By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
The Oklahoma City Community Foundation (OCCF) will hold a Scholars Luncheon on Friday, April 7 to honor 193 graduating seniors from 52 Oklahoma high schools.
The 2017 Scholars Luncheon will honor Community Foundation Scholars and New Opportunities Scholars. Students will receive $386,000 in scholarships through the Community Foundation Scholars Program.
The luncheon. will begin at 11:30 a.m. at the OCCF offices at 1000 N. Broadway Ave. in Oklahoma City. The scholarships are a portion of more than $1.6 million that the OCCF will award to students across Oklahoma this year alone.
Miguel Chavez is a student at Western Heights High School in southwest Oklahoma City. He is one of 101 scholarship recipients who will be the first in their families to attend college.
A son of Mexican immigrants, Chavez grew up in poverty and says the free school lunches were often the best meal he would have all day. Despite many obstacles he was determined to do well in school and obtain a college education.
Today Chavez works a part-time job to help support his family while pursuing a variety pf school and community activities. He is a student athlete, Rotary Youth Leadership, Upward Bound participant, Youth Leadership Oklahoma graduate, and student council president. “Through my experiences, I quickly realized I’d have to start being exceedingly proactive if I wanted to change the circumstances that encompassed my life,” said Chavez. “My obstacles have not only cultivated the entrepreneurial spirit within me, but have also caused my sense of empathy to blossom, inspiring me to use the knowledge, life lessons, and skills I’ve acquired to make a positive impact in the world around me.”
Chavez has received several other scholarships, including bring named one of the 150 Coca-Cola Scholars nationwide.
“Miguel has become a real leader in our school,” said Bonnie Wood, Western Heights counselor. “His positive influence has really helped to change our culture.”
The Community Foundation Scholars program offers graduating seniors from 52 central Oklahoma high schools the opportunity to apply for scholarships.
Students who may not be at the top of their class academically, but are good students and are active in their communities along with. students who will be the first in their family to attend college may apply.
Each recipient will receive a $2,000 award for the 2017-2018 academic year. “Since 1998, our Community Foundation Scholars program has awarded $3.3 million in scholarships to 2,221 students in central Oklahoma,” said Nancy B. Anthony, Oklahoma City Community Foundation President. “This is just one component of our scholarship program that continues to grow each year thanks to the support of many generous donors.”
To guarantee student eligibility for the awards, each school’s guidance counselor must participate in the Central Oklahoma Guidance Counselor Network. This free program provides training opportunities on college admissions and financial aid practices.
Founded in 1969, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity that works with donors throughout the state to create charitable funds that will benefit our community both now and in the future.
For more information about the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, including a list of available scholarships, visit www.occf.org.