El Centro de Accion Social presents teens with scholarships

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Community groups present Pasadena teens with scholarships

By Brian Day, Staff Writer Posted: 05/28/2010 06:15:16 PM PDT Education Get the scoop on schools, teachers and students. Visit our Education page for more articles and photos.

PASADENA – Parents gleamed with pride and students got emotional Thursday as two non-profit groups presented scholarships to more than a dozen Pasadena high school seniors. The 14 students selected to win scholarships from Pasadena-based groups El Centro De Accion Social and the Community Organization for Progress and Advancement came from low-income families, and many overcame extreme obstacles to graduate high school and earn acceptance to colleges and universities, El Centro De Accion Social Director Randy Ertll said.

The students were chosen after they submitted essays and went through an interview process, he added. “They’re all outstanding,” Ertll said of the winners. “They blew me away.” He said the scholarships were meant to, “recognize the students, but also give them some monetary help to go to college and university.”

El Centro de Accion Social presented 12 students with its Gloria Delaney Scholarship, which Ertll said is named for educator and former El Centro De Accion Social president and board member Gloria Delaney, who died of cancer early last year. The scholarships were for $200 each. Delaney’s husband, John Delaney, addressed the students and encouraged them in their studies. COPA chose two students, Julie Guerrero and Janet Perez, to honor at Thursday’s ceremony and presented each with a $500 scholarship.

Guerrero plans to attend Pasadena City College in the fall before transferring to a ——————————————————————————– Advertisement ——————————————————————————– university, and Perez is preparing to attend the University of Southern California. One of the recipients of the El Centro scholarship, 18-year-old Marshall Fundamental High School student Ashley Kennard, had a lot of challenges to overcome during her high school career. Her mother and brother both died within recent years, said her aunt, Sheila-Dixon Howard.

“In spite of it, she’s been an honor roll student,” she said. “It’s just amazing to see how she had strived and succeeded.” Kennard said she was thankful for the scholarship and the recognition. “I felt really honored and lucky to get one of these, and I know it will help me in my goals,” she said. She plans to attend California State University San Diego later this year. Kennard’s uncle, Harold Howard, described her as a “model child” and said he was “very proud of her.” “She’s achieved a lot,” he said.

“She’s overcome a lot.” While the scholarship was open to both young men and young women, officials said, the final group selected ended up being all-female by coincidence. Janet Yepez, 18, Altadena, who attend Marshall Fundamental High School in Pasadena, said she was thrilled and grateful to receive a scholarship. “I’m excited,” she said, adding that it had required, “a lot of hard work.”

┬áIn addition to keeping good grades, Yepez spends a lot of time volunteering at elementary schools in the community, said her mother, Edna Yepez. “I’m happy because of all the effort she put into it,” the mother said.

brian.day@sgvn.com 626-962-8811 626-962-8811 , ext. 4586 Read more: http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/news/ci_15185454#ixzz0pIJ53Gmp

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