Meet the Students of 2010

Lake Tahoe Community College:


Jesús moved to the United States as a high school sophomore. He attended South Tahoe High School and insisted on taking a college prep load, including AP courses in math and science--even as he learned English as his second language. Jesús has overcome not only a language barrier, but also the financial challenges of attending college as a non-resident, and living in Tahoe without parental support. He has successfully pursued his educational goals at LTCC for the past 2 years, completing the prerequisites to transfer to UC-Berkeley in the fall as a pre-med student. While attending LTCC as a full-time student, Jesús has also been a student leader on campus, participating in the Honor Society, Student Council, Art Club, Math Club, and Rotaract. Jesús has maintained a 4.0 grade point average in his classes at LTCC.
South Tahoe High School:


Myanna is a South Lake Tahoe “local” in the true sense; she is a second generation Tahoe citizen. Unfortunately, this did not shield her from the difficult side of life. Myanna’s father left the family at the end of her freshman year after years of dealing with his bipolar behavior. Myanna described it as “walking on eggshells every day”. The family has had to downsize their living space twice since then due to financial difficulties. The divorce was final for her junior year, but the stress had taken its toll. Myanna was diagnosed with mononucleosis in her 10th grade year and fibromyalgia in February of 2010 brought on by sleep deprivation and stress. Incredibly, Myanna had been able to maintain a 4.0 weighted academic grade point average even though she has missed several days of school each year to deal with the pain of her condition. She has always shown that school is her priority and her love of learning has remained a constant in her life. She has committed to attending UC Santa Barbara in the fall, planning to major in social work to become a therapist and will be the first in her family to attend college.

Jorge was raised in a hard-working Hispanic family in South Lake Tahoe. They came to America to find a better life for their family and their dreams were fulfilled: Jorge’s sister will graduate from UC Davis next month, they own a house (mortgaged to allow his sister to go to college), Jorge will be a high school graduate following in his sister’s footsteps, and the dream of college awaits his younger brother as well. The parents had applied for citizenship fifteen years ago and endured every delay. They paid their taxes and his father had a social security card. The dream was shattered last month when his father was deported to Mexico. Jorge was allowed to see his father for 2 minutes in Reno, bring him clothes and a little money and say good-bye. The officials said they would be coming for his mother next, then his sister and finally Jorge and his brother. Jorge and his brother are US citizens. The bottom has fallen out for the family: they will lose their home in their father’s name, Jorge’s financial aid is in jeopardy, and he is helping his mother through this trauma. He still plans to attend CSU Sacramento and has taken the preliminary steps to do so. Needless to say, he definitely needs the money to continue his education.

Melissa has been working hard in every aspect of her life to prepare for the future. Now after doing everything possible for a bright future her parents are struggling to provide her the financial resources to realize her dreams. Melissa is an accomplished student, competitive athlete and gifted musician. She is a great candidate for your scholarship for these and many other reasons. She seriously needs financial support to study music at a University of Pacific to continue to nurture her passion. This resilient young woman has had to endure many challenges throughout high school. Melissa’s family has struggled financially since the Angora fire. Her father lost his bakery business and her mother has been struggling with poor health and depression. Mrs. Ewing has relied upon Melissa to help with cleaning, cooking and numerous responsibilities in the daycare business and their household. Financially the situation is even worse now. The Ewing family will be losing their home to foreclosure and filing for bankruptcy. Melissa has been caring for her mother. Her brother is in his 2nd year at SDSU and this family needs assistance desperately. Melissa has earned a weighted 4.26 GPA which has helped her earn academic awards and filed for FAFSA for aid at UOP but she needs to get another $14k to cover college expenses without having to take out loans.

Jose was born and raised in South Lake Tahoe and is struggling to achieve his American Dream. He is working hard in and outside of school to get out of his dysfunctional home and get his own life. He lives with his mother and three younger siblings in a small apartment. His father, though being divorced, sleeps on their couch. Jose has been asked to take care of his parents both emotionally and financially and doesn’t mind doing it but now that responsibility is making it too difficult for Jose to take care of himself. His parents are constantly fighting and haven’t been supportive of his college plans. Jose has been struggling even to pay the money for his senior project, ELM placement test and $5 for an AP exam. His father continues to ask him for money and takes cash from Jose’s bank account. Recently, Jose took a break from work to focus on academics difficult AP class and Algebra II. He had saved up enough money to cover expenses and thought it would work but his father came to him crying asking for money and now Jose is broker again. He has been working two jobs the last three summers. Despite his family problems Jose has been able to take advantage of the support in AVID and earned a 3.42 GPA. He completed a FAFSA yet hasn’t received aid at this point because his parents made errors on tax forms. Jose will work this summer for the Forest Service and a retail clothing store. He expects to make $6k this summer to help cover college expenses. He is determined to attend CSUSF to study Business this fall. Yet, he needs our help. Even working two jobs he will have to take out 5k-10k in loans.

Melissa is a delightful young woman. She works really hard to achieve because it doesn’t always come easy. Dad is a recently disabled plumber and recovering alcoholic who will not be able to return to his line of work. The family is struggling financially. Melissa will attend St. Mary’s next year. Her older brother is also in college. Her proposed major is engineering or political science. She has received a nice scholarship from St. Mary’s College based on merit and need but it will not cover the costs of her first year at college. Melissa college entrance GPA is 4.12.

Melissa has lived with her father since mom left the family eight years ago. Melissa’s mother suffers from alcoholism and was involved in a very bad vehicle accident last year attributable to her alcoholism. Melissa doesn’t have much contact with her mother any longer. Her father also supports her two older sisters who are not in college. Melissa will attend Long Beach City College and transfer to CSU Long Beach to complete her major in kinesiology. Melissa was not eligible for any financial aid. Melissa’s college entrance GPA is 3.81

James has been the anchor for hi s family since he was a child. James doesn’t remember his father, a violent man who used a lot of drugs. James and his siblings had to step up to help take care of the family both emotionally and financially. His brother never finished high school because he didn’t know how to balance school and work. When James was in middle school he looked to what was the family solution for stress and began drinking, he also got into graffiti art. After being arrested he began to look at his life and the choices he was making and realized he did not want to follow in his father’s footsteps. James mother suffers from mental illness and he has now become the parent in the family. He has worked at a local restaurant all year supporting his family financially while continuing to go to school. James is a very bright, talented young artist who deserves a chance to go to college and reach his potential. With the HERO scholarship we are giving a young man the opportunity to reach his academic and emotional potential. James will always take care of his family and now we have an opportunity to take care of James…James is first in his family to graduate from high school and attend college.

Evelyn is a bright young lady who has seen and endured more than most girls her age. At a young age her family life was violent and dangerous. Her parent split separating the family and her from her brothers and sisters. With that separation she was left alone and isolated. Each parent established a new life and she was not included in either of them. During this time she was abused and emotionally scared, to the point where most young girls would just give up. Evelyn did give up for awhile and tried to solve her problems with drugs, alcohol and acting out in the manner she had been shown. She was arrested three times. In the tenth grade she was arrested, put on probation and pre-expulsion from the district. She says that was her lifeline. Probation kept her clean and sober and once the fog lifted she began to make better choices. Even though her situation has not changed, her perception of herself has, with counseling, being sober and belief in herself as a person for the first time she is ready for the next step…college. She will be the first in her family to graduate and attend college.

Maricela is a young mom, a strong student and an incredible lady. Maricela had a baby in the tenth grade; she kept her pregnancy a secret until the day of her daughter’s birth. Maricela comes from a family of drugs, violence and total chaos. Her parents have never been there for her and her parenting came from siblings who themselves were not making good choices. In the past two years Maricela has chosen to remove herself from her family’s influence and concentrate on building a better life for herself and her daughter. Maricela has been able to balance being a parent and a student while confronting adult issues like joint custody and visitation in the court system. Maricela realizes that education is the key to her future and her daughter’s change at a better life than she has known. Maricela is going to be attending the community college with the goal of transferring to a four year college. I consider Maricela a HERO because she has not allowed her circumstances to determine her future and she knows that education is critical to her success as a person and a parent.

Jessica is a hard working determined young woman who has endured many family problems while in high school. Jessica’s parents divorced when she was young and since then her life has gotten more complicated and difficult, she has struggled with the challenge of domestic violence and alcoholism yet is determined to succeed. Her mother lost her job after being the victim of domestic abuse. Alcoholism and violence created chaos in her life at home. Jessica’s mom’s boyfriend became violent when drinking. Her mother has been struggling to gain employment since the incident and remains unemployed. Despite the family chaos Jessica is a strong Native American woman with high academic and personal goals. She has taken advantage of the AVID program earning an impressive 4.08 GPA. She continues to excel in the classroom and has been accepted to study pre-biology at UC Santa Barbara. Jessica is determined to obtain a good education and never have to rely upon on anyone else. She will not tolerate abuse from others and she wants to have the resources to avoid being controlled. Jessica needs help to achieve these goals. She has applied for many scholarships but will need an additional $10k to avoid taking out large loans.
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