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NBC4 Viewers Help Students Pursue Their Higher Education Dreams

NBC4 Beating the Odds Scholars

Thursday, Dec 15, 2011  |  Updated 1:12 PM PDT
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Students struggling to get an education are getting help this holiday season as they become

Ana Garcia, Daisy Lin

Students struggling to get an education are getting help this holiday season as they become "Beating the Odds Scholars."

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This holiday season is looking a little brighter for seven Southern California college students thanks to the generosity of NBC4 viewers.

The NBC4 Beating the Odds Scholars got a behind the scenes look at the NBC4 newsroom and studios today. They also met with NBC4 reporter Ana Garcia, the station’s President and General Manager Steve Carlston and VP/News Director Vickie Burns.

These students have overcome incredible obstacles to pursue a higher education which started by working with the Fulfillment Fund and then enrolling in community college. Past and present scholarship recipients have faced tough circumstances, such as poverty, difficult family backgrounds or abuse, and many have come from violent neighborhoods. But they all had one thing in common: they wanted something better for their future.

In partnership with the Fulfillment Fund and the California Community Foundation, NBC4 is presenting scholarship funds to seven students to help them continue their quest for a higher education. The scholarship money was a generous gift from NBC4 viewers.

The 2011 NBC4 Beating the Odds scholarship recipients are:

Nestor Arreola graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 2003. For the past eight years he has been juggling family obligations, working 30 hours a week and attending college full-time first at East Los Angeles College and then at CSULA. He will be the first in his family to graduate from college and is on his way to being a History Professor.

Rachelly Escobar graduated in the lower portion of her Los Angeles High School class in 2007. She was determined to turn her life around when she enrolled in West Los Angeles College. She was recently accepted to UC Riverside and would like to attend law school after she graduates.

Many of Amanda Orozco’s family have served time in jail. She was raised by a single teenage mother and, despite her unconventional family history, enrolled in Santa Monica College before transferring to the University of California, Irvine. She wants to become a Clinical Psychologist and work with at-risk youth.

Graduating with a 3.8 average from Gertz-Ressler High School, Jorge Cruz could have gone to many four-year colleges, but because of financial restrictions he opted to go to a community college in Santa Monica. He is determined to set an example for his younger siblings.

Marelyne Mendoza had to work all throughout her high school years at Hamilton High School to help support her family. She is the first in her family to go to college, and she is a Broadcast Journalism major at Santa Monica College.

WhenNatalia Figueroa came to the United States, she was 12 years-old and spoke no English. Despite the language barrier, she took AP classes and became the chief editor of the Gertz-Ressler High School yearbook. She graduated with a 3.36 GPA. Natalia is now studying International Business at West Los Angeles College.

Alejandro Garcia’s family has faced many hardships. Among other devastating events, his father was disabled in a roofing accident and Alejandro found that music was the one thing that could cheer him up. Alejandro is now studying to be a music teacher at Santa Monica College and hopes to inspire other students to follow their passion for music.

For more information about the Fulfillment Fund, visit www.fulfillment.org

To contribute to the Beating the Odds Scholarship Fund so that we can help more students, Send Donations to:

NBC4 Beating the Odds Fund

C/o California Community Foundation

445 S. Figueroa St.

Suite 3400

Los Angeles, CA 90071

www.calfund.org

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