Kennedy-King Memorial College Scholarship Fund, Ltd.
2009 Kennedy-King Scholars
Kennedy-King awarded 26 undergraduate scholarships of $8000 each and 1 graduate scholarship of $4000 in 2009.
Meet the Class of 2009
At our Annual Awards Dinner in May
Cairy Sirmons: Graduate Student
Mr. Sirmons is a 2005 Kennedy King undergraduate scholar who transferred to UNLV and obtained a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies with an emphasis in integrated marketing communications in 2007. In the fall of 2009, he will begin work on a master’s degree in sports management at USF. He currently serves as an intern with the Golden State Warriors and plans for a career as an agent for professional athletes. His long-range goal is to establish a foundation to encourage professionalism and integrity among urban and minority youth.
While growing up in Nigeria, Mr. Aghedo’s father was murdered and his family was plunged into severe poverty. He pursued his education at the local government school. He soon realized, however, that due to the turmoil in the country and frequent teacher strikes he would have to use books left by his father to achieve his education, which he did. He intends to study Neuroscience and Physiology and eventually enter medical school.
Ms. Arroyo is the first in her family to complete high school and the first to attend college. She and her family have endured a series of personal crises in the last year, but she has endured. She works full time to supplement her family’s income, maintains a 3.0 grade point average, and helps children in her community with their homework two days a week. Ms Arroyo will major in education and intends to teach after she receives her degree.
Ms Banda was born and raised in Zambia by a single mother in a household of six children, two of whom had sickle cell anemia. Although poor and confronted with many educational and other obstacles, she recalls her deceased mother’s admonition to “remember that our purpose in life is greater than our circumstances.” She is a biotechnology major and intends to continue in that field, after which she hopes to attend graduate school. She has been active in many community activities.
The first in her family to graduate from high school, Ms. Barajas is a role model for her extended family and local high school students with whom she volunteers. She also assists in campaigns to help community members become citizens and encourages voting. She was chosen the only volunteer intern from the Bay Area to work in the FBI headquarters in Washington. Ms Barajas intends to study law enforcement and legal studies.
Having come from a large family and having a number of children herself, Ms Bingham is determined to reach as many underprivileged children as she can. She ran a day care facility in Oakland and knows that constructive early experiences in the life of children helps them to develop their potential. She will study human development to better equip her to make a positive difference in the lives of children.
Ms. Blue has faced great adversity in her life, is a single mother of three, works 15-20 hours a week and has been active in various community service activities. She is majoring in sociology to prepare her to be a social worker. She would like to work with at-risk youth and eventually open a group home.
Ms. Burton describes her past as “one of dysfunction, abuse and tragedy”. She made a decision to make the best of her life despite her past. She has worked as an employee and volunteer for several organizations in assisting young people to make positive choices for their lives. Her goal is to pursue and achieve bachelor’s and master’s degrees in sociology in order to continue her work in helping young people realize their dreams.
Ms. Cabello’s passion about watching films as a respite has grown into a strong career interest. She plans to study film upon transferring. During her tenure in the community college, she has volunteered at a hospice clinic and found that work inspiring. She has overcome many adversities while maintaining a 3.3 grade point average.
Mr. Condon’s family lost their home in the recent economic crash. Yet Mr. Condon coached a youth football team volunteering over 120 hours while completing 19 units during the fall semester (GPA 3.68), and carrying a heavy work schedule. He loves working with children and believes a strong education greatly reduces a child’s risk of ending up “on the streets.” He is studying sociology with a goal of becoming a police officer and obtaining teaching credentials.
Ms. Givens has made major adjustments in her life after a very rocky start which included dropping out of school in 8th grade. At age 30, she is the proud mother of 3 including twins and is fully engaged in the lives of her children while attending college full-time and working twenty hours a week. She serves on the Policy Council of the Contra Costa Service Bureau for Head Start and as chair of the parent organization at her children’s school. She plans to obtain a bachelor’s degree in human development.
Ms. Guevara is a dedicated Honors student majoring in civil engineering. She is a positive role model in her community, active in the Puente Project and is organizing an American Red Cross Club.
She has applied to UC Davis and Berkeley.
Described as open-minded to criticism, hardworking, thoughtful and intelligent, Mr. Herrera is a political science major and hopes to attend law school after obtaining a bachelor’s degree. He is committed to his community and formed a DVC soccer club and a political club. He also serves on the pastoral council of his church.
Ms Hope is a high school student who has been taking courses at CCC. This June, as she turns 18, she will receive her high school diploma and an AA degree from CCC where she has a 3.49 GPA. She was raised by a single mother in Oakland who died when she was 11 and so went to live with three relatives, two of whom have since died. Undeterred, she was elected VP of the CCC Black Student Union and at 16, the President of the CCC student body. She has won over 20 awards as a member of the CCC debate team. She will pursue a degree in history and African American studies.
Now over 40, Ms Hudson has raised six children, her first priority, and soon will achieve an AA degree from LMC majoring in sociology. She believes the idea of “No Child Left Behind” falls short in our society in regard to teenagers. .Her dream is to open a non-profit program designed to make a truly safe and loving place for children, currently in the system, through foster care or group home settings, and to provide them with the skills they need to become self-sufficient, and contributing members of society.
Ms. Lizardo-Sarelano’s teen years commenced with attempted suicide, depression and then spiraled destructively downward. Yet, she has become a strong Latina woman and leader in her community and school. She is committed to assisting children, is a founder of One Day at a Time and co-chair of Brother 2 Brother. She comments that too many students from working class public schools lack “basic skills in English and mathematics, the fundamental skills to succeed in their educational career and in life.” She plans to work to insure our education “policies reflect and meet the needs of each student.” She is sociology major (3.71 GPA).
The daughter of farm labor workers, Ms Maya grew up in a small mobile home in the orchards outside Brentwood where they had no regular plumbing system, no garbage service, little electricity, and an untreated water supply. She has volunteered in various community projects dealing with environmental degradation related to health concerns in the county. She has a 3.82 GPA and is studying molecular environmental biology and plans to go to medical school.
Although a high school track and field champion, adversity has dogged Mr. Morales through no fault of his own. Despite the death of his father, his mother’s illness and a terrible auto accident, he has persevered with his education and devoted many hours to caring for ill members of his family. His desire to help others has led him to a desire to become a nurse which he will continue to pursue with this scholarship.
Born in San Francisco, Ms. Nnaji received most of her education in Nigeria, her father’s home. She returned to the U.S. after her father’s death. She is studying biology and will continue with biochemistry major after her transfer to a university. Her goal is to attend medical school.
Ms. Ordaz is described as a “mature and dedicated student” who is able to take a full load of classes, work as a waitress at a local restaurant and volunteer at John Muir Hospital in Brentwood. She is studying biology and intends to become a medical doctor.
Although Mr. Pastore entered high school speaking very little English, he graduated with honors and an almost perfect GPA. He is majoring in neurobiology, has a 3.92 GPA, and intends to seek a Ph.D. in neuroscience after completion of the bachelor’s degree. He volunteers at the El Cerrito Royale Retirement Home, tutors students K-12 in math and science, and has taught Salsa dancing to high school students to help them learn more about Latino culture.
Though his high school years were very precarious and he barely graduated, Jose soon realized his future was not bright and decided to pursue a long interest in engineering. He has worked hard over the past four years at CCC to acquire the course foundation that will allow him the opportunity to transfer to a university in the fall to complete work on a civil engineering degree. He has also found time to participate in a number of volunteer community activities.
A business administration major with a 3.94 grade point average, Mr. Robles plans to seek a master’s degree in public administration upon completing his bachelor’s at a UC. He strongly believes in helping others. He has created Latinos Unidos where he helps people whose first language is Spanish to learn English. He is also active in the Honors and Puente programs while working part time to assist his family.
Ms. Rodriguez-Pisa is studying genetics and plant biology. She is particularly interested in the role genetics plays in a person’s vulnerability to certain diseases. She is in the Honors Program at LMC and is active in the La Raza and Puente clubs. She is described as “a joy to work with,” and a very cheerful person.
Mr. Romero is committed to creating positive social change at school and in the community. He is an Honors Student, Student Ambassador, tutor/mentor, and an officer of Brother 2 Brother. He also is a Big Brother of the Bay Area and tutor for One Day at a Time. He works from 20-30 hours a week at Costco. He is studying English Literature and hopes to teach at a community college.
After losing one brother and having another one injured in the same week, Ms. Satcher became determined to change her life by pursuing her education and becoming a role model for her son. She currently works 20-25 hours per week for a non-profit that provides after school programs. Many of her past jobs involved care giving for the elderly and disabled. She is a social work major.
Ms. Timmons dropped out of college for a while, but her strong desire for an education brought her back. She is a liberal arts major at LMC (GPA 3.93) who will major in English and pursue a teaching career at the college level. She is described as a “very sweet and focused young woman.”
Kennedy King Memorial College Scholarship Fund, Ltd.
P.O. Box 2643, Martinez, Ca. 94553
IRS Tax ID# 94-1677726