Cerritos College Foundation Awards Thousands In Scholarships
Students Benefit from the Generosity of Others
For Immediate Release: November 19, 2008
Media Contact:Lesley Wheeler, Public Affairs; (562) 860-2451, ext. 2287
NORWALK, Calif. - November 19, 2008 – The Cerritos College Foundation awarded $19,650 in scholarships to Cerritos College students at their November Board meeting on Thursday, including three $600 tool vouchers and $700 in recognition awards. A Kurzweil LearnStation was awarded, as well.
The college’s Cheryl A. Epple Board Room was filled to standing-room-only with donors, presenters, recipients and their families.
“It’s a great morning and makes so much of what we do worthwhile,” said Steve Richardson, executive director of the Cerritos College Foundation.
In all, 28 students were given awards made possible by the generosity of donors.
Among the organizations presenting scholarships were the Habib American Bank, Woman’s Club of Artesia-Cerritos, Norwalk Woman’s Club, and the Southland Motor Car Dealers Association (SMCDA). A number of scholarships awarded were established by private individuals, as well.
The Habib American Bank Business Scholarship, an award of $1000 each, was presented to Christopher Pineda of Monterey Park; James Lee of Buena Park; Woosuk Kim of Garden Grove; and Mona Abassi of Paramount, by Nadim Junejo, branch manager at Habib American Bank in Artesia. The scholarship is awarded to students who are declared business majors, have a 3.0 or above grade point average and who have completed a minimum of 12 units at Cerritos College.
The $1,000, Cheryl A. Epple Memorial Scholarship, was presented to Nigora Sharipova, of Norwalk, and Melissa Wakefield, of Anaheim, by Bob Epple, Cerritos College Trustee and husband of the late Cerritos College Trustee, Cheryl Epple. The scholarship was established in 2004 by Epple and his family to honor Cheryl and recognize students who are committed to service in the community.
“Thank you for supporting my education, as well as my future,” said Sharipova to Epple when he presented her with the scholarship.
Sharipova came to the United States from Tajikistan and would one day like to work for the United States State Department in international relations. She is currently living with a house mother that took her in when she came here as an exchange student while still in high school.
Another scholarship established by a long-time Cerritos College Board of Trustees member, the John Moore First Step Scholarship was presented by Moore to Karen Olvera, of Pico Rivera. This was the first time the First Step Scholarship was awarded. It was established by Moore, a now-retired 19-year member of the Board, to help first semester college students who show the promise of succeeding.
Moore grew up in south central Los Angeles and never imagined that he would go to college. He was lucky enough to be the recipient of a scholarship right out of high school that gave him the boost he needed. The scholarship is used to help others like him.
Woman’s Club of Artesia-Cerritos member, Joanne Witt, presented the $750 Woman’s Club of Artesia-Cerritos Marguerite Phares Scholarships to Diana Gregory, of Lakewood; Jivka Rousseva, of Long Beach; and Jamilia Garcia, of Bellflower. The scholarship is for female students re-entering the academic world.
Witt also presented the $500 E. Maude West Scholarship to Billie Wilson, of Lakewood, who started attending Cerritos College after a work injury left her unable to do her job. She is currently working towards her master’s in construction management. The scholarship was established by long-time Artesia resident E. Maude West, who was renowned in the community for her charitable work and her commitment to women's issues and the pursuit of educational goals.
Additionally, Witt presented Monique Barnett, of Los Angeles, with the $750 Ellen Carver Re-Entry Scholarship that was established by the Woman’s Club of Artesia-Cerritos in memory of club member Ellen Carver.
“When I first came back to school I almost couldn’t stay because I couldn’t afford my books,” said Barnett when Witt presented her with the Carver scholarship.
Barnett was also one of the recipients of the $1,000 Jean O. Michael Scholarships that were awarded Thursday.
Jean Michael, wife of retired Cerritos College President Dr. Wilford Michael, presented Barnett and Stephanie Fernandez, of Riverside, with the scholarship that was established in her honor by her children. The scholarship is for re-entry women that are majoring in business.
Since they started the scholarship in 2000, the Michael family has given a total of 14 $1,000 scholarships to Cerritos College students.
Agnes Eyong, a native from Cameroon who now lives in Downey, received the Carmen Solis Pratt Re-Entry Scholarship, a $1400 award, presented by Judge Dan Pratt. The scholarship was established by Judge Pratt in memory of his mother who valued education, but was never able to attend college herself.
“This scholarship honors students in whom I see my mother’s sense of initiative and drive,” said Pratt. “I look for where it [the scholarship] will make the biggest impact and try to take the pressure off for one year so they don’t have to worry about tuition or books.”
Eyong got some more help with completing her educational goals with a $500 scholarship from the Norwalk Woman’s Club, who annually gives the award to a female Cerritos College re-entry student.
“It’s really a challenge for me to be here at Cerritos College because it’s expensive,” Eyong said when she was awarded with the scholarship. “The scholarships are helping me.”
The Golden Girls Scholarship is another scholarship that was first awarded this year. It was established by five women who wanted to help female re-entry students. The “golden girls” decided that instead of spending money on birthday and Christmas gifts for one another they would instead put $25 into a scholarship fund.
Golden Girl Betty McDougall presented Jivka Rousseva, of Long Beach, with the $750 award. Rousseva is a full-time student, as well as a full-time single mother of her son, Christopher, reminded McDougall of herself.
“She was special to me because I came to this country at 19 and it was a hard adjustment, but coming here on your own with a child is even harder,” said McDougall.
Administration of Justice faculty member, John Collins, presented the Robert W. Collins Scholarship for Administration of Justice Students to Leslie Almanza, of Norwalk, who received a $500 award. Almanza, who is expecting with her first child, wants to become a deputy sheriff and is currently a member of the Army Reserves.
Additionally, Myriam Inzunza of Montebello; Charles Rockwell of Norwalk; Fabiola Zamarripa of Bell; Vanessa Hack of Lakewood; Jose Garcia of Long Beach; Adela Garcia of Bellflower; and Jonathan Valle of Bellflower, each received $100 in recognition awards.
This scholarship was established in memory of John Collins’ father Robert W. Collins, a veteran of World War II and the Korean War, who rose through the ranks to become chief of police for the City of Monterey Park.
Executive Director of the Cerritos College Foundation, Steve Richardson, presented Velvin Atkins, of Long Beach, with the $500 Broderick/Commeford Scholarship that was established by Cerritos College reading professor, Dr. William Broderick, and named in memory of Broderick and his father-in-law.
“I want to change my life,” said Atkins as he received the award. He continued on to read a poem that expressed his feelings of gratitude.
Todd Leutheuser, executive director of the Southland Motor Car Dealers Association (SMCDA) and Program Center Manager of Northwood University on the Cerritos College campus, presented the $1000 SMCDA Northwood 3rd Year Scholarship to Christopher Pineda of Monterey Park. This award assists Cerritos College students who have completed their first two years in automotive technology training and are pursuing their bachelor’s degree through Northwood University’s program.
Leutheuser also presented Vincent Gonzales of Cerritos; Jesus Salazar of Bellflower; and Jason Simpson, of Downey, with the SMCDA Automotive Technology Scholarship, which gives a $600 Tool Voucher to automotive technology students. Automotive techs usually need to have their own tools which can exceed $30,000. This scholarship allows its recipients to get a jump-start on their toolbox.
Sue Parsons, director of the Cerritos College Teacher Training Academy (Teacher TRAC), presented Sendy Mondragon, of Hawaiian Gardens, with the Guadalupe Sanchez de Hernandez Teacher TRAC Scholarship that was established in memory of Hernandez. This scholarship is awarded to a non-native English speaker newly admitted into the Teacher TRAC program.
Lastly, the Assistive Learning Scholarship was presented to 54-year-old, Lawrence Anthony Weathers, by Mary Hunt, Cerritos College Disabled Student Programs and Services (DSPS) central intake and services specialist.
Weathers, who had two strokes in 2003 and came back to school as a computer science major in 2006, received a Kurzweil LearnStation that will allow him to burn his textbooks onto CDs so he can learn by listening, instead of by reading, the long text of computer science books.
“I can still learn even though it’s taken me awhile,” said an emotional Weathers. “This is the best gift ever.”
The Cerritos College Foundation, a non-profit organization, serves as a charitable vehicle for the community, individuals and alumni, to assist with financial support of Cerritos College beyond that which state funding supports. Visit the Foundation online at www.cerritos.edu/ccf.
Cerritos College serves as a comprehensive community college for southeastern Los Angeles County. Communities within the college’s district include Artesia, Bellflower, Cerritos, Downey, Hawaiian Gardens, La Mirada, Norwalk, and portions of Bell Gardens, Lakewood, Long Beach, Santa Fe Springs and South Gate. Cerritos College offers degrees and certificates in more than 180 areas of study in nine divisions. Annually, more than 1,200 students successfully complete their course of studies, and enrollment currently averages nearly 24,000 students. Visit Cerritos College online at http://www.cerritos.edu/.