Congratulations to 826 Valencia’s 2012 scholarship recipients

Roger Davila, one of the 2012 scholars, working with an 826 Valencia tutor on his piece for the Young Authors’ Book Project.

We are delighted to introduce you to the 2012 winners of the 826 Valencia Scholarships. We were awed by all of the applicants’ commitment to their education, community, family, and future. The six students below we either knew through past involvement in 826 Valencia or we connected to them immediately because of their creative voice and dedication to learning.

Thank you to City Arts and Lectures and the Brin/Wojcicki Foundation for generously sponsoring the awards again this year. Thank you also to the family of Taylor Renfrew Ingham, a longtime San Francisco teacher, for sponsoring the scholarship in her name.

JERRY CHEUNG, winner of the Young Authors’ Scholarship

826 Valencia is thrilled to announce Jerry, of Galileo High School, as our Young Authors’ Scholar. Whether writing a short story, a personal essay, or a field study in psychology, Jerry composes his pieces with an effortless tone, humor, and creativity. While spending a summer in the UCSB Summer Research Mentorship, Jerry documented his transformation into a leader and self-assured student through his daily reflections in his journal—his voice and reflective process wowed all of us who had the pleasure of reading the entries. In an essay, Jerry wrote, “If I receive a college education, I hope to inspire other with my story. I want to tell them that I slept only three hours a day…that I persisted. I want to ignite the rocket that they call their dreams.” Now that he is going to college, we look forward to seeing Jerry follow his own dreams and pass on his love of learning to others.

MARIA FIGUEROA, winner of the 826 Valencia Scholarship

Maria’s involvement with 826 Valencia started when she was an eighth grader at Everett Middle School, in our satellite Writers’ Room. Maria writes about her experience of working with 826 Programs Director Marisa Urrutia Gedney, “I was still learning how to read and write in English. That was my biggest obstacle of writing, but Marisa was a very patient person who guided me through my entire short story…I had an amazingly fun experience that I will never forget.” Going on to attend more workshops with 826 Valencia, Maria—with her love of writing and reading—captures the 826 spirit entirely. As a volunteer at her former middle school, and an active participant in arts and culture opportunities at Mission High School, Maria continues to impress her teachers and peers. When she attends University of California-Davis in the fall, she will be the first in her family to go to college.

NERY MARTINEZ, winner of the Nathan Jillson Memorial Scholarship

It was his interest in poetry that motivated Nery to apply for the summer Young Authors’ Workshop at 826 Valencia. Since the workshop, Nery has grown as a writer and student, maintaining a high GPA and an A in his AP English class. A senior at Mission High School who maintains the school garden and has won the Coach’s Award in soccer, Nery plans to go to San Francisco State University in the fall. Nery wants to be a graphic designer, and in his application, he wrote “My plan is to build my future as an ‘architect,’ constructing my own goals and achievements, and finishing them with joy.” Nery will be the first in his family to go to college, and we can’t wait to see what he does next.

ROGER DAVILA, winner of the Taylor Renfrew Ingham Memorial Scholarship

As a member of a program called Inspiring Young Emerging Leaders (IYEL), Roger has been trained in environmental conservation, developing his passion for self-sustainable practices. He also shows his commitment to maintaining a green Earth through his continuous involvement in urban farming projects, and he plans to double major in agriculture and architecture. His involvement with HOMEY (Homies Organizing the Mission to Empower Youth) and the Wellness Center at June Jordan School for Equity have allowed him to become a great advocate for the environment. Roger first participated in 826 Valencia programming through the 2011 Young Authors’ Book Project at his school, and he took a creative writing class at his school this fall, publishing his second book with 826.  As we’ve gotten to know Roger, we’ve been so impressed. His passion for, connection to, and understanding of the need to take care of the land runs deep, all the way back to his childhood, as he wrote, “I hope that we will start to see the world just like my brother and I did in El Salvador.”

SINTIA HENRIQUEZ, winner of the Irving Hochman Memorial Scholarship

Sintia, a senior at June Jordan School for Equity, is a student who is not afraid to stand up for what she knows is right. Her involvement in organizations such as POWER (People Organized to Win Employment Rights), HOMEY (Homies Organizing the Mission to Empower Youth), IYEL (Inspiring Young Emerging Leaders), and E4FC (Educators for Fair Consideration have provided her the platform to investigate how social conditions affect marginalized communities and plenty of opportunities to create change in her community. Sintia is convinced that education changed her life and is “committed about becoming someone who does that for other students.” We’ve seen Sintia’s conviction and hard work first hand through her work with 826 Valencia on the 2011 Young Authors’ Book Project and a creative writing class. We believe that her commitment to education and social justice will bring her very far.

MARSHON DARDEN-SMITH, winner of the New Voice Scholarship

Our New Voice Scholarship is given to a student who has in recent years found strength in creativity, this year the award goes to Marshon. “No matter my struggle, I am not ashamed—I am proud—it is my struggle that makes me who I am.” This line comes from one of Marshon’s essays, and it captures all the reasons we awarded Marshon. We had the pleasure of sharing creative space with her through her recent participation in a creative writing class at June Jordan School for Equity and her work with the Geneva Car Barn and Powerhouse. Marshon’s involvement with the Girls After School Program, her thirst for transformative opportunities, and her faith in the betterment of not only herself but also those around her make her a young “shero,” as she, in her own words, classified Sojourner Truth. Marshon’s keen interest in politics has shaped her future goal to be a lawyer. With the title of co-captain on her debate team and strong public speaking skills, Marshon will no doubt reach her goal.

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