Kennedy-King recognizes students

Ten LMC students awarded

Alex Camilli , @A_Carnation

Adversity is prevalent in an academic setting and in life, those who persevere against the odds deserve to be distinguished. And that is exactly what the Kennedy-King Memorial College Scholarship Fund strives to accomplish.  

The Kennedy-King Memorial Fund was founded in 1968 in memory of the late President John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Since then, almost $4.5 million in scholarship funds have been awarded to about 776 students. On Saturday, March 25, 2019, seventy-five students were interviewed in the Contra Costa Community College District to potentially be awarded a $10 thousand scholarship.

Twenty-five of the students interviewed were selected to earn the scholarship fund, 10 of which were Los Medanos students. To be considered, students must achieve and maintain academic excellence while remaining dedicated to their community.

The organization is all-volunteer and over 90 percent of all contributions go strictly toward the students who make it through the interview process. For students who undergo graduate study, the Kennedy-King Foundation also offers a scholarship of $5 thousand. Some of the questions asked of the students selected pertain to potential difficulties they may have encountered while pursuing their education.

LMC Student Christian Sevillano heard about the Kennedy-King Scholarship through friends who had received it in the past. His parents immigrated from El Salvador and took whatever jobs they could to stay afloat. Sevillano majors in Mechanical Engineering, and is pursuing a career in aerospace or defense systems.  

Through the mock interviews provided by LMC faculty, he felt confident by the time he faced the Kennedy-King interviewers. The schools Sevillano plans on attending are UC Davis or San Francisco State University, issuing a reassuring sentiment to those having difficulty achieving a higher education.

“I believe with the right mindset, careful budgeting and planning, and taking advantage of every opportunity such as this scholarship, anyone can make going into higher education possible,” said Sevillano. “The Kennedy-King scholarship has allowed me to look further into my future education with less of a financial burden.”

Celeste Morales is a first-generation college who will be attending Cal State East Bay in the fall. She saw the 20 minute interview as an opportunity to further her academic journey as a Recreational Youth Development major. Morales is an associate of the City of Antioch’s Recreation Department and intends to guide her community in the future.

As a first-generation scholar, she was forced to learn the minutiae of a collegiate setting with little guidance. Through the experience, she’s grown to meet the expectations in order to reach her objective.  

“My goal is to provide programs and opportunities to those of low-income, minority and [those] with disabilities,” said Morales.  

Scholar Azi Carter has not let tragic events in the past affect her academic feats completing an AA in Theater Acting, Communications and Journalism and Liberal Arts Degree in Humanities and Arts. She endured alcohol and drug addiction, childhood molestation and domestic abuse viewing those experiences as tools in her journey to help women and people of color in the recovery community.

Carter is a first-generation college student, coming from a family where her grandparents were sharecroppers and a mother who was a domestic worker and picked cotton. Carter’s experience with her mother’s illiteracy, made her realize the value in higher education. Carter now majors in Media Studies at the University of California Berkeley that is made possible through the Kennedy-King Scholarship Fund.

Carter has been a proactive member of society inside and outside the classroom, visiting jails and institutions to convey the message of hope. She now has grandchildren in college, indicative of her lasting impact on her family.

“Journalism and Communications are my passion, loving to write and report, being a voice in the community as an agent for social change and restorative justice,” said Carter.  

The Kennedy-King Foundation Scholarship Fund has been a great to many aid disadvantaged students. The scholarship will again be available next spring.