NBC4 Helps Local College Students Pursue Higher Education Dreams

Seven Inspirational NBC4 Beating the Odds Scholars Receive Scholarships

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Seven inspirational students on Friday received NBC4 Beating the Odds scholarship to help them earn a college degree. They shared their stories and why they're looking to higher education to help them move forward. Ana Garcia reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Sept. 6, 2012.

    Seven inspirational NBC4 Beating the Odds Scholars received scholarships on September 6, 2012 to help them in their quest to obtain a college degree.   NBC4, in partnership with the Fulfillment Fund and the California Community Foundation, presented this year’s $20,000 scholarship check to the students at a reception in their honor at the station. 

    Each of the scholarship recipients have overcome incredible obstacles to pursue a higher education which started by working with the Fulfillment Fund and then enrolling in a community college. Past and present scholars have faced daunting circumstances in their lives to even graduate from high school, let alone go to college. Many come from poverty, difficult or abusive family backgrounds or violent neighborhoods, but they all navigated the college enrollment process and surmounted financial barriers for the goal of providing a better future for themselves.     
     
    While visiting the station, the college students met with NBC4’s President and General Manager Steve Carlston, Investigative Reporter Ana Garcia, Vice President of News Todd Mokhtari and Vice President of Community Affairs and Communications Terri Hernandez Rosales.   Later, the students took a tour of the station and were treated to a behind the scenes look at how a newsroom operates.
     
    Viewers can contribute to this scholarship fund by sending donations to:
     
    Beating the Odds Fund
    c/o California Community Foundation
    221 S. Figueroa St.
    Suite 400
    Los Angeles, CA 90012
    Or contact Christine Oh, Scholarship Manager
    coh@calfund.org
     The 2012 NBC4 Beating the Odds scholarship recipients are:
     
    Veronica Flores: The child of a very unstable family, Veronica never met her father and was raised by a teenage mother. Veronica struggles with abuse and neglect. Despite all the chaos at home, she participated in theatre, band, and a capella that gave her a positive outlet to battle her home struggles. She is currently a first-year student at Santa Monica College and has aspirations of becoming the first in her family to graduate from college.
     
    Marco Hernandez: Marco and his family emigrated from Mexico nine years ago. From that time, Marco struggled with learning English, navigating a new education system, and witnessing his older brother’s deportation.  His hard working parents constantly struggled to make ends meet and resorted to living in a garage that housed all six members of his family.  While in high school, Marco was the Captain of the Varsity Soccer team, President of the yearbook committee, Director of the Environmental Committee, Student Government Senator, and Founder of a club on campus that helps students who are recent immigrants. Marco is beginning his higher education journey at East Los Angeles College.  His aspirations are to transfer to a four-year school, attend graduate school, and eventually become a Civil Rights Attorney.
     
    Jasmine Obienu:  Born in Africa, Jasmine arrived in the United States as a six year-old. The shock of being a new girl in an English-speaking world was daunting and it took her parents a while to convince her to make the most of the new environment, take advantage of her education and work hard in school. Jasmine realized the great gift that she had before her, mastered it and graduated as Valedictorian of her class at New Designs Charter School. She is currently a first-year student at Los Angeles City College.
     
    Marissa Vargas: Marissa’s exposure and interest in the medical field was ignited by her own medical complications that often caused her to be hospitalized.  Although Marissa struggles with type one diabetes, the disease taught her to appreciate the responsibility of being responsible for health and herself.  As the youngest of three siblings raised by a single mother who dropped out of high school, Marissa has taken it upon herself to be the trailblazer and become the first in her family to attend college. She is currently enrolled at Santa Monica College and has plans to transfer to a four-year school and become an endocrinologist, to help other people with diabetes.  
     
    Aminah Jackson:  Born to a single mom who was still in college, Aminah learned how to deal with the agonies of debt and despair by adopting her mother’s words, “Never let anyone steal your joy.” Her joy became her life as a dancer, participating in Ballet and on Step Team. With her teacher Debbie Allen’s support, Aminah has surpassed has surpassed anyone’s expectation for her success. A recent transfer student from El Camino College, Aminah has already begun her new collegiate life in Washington, D.C. at Howard University, majoring in Psychology and Spanish.
     
    Dianica Torres:  When she was only five months old, Dianica moved to the United States from Culiacan, Sinaloa. Her mother wanted to make sure that her daughter would have a good education. She was Student Body President of her graduating class at Gertz-Ressler High School and participated in soccer and the Step Up Women’s Network. She was a Fulfillment Fund Scholarship Recipient at Marymount College in Palos Verdes and now has transferred to UC Santa Barbara where she is majoring in Sociology and International Relations.  Dianica was honored with the NBC4 Beating the Odds Scholarship when she graduated from high school in 2010.
     
    Dennis Zapata: Dennis grew up in a one bedroom apartment in a gang-infested part of Los Angeles. Raised in a single parent home, Dennis learned to make the best of his situation by helping his mother raise his two younger siblings and not allowing poverty to dictate the course of his life. His determination led him to become the first in his family to graduate from high school and pursue a college education. Through it all, he never stopped helping others and currently works with a non-profit organization that helps low income students go to college.  He also coaches the Volleyball team at Crenshaw high school, and helped found Grace and Love Church Ministries.   This year, Dennis transferred from El Camino College to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where he is majoring in Sociology.   He aspires to become a high school academic counselor.  Dennis was honored with the NBC4 Beating the Odds Scholarship when he graduated from high school in 2009.

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