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Beacon Hill middle schoolers honored as Mayor’s Scholars

April 30th, 2009 at 4:28 am | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Several local middle school students have been chosen for Mayor’s Scholars Awards for service to their schools and communities. Criteria for selection include overcoming obstacles or meeting challenges, giving back to the community, and maintaining good academic standing. To compete for the award, students wrote essays about how they contribute to the community, and how they would use the cash award. In addition, they provided recommendations from adults familiar with their service work.

Each winner will receive $500 that can be used for education or donated to a charity, and a Mayor’s Scholar letter jacket.

Gizelle Gando, an 8th grade student at Mercer MS, volunteers at church as an altar server, sets up the parish hall for special events, and helps her younger brother with his reading. Gizelle’s favorite subjects are science and math. Last summer, through the Technology Access Foundation, she learned how to start and successfully manage a business. About college, Gizelle says, “My goal is to go to college to get that very special treasure — an education — a treasure that no one can take away from you.”

Daniel Gonzalez learned how to fix bikes and continues to do so at Bikeworks, a group that donates bikes to foster kids. Learning this skill has fostered his interest in an engineering career. He understands that a college education willl help him improve his family’s lives. As the oldest son in a fatherless household, Daniel has assumed many responsibilities, including translating for his mother and grandmother. A 6th grade student at Mercer MS, Danny is a mentor at his brother’s elementary school where he helps other kids learn to read.

An 8th grade student at Mercer MS, Adriana Meraz-Gonzalez is in a motivational youth group called Latino Dream, which encourages all students to avoid negativity and better themselves. Adriana presented a resolution to the School Board on behalf of undocumented students that choose higher education and, because of her testimony, the school board passed that resolution. She met with local District Representatives to share her ideas on solutions to immigration, student struggles and youth violence/gang involvement issues. Adriana said she has faced a lot of racism which has fueled her educational pursuits.

A 6th grade student at The New School @ Columbia, Jessica Walters shows leadership by singlehandedly organizing a 6th grade dance and donating the proceeds to charity. She helps other students and participates in an after school program and church choir. Jessica dreams of becoming a singer/songwriter and recognizes the importance of education to help with her goal. Jessica’s teacher says, “She has dealt with every obstacle society can throw at her and still maintains a sunny disposition and always does her best work in school.”

Congratulations to Gizelle, Daniel, Adriana, and Jessica!

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