Six students awarded $15,000 worth of scholarships at THINK Together’s Highland, Noah and Shalimar Teen Graduation
THINK Together and local philanthropy Women of Vision Orange County doled out $15,000 in scholarships on Friday June 8 during a graduation ceremony at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach that honored 26 graduates of the Highland, Noah and Shalimar Teen Centers.
Two students received THINK Together’s annual “Good to Great” scholarships and four others received the Sam and Susan Anderson scholarships from Women of Vision. All six scholarships total $2,500 each. Several other students received new laptops to use toward their college education.
Those who received scholarships are Shalimar grads Eduardo Gomez, Tania Trujillo, Jocelin Guzman and Dalia Antonio. Two other winners are Julio Villa from the Noah Teen Center and Stephanie Munoz from the Highland Teen Center.
Many of the students faced multiple hardships on their education journey and received help through the tutoring and training at THINK Together. Scholarship winner Eduardo Gomez had to deal with this father deserting his family and his mother returning to Mexico, leaving him here alone with his older brother.
“Throughout all my four years of high school the Teen Center has made this experience remarkable and very helpful indeed,” said Eduardo, who attended Newport Harbor High. “Joining the Shalimar Teen Center made me the person I am today.”
After college, Eduardo hopes to return to Costa Mesa and contribute so that he can help students who faced similar challenges as he did.
“It’s hard for me to believe how these young people, the first in their families to both graduate from high school and go on to college, have contributed so much in volunteer service and work to our community while taking A.P. classes, maintaining a high grade point average and winning academic awards,” said Women of Vision member and former THINK Together Board Member Bobbi Dauderman.
Even though high school graduation rates remain low in the Latino and African American communities, children who attend THINK Together programs fare better in testing and educational advancement. For example, of the 26 students graduated from the three THINK Together programs, all are going on to attend college compared to only 18 percent of their peers.
“This graduation ceremony is a powerful reminder of the results our programs can deliver,” said Randy Barth, founder and CEO of THINK Together. “Each year, I am always personally touched to hear the stories from the students and parents who have overcome so much to get so far.”
THINK Together’s End of the Year Celebrations and Teen Graduations are sponsored through the generous support of Ralphs Grocery Co., The Marion Knott Foundation, Eric and Connie Boden, ADP, Sam and Susan Anderson, Doug Antone, City Span, William and Mary Lynn Coffee, Jerry and Bobbi Dauderman, Tony French, Joanne Kozberg, Metropolitan Water District and Wells Fargo.