Attendees at this year’s Gold Star Awards Breakfast were treated to hearing from two 2017 scholarship recipients. Leslie Garcia-Bobadilla is receiving a 13th Year Scholarship funded by Brad & Danielle Tilden. This scholarship will provide her $5,000 to start her college education. Karishama Vahora is receiving the Evelyne Rozner and Matt Griffin scholarship which will provide $5,000 per year for four years to help with her undergraduate education.
Both shared a bit of their journey with us:
Leslie spent most of middle school visiting her cousin, Israel, every day in prison. As an undocumented person, he was jailed and eventually deported. She lived in fear of more family members being sent back to their home country of Mexico.
Leslie will be the first in her family to graduate from high school and attend college. She plans to go to Seattle University and study civil engineering. She knows that most of the people that she meets as a Redhawk will not be able to relate to her experience of growing up in a single parent household, living with a constant fear of another deportation in her family, or taking on the role of parenting a younger sibling. But she knows by sharing her experience and culture, she can help challenge pre-existing ideas that people have about her culture. She plans to stay true to her heritage and will take advantage of opportunities that may come her way to use her voice for change.
Karishama lives in White Center, home to many immigrants, people of color and minorities. She has seen how social inequalities prevent people in her community from getting the municipal support they need. She watches as her neighborhood struggles with low high school graduation and college attendance rates as well as finding healthy foods.
As the first in her family to attend college, Karishama is ready to be a leader in this community. She wants to help empower her community to speak out against racism and prejudices and help obtain the resources they need to improve educational opportunities. She plans to attend the University of Washington and study computer engineering and public health. Karishama’s goal is to return to White Center and start a non-profit organization focused on technology-based solutions to create personalized medicine, help train individuals in new fields and raise awareness about opportunities. Her internships with the White Center Community Development Association, YWCA’s Girls First, and Food Empowerment Education Sustainability Team (FEEST) have helped fuel her desire to make a difference.
The remaining scholarship winners for 2017 will be announced in mid-May.
Congratulations to Leslie and Karishama!