, Club Diversity, Natural Helpers, AVID, debate, drama and sports. Melissa hopes to study psychology or counseling to continue helping and caring for others.

University of Washington


$10,000 scholarships were awarded to Joseph Colston from OHHS and Alysha Conner from BEHS.

Joseph Colston has maintained a 3.6 GPA while participating in Link Crew and Key Club. He plans to study accounting or biology and will be the first in his family to graduate from college.

Alysha Conner is involved in National Honor Society and serves as president of Key Club. She has volunteered more than 100 hours at West View Elementary School and helped install dozens of stoves in Guatemalan villages through Burlington Rotary. Alysha plans to study nursing.

University of Washington


Three students received $4,000 awards: Zulen Pantoja Ortega and Melina Soto, MVHS, and Austin Schuetzel, SWHS.

Zulen Pantoja Ortega volunteers for farm worker families, interns with the US Forest Service and is active in various clubs and events.

Melina Soto is involved with LEAP, FCCLA, AVID and the Mount Vernon girls' tennis team. She also represented her school at UW Math Academy. Melina volunteers through Artes Latinos and would like to work abroad as a civil engineer.

Austin Schuetzel has made positive connections with peers, coaches and parents through athletics. He plans to major in sports therapy to combine his passion for academics and athletics.

University of Washington


Marcelina Mendoza of MVHS was presented a $7,000 scholarship.

Marcelina is trilingual and has contributed to diversity in her school and community through her involvement in Latino/a Educational Achievement Project and Farm Workers' Solidarity March. She has taken many AP, honors and advanced courses. Marcelina would like to study law and specialize in immigration law.

Washington State University

Four students received $1,500 awards: Enrique Hernandez and John Paulo Sumayang, MVHS, Gabriela Luna from BEHS and Erdylle Macapinlac from OHHS.

Enrique Hernandez plays three instruments and is president of his school band.

He is also a leader in both his school and community through his work as an officer in the Gay Straight Alliance. Enrique would like to major in human services and clinical psychology.

John Paulo Sumayang maintains a 3.65 GPA and participates in the Technology Student Association, Young Republicans Club and Skagit County Search and Rescue.

He serves as senior class vice president and has participated in three sports. John plans to study electrical engineering and join the US Army Rangers. (His photo was not available.)

Gabriela Luna is the president of Future Business Leaders of America, having previously served as vice president. She has also been involved in German Club, Latinos in Action, Peer Mentorship Program, North Cascades Wild and West View's Centro de Padres adult education program. Gabriela wants to become a pediatrician.

Erdylle Macapinlac has maintained a 3.6 GPA while taking accelerated and Advanced Placement courses. She serves as ASB treasurer, NJROTC Wildcat executive officer, and helps run her church's daycare. Erdylle will be the first in her family to attend a four-year college in the U.S.

Western Washington University

Each of five students received $6,000 scholarships: Jonathan Cortazar-Garcia, Laura Holmstrom and Andres Munoz-Alvarez, all at MVHS; Micaiah Davis, OHHS; and Kalisha Miles, BEHS.

Jonathan Cortazar-Garcia is a band student who has worked hard to build a community of equality and acceptance in the MVHS Music Department. He is the first of his family raised in the United States.

Laura Holmstrom attended the veterinarian technician program at the Northwest Career and Technical Academy last year.

She served as a teacher's assistant this year and has been president of her 4-H Club for three years. Laura is interested in becoming an elementary special education teacher.

Andres Munoz-Alvarez has been an AVID member since eighth grade and has pursued a rigorous course load. He is actively involved in his church's youth group and he volunteers several hours a week at the local YMCA.

Micaiah Davis has maintained a 3.5 GPA while pursuing a rigorous course load. She is a varsity cheer captain and secretary for both the National Honor Society and the Art Club. She volunteers at Military Appreciation Day, the Soap Box Derby and Boys & Girls Club, where she was awarded 2011 Youth of the Year.

Kalisha Miles is copresident of Drama Club, co-drum major, a Thespian Society officer, a mentor and Student Advisory Council member. She was an Assistant Principal Interview Committee member and master of ceremonies for the Power of Hope's Positivity event. She plans to become a music teacher.

Source: (c)2013 the Skagit Valley Herald (Mount Vernon, Wash.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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