Press Releases: Southern California
May 19, 2010
Kaiser Permanente Watts Counseling and Learning Center Awards Scholarships to Outstanding South Los Angeles Student Leaders
LOS ANGELES — Twenty students who are already proving themselves to be leaders — graduating first in their class, completing school a year early and even achieving a 4.33 grade point average, all while volunteering time to improve their communities — have been named by the Kaiser Permanente Watts Counseling and Learning Center as recipients of the 2010 Bill Coggins Community Leadership Scholarship Award.
An audience of nearly 300 in attendance at the 38th Annual Pursuit of Excellence Dinner applauded the students who had not only successfully overcome challenges at home and at school, but also gave of their time and talents to make a positive impact on their communities. Benjamin Chu, MD, president of Kaiser Permanente Southern California Region, commended the students as role models and said, “Each step is an opportunity to a pathway of remarkable accomplishments.”
The diverse group of students, whose cumulative grade point average is in the 3.6 range, has already accomplished much, and several will be the first in their families to attend college. “I am always amazed and gratified by the great mentoring, advocacy and community work these determined young men and women have completed,” said Joanne A. Robinson, MEd, executive director for the Kaiser Permanente Watts Counseling and Learning Center. “Academically, they are also outstanding and we are pleased to be able to support their educational goals.”
The Center awarded $23,500 in scholarships (named in honor of Bill Coggins, the founding director of the Center) ranging from $500 to $2,000, to college-bound students who have demonstrated leadership skills and a dedication to community service.
The $2,000 winners (by school) are: Gustavo Alvarez and Ruben Garcia from Jordan New Technology High School; Ryan Barner, from King Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science; Cindy Cornejo, from Thomas Riley High School, and Rodrigo Morales, from Verbum Dei High School.
The $1,000 scholarship recipients include: Jasmine Angulo and Stephany Bravo from Centennial High School; Areli Canales, Sasha Jones, and Janisa Quiñones from David Starr Jordan High School; Elizabeth Perez from Heritage College Ready Academy High School; Kayla Brown, Ariella Carrion, Karina Cervantes and Ant’Quinette Jackson from King Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science; Hylda Salazar from Locke Launch to College Academy #1; and Karla Gasca from South East High School.
The $500 recipients are: Markeith Page from Animo Locke High School #2; and Moises Gamino and Karla Garcia from Youth Opportunities High School.
2010 Bill Coggins Community Service Leadership Award $2,000 recipients are:
- Gustavo Alvarez, Jordan New Tech High School
Gustavo Alvarez will be attending Cal State Northridge in the fall. Ranking first in his class, Gustavo has taken it upon himself to tutor and encourage his peers. Gustavo has also served as an intern in youTHink, an organization that provides Los Angeles students the opportunity to collaborate and educate their communities about important civic issues, and worked with the Watts Labor Community Action Coalition to bring attention to the census. Gustavo’s experiences have ignited in him a fire for community improvement.
- Cindy Cornejo, Thomas Riley High School
Cindy Cornejo will be attending California State Northridge in the fall. Cindy is so motivated to succeed in her studies that she is graduating high school a year early and will become the first in her family to attend college. Besides being a young mother, Cindy has also been actively involved in student leadership as class treasurer, balancing the budget and overseeing expenses for all extracurricular activities.
- Ryan Barner, King Drew Medical Magnet High School
Ryan Barner will be attending University of Southern California in the fall. Inspired by her grandmother’s struggle with diabetes, Ryan hopes to pursue a career in biomedical engineering. Ryan is active with California Scholarship Federation, Girls Inc., peer mediation and is varsity captain of the cheerleading team. She also participated in the Los Angeles AIDS walk and volunteered at the Harbor/UCLA Medical Center. Ryan is most proud of her work as a college peer counselor.
- Ruben Garcia, Jordan New Tech High School
Ruben Garcia will be attending California State University Dominquez Hills in the fall. Ruben began his volunteer work at Freedom Christian Center where he planned fundraiser events for the community. He then founded a music club at his school by promoting it with solo performances. As the club grew, it became integral to putting together school-wide talent shows. Ruben’s persistence helped him secure guitars so that he could also teach his students.
- Rodrigo Morales, Verbum Dei High School
Rodrigo Morales will be attending University of California, Irvine in the fall. As lead student ambassador, Rodrigo organized meetings and represented the interests of his peers at events like Peace Jam. Through his corporate work-study program, Rodrigo has also been able to learn about what it’s like to work in a professional setting.
About the Kaiser Permanente Watts Counseling and Learning Center
For more than 40 years, the Center has offered free or low-cost counseling, educational therapy, middle and high school outreach programs, and preschool for families living in the greater Watts area. The families need not be members of Kaiser Permanente to take advantage of the Center’s services.
About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 3.3 million members in Southern California. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: www.kp.org/newscenter.