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Senior Africa Hernandez receives a $750 scholarship from the ALTRUSA Foundation.

Ten seniors from Irma L. Rengal Young Women’s Leadership School received scholarships of $750 each Wednesday in a ceremony honoring them and Reagan Lorenzen, an advocate for the school.

Lorenzen did a site visit three years ago at the school for her community service club, Altrusa International Inc. of Downtown Dallas, as a possibility for a future volunteer project. She’d been elected as president of the community service club for a second time, but soon discovered she had breast cancer – also for the second time. She passed away November 23, and donations made in her honor were designated for scholarships for the young women she’d hoped to help attend college.

Altrusa has adopted the school located on the edge of Fair Park and the business women in the club have been there multiple times, teaching the students how to dress and act in a college or job interview, and helping them make it to the finals in the Mock Trial competition this spring. Altrusa’s membership includes many lawyers and a few judges among its 71 women in the club.

Former Altrusa President CPA Holly Roundtree spoke of Reagan’s love for service and education at the ceremony held in the school’s library. Reagan’s husband Peter sat with the school’s Principal, Vivian Taylor-Samudio and College Bound Advisor Ann Marano M.A., Ed. Another former Altrusa President, LaVone Arthur, Vice President of Integration at Scott White Baylor Health Care Systems, was Master of Ceremonies for the Scholarship event.

Advisor Marano spoke briefly about each girl’s achievement before they received a certificate awarding them a Reagan Lorenzen Community Service Scholarship. Friends and family members clapped and cheered, and a reception of punch, finger sandwiches and cake followed.

Altrusa International Inc. of Downtown Dallas is a community service club, which focuses on promoting literacy and helping women and children in crisis in the Downtown Dallas area.

The club meets twice a month on the 69th floor of the Bank of America Building on Main and Elm streets downtown.

Their annual “Dessert First” fund raising event is scheduled for October 23 in the 3015 Trinity Groves, Gulden Lane, Dallas, TX 75212.  For more information on the club see this site.

Awardees: GINA BOLANOS, CHANTAL CASTILLO, DAISY GARCIA, KARLA GUADALUPE GARCIA, AFRICA HERNANDEZ, YERANIA HERNANDEZ, KAREN MENDOZA, SALINA ROBINSON, DENISE SANDOVAL, ERIKA SOTO

IRMA L. RANGEL YWLS – CLASS OF 2014 AWARDEE PROFILES –

Written by College Bound Advisor Ann Morano, M.A. Ed.

 

GINA BOLANOS

Few students demonstrate her appetite for discovery; over the years she participated in camps and co-curricular activities that focus on community service, social justice, lacrosse and engineering. Had Gina Bolanos not been a student at the Irma L. Rangel YWLS, she would not have evolved into the spirited, hopeful, future focused college bound young woman she is today. Gina has learned how to self-advocate, to ask questions, to wrestle with concepts and issues and viewpoints which differ from her own. She has a terrific grasp on those non-cognitive skills we know are critical for success beyond high school. Gina is also among the most resilient, future focused students I have worked with. She committed herself to a high school career marked by STEAM experiences because she values the intersection of science and the creative process. Gina will enroll at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York this fall.

CHANTAL CASTILLO

Chantal told me once that one of the best things about having a “smart phone” was that “I can read the news on it!” Among her most used apps you will find CNN and other local and national news outlets.  Chantal is a comprehensive writer who looks forward to draft work and constructive criticism. Chantal has expressed an interest in health science but remains open-minded regarding her major. She believes that a foundation in the liberal arts and sciences is the best preparation for any profession. Chantal includes service in the Peace Corps and continued involvement with nonprofit agencies that benefit children and families in her long-term plans. I imagine she will make philanthropy a priority regardless of her career path. Chantal has evolved from a scrappy middle-schooler to a young woman who does her research, values community and seeks guidance from mentors. She calls the YMCA her second home and favorite “hanging out spot.” She and her family have been involved with programs for many years there and now Chantal works as a child attendant. Her plucky attitude and huge heart serve her well as she develops age appropriate activities for her young charges. She is keenly self aware and resolved to seek out experiences that challenge her academically, socially and emotionally because she knows that where challenge happens, growth happens.  Chantal will enroll in Saint Louis University in Saint Louis, Missouri this fall.

DAISY GARCIA

Though not overly extroverted, Daisy works well in teams and learns a great deal from interacting with classmates whose opinions and viewpoints differ from her own. Daisy appreciates debate and the exchange of ideas. She is a capable researcher. Her record of co-curricular involvement compliments her academic success. This promising young woman joined our LULAC (League of United American Citizens) chapter because she is particularly interested in empowering the underrepresented and working with civil rights issues. The LULAC group participates in several community service projects every year. Daisy will be the first in her family to graduate from high school and the first to go to college; she strives to be a role model and example for her sisters and extended family. Daisy will enroll in Baylor University this fall.

KARLA GUADALUPE GARCIA

Karla has balanced a rigorous college preparatory course of study with a full complement of co-curricular activities and serious commitment to her faith and family responsibilities. Her success is testament to her fantastic time and project management skills and ability to prioritize. Karla could team teach several of the courses she completed in high school; her love for the subject matter, fascination with finding out "more" and tendency to want to extend the conversation is unrivaled. She really loves learning across the disciplines. I've lost track of how many times she has popped into my office over the years to ask me, "Ms. Marano, did you know...?" She is quite bright and genuinely concerned with subject mastery and making interdisciplinary connections: she relishes problem solving and enjoys being stumped. Karla deliberately sought out summer enrichment experiences that would push her beyond her limits. I am proud of the way she challenged stereotypes and worked to overcome her own biases when involved with programs sponsored by the University of Toronto, the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard. Karla will enroll in the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill this fall.

AFRICA HERNANDEZ

Over the course of several hundred hours of service to her school and local community, Africa has come to understand that her voice has an impact and that she can make a difference. She has also stayed involved as a youth volunteer at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

An internship with Houlihan and Lokey, a global banking firm in Dallas, reinforced her already strong work ethic, time management and communication skills. This year Africa joined the School Zone Dallas reporting staff. This student-hosted television program reaches millions of viewers in North Texas. Africa and her team are responsible for all stages of production, starting with developing stories, research, planning, implementation and evaluation. The behind the scenes and on camera work have helped Africa to become a more confident student.  Africa will enroll at Texas Woman’s University this fall.

YERANIA HERNANDEZ

Yerania is most recognizable among her peers for her service to our Peer Assistance and Leadership program, student government, hours of community service – most recently at a hospice, dogged pursuit of scholastic excellence, independent spirit and steadfast approach to life. Yerania was one of 90 high school students invited to serve as a host and mentor for middle school students participating in the TEDxKids @SMU program. Yerania welcomed the opportunity to facilitate conversations about the array of topics covered at TEDxKids, to guide her small group through interacting with speakers, engaging with the art installations and experiencing multiple hands-on opportunities. Yerania’s instructors tell me she is an able researcher, gifted problem solver and effective writer. Yerania is a fan of empirical evidence and the scientific method, even in the humanities!  Although she achieves across academic disciplines she is intent on pursuing university studies in math and computer science. This accomplished young woman will bring her terrific mind, work ethic and trademark rapier wit to her next academic adventure and community. Yerania will enroll at Texas A&M University, College Station this fall.

KAREN MENDOZA

Karen’s long-term goals include a teaching credential and graduate degrees in education and social work. She sees both programs as essential to her battling illiteracy and effectively teaching both adults and children. Karen anticipates working internationally to empower students of all ages through access to a quality education. This vision makes her quite unique among her classmates and is one factor that earned her recognition as a Hispanic Heritage Foundation Youth Scholar; she was awarded the Dallas/Ft. Worth regional Gold Prize for Education this past December. Through our Peer Assistance and Leadership class Karen connected with Head Start programs and several Dallas ISD elementary schools. She has seen first hand the challenges today’s teachers and students face in the classroom and is determined to be an educator who approaches teaching from a “whole person” perspective. Her co-curricular resume compliments her academic record. An active member of our nationally recognized LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) chapter she helps keep several volunteer projects on track and motivates other students to get and stay involved. LULAC’s commitment to social justice issues, particularly educational access, political influence and civic engagement inspire her. Karen has completed hundreds of hours of community service with the chapter’s partner agencies. I am really impressed by her work with voter registration and getting out the vote.   Karen will enroll at Texas Woman’s University this fall.

SALINA ROBINSON

I am proud that Salina is open to exploring her major options in college; she laughs easily when describing herself as “open minded” rather than “undecided.” Though she is future focused and goal oriented Salina lives profoundly in the moment. She does not act impulsively, whether she is deciding on which colleges to apply to or how and when to jump into a spirited debate in class. She is a thoughtful and insightful student who tends to make interdisciplinary connections. Salina is especially sensitive regarding context and the influence of time and place on information. She does not learn information in a vacuum, nor does she content herself with just memorization and regurgitation; she strives to really understand and apply what she is learning. This mindset served her well as a member of our Philosophers’ and Book Clubs

Salina is an active member of our nationally recognized LULAC (the League of Latin American Citizens) chapter. Over the course of several hundred hours of service to her school and local community, Salina has come to understand that her voice has an impact and that she can make a difference. As a veteran of our Peer Assistance and Leadership course she mentors younger students and takes a greater role seeing a variety of community service projects to completion. She has been an enthusiastic student ambassador for prospective students and families. This spring she dazzled us all as a featured player in our UIL theatre production, “Daisy Pulls it Off.” Salina will enroll at UT Arlington this fall.

DENISE SANDOVAL

Last summer Denise emailed me from the Hunnicutt Future Educators Academy at Arizona State University to let me know how excited she was about going to college to become a teacher. Over the course of a week, her instincts about wanting to be an educator were validated. I've only worked with a handful of students over the last 25 years who were interested in being a teacher; few demonstrate Denise's genuine enthusiasm for the profession. Her eyes light up when she talks about having her own classroom. Denise has both "las ganas y exitos" - desire and goals. She is determined to positively impact the next generation through teaching and this sense of purpose will drive her to her degree.   The Hispanic Heritage Foundation recognized her in December with the DFW Regional Bronze Youth Award in Education. This affirms all that she has accomplished and all that she has yet to do as a teacher.  As a Junior Camp Counselor she interacted with the public, especially younger patrons, during various camps. Denise learned a great deal from these experiences on how to effectively communicate. Our Book Club moderator tells me that she always had something insightful to say and that her reflections were deeply personal. Denise is an animated storyteller whose child-eyed curiosity is admired by both faculty and peers. Denise will enroll in Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas this fall.

ERIKA SOTO

While Erika has favored math and science in preparation for undergraduate STEM studies, she is also quite talented in the humanities. Erika enjoys learning things in context and relationship to other concepts. She poses pointed questions and happily becomes the devil's advocate during class discussions. Every day Erika recommits herself to her goals; sometimes she conducts independent research, sometimes she is looking for additional ways to serve her community through our Peer Assistance and Leadership program or LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) organization. Erika values service learning and believes that this sort of work will make her a stronger, more well rounded professional. Her favorite projects involve those that impact women and children. Erika has been recognized for the "heart" she brings to her work by LULAC annually since 2010. From our conversations I have come to understand that she will use her career to improve quality of life. She is not focused on mere personal gain. Eschewing the spotlight, she has happily been a worker among workers, even when elected to positions of leadership – Class Vice President and LULAC officer, during her high school career. This fall Erika will enroll in Columbia University in New York.

 
Information provided by Judy Porter.
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