2007 Scholars

Janice Andrade

Janice Andrade

Life Academy

My mom’s death has inspired me to stay strong, work hard, and enjoy my life the way she would have wanted me to. Growing up was very difficult because while I had to do homework, I also had to take care of my mom. I had to feed, clean and bathe her regularly. I was not able to enjoy my childhood the way others did. I have realized that my responsibilities have helped me become a stronger person. This experience will help me in the long run with college and gaining independence in my life.

“When it comes to her schoolwork, Janice focuses on MASTERY not just completion. I believe her sheer enthusiasm for learning will carry her to great success.”

Erik Rice, Principal
Life Academy of Health and Bioscience

Michael Bradley
Michael Bradley 



Michael Bradley:  McClymonds – BEST;  Cal PolyGrowing up, I found education to be a hard pill to swallow. There were so few role models in my life that had pursued higher education. At home, we had begun to fall on hard times. We were in and out of motels and I remember circling the block multiple times so that my friends would not figure out where I lived because it was shameful. One day I decided that I wouldn’t let something as small as where I lived and what people thought of me pull me down. With the right help I knew anything was possible.

“Michael has a very calm and stable aura about him. Under pressure he is able to prioritize and keep his ultimate goals in mind.”

Pavel Vanegas, College Advisor
McClymonds – U C. Berkeley College & Career

Charise Earlington
Charise Earlington 



Charise Earlington:  Castlemont – EOSA; Norfolk State UniversityI have lived all of my life as a ward of the court. I’ve faced and overcome many hardships. I was classified early on as a Special ed. student. However, since first grade I have been regarded as one of the brightest students. It really hurt me that I would be classified as a student needing a special education just because I was born to a drug-addicted mother. I constantly strive to prove stereotypes wrong. I’ve learned that it’s not about what you’ve experienced, but the lessons you learn and how you use them to make you a better person.

“She does not let setbacks she has experienced in life hold her back from pursuing her dreams. She gives her all to everything and never makes excuses for herself based on what she did or did not have growing up.”

Erin Carlson, Teacher
Castlemont – East Oakand School of the Arts

Mechan Earls
Mechan Earls 



Mechan Earls:  Castlemont Leadership Prep High School;  Redlands University

Growing up in a household where my parents were in and out of my life has been hard, but the lessons I learned helped me become the person I am today. Other family support, my grandmother and great uncle, helped guide me. My determination has led me to join Upward Bound and College Track which helped me with life choices. Now that my parents are back in my life, their dream is to see me go to college and I have always wanted the opportunity to do what they could not.

“Mechan is one of the top students I have encountered. She works hard every single day, always participates, is an attentive listener and is not afraid of a challenge.”

Linda Corredera-Mayordomo, Teacher
Castlemont Leadership Prep

Henry Grant
Henry Grant 



Henry Grant:  Oakland High School;  Colgate University
This summer I had an amazing opportunity to intern for Congresswoman Barbara Lee. This internship was very meaningful because it reconfirmed my desire to be a politician and conveyed to me how much I have to give to my country. I received a case about the janitorial staff at UC Berkeley. That case showed me the power that public officials have to change things for the common man and woman. It also became clear to me that you have to be a well-rounded person to be a public official.

“Henry is interested in trying to create a more accepting and culturally-aware student body, and has had a tremendously positive impact on his campus through his work in this regard.”

Barbara Lee
Member of Congress

José Guerrero
José Guerrero 



José Guerrero:   Life Academy;  UC Santa Cruz
I am a very passionate person; once there is something that grabs my attention I go for it, throwing caution to the wind. When I realized how much I loved writing and making films, it was the first time I really felt inspired. By creating my films I am not just advocating for others, but for my siblings. I want to create a better educational and social environment for them. I hope to be a filmmaker who raises awareness and serves to give a voice to people who otherwise would never be heard.

“Jose’s strongest academic assets are his consistency in his work and his concern about the world he lives in.”

Scott Boswell, Factory Director
Bay Area Video Coalition

Ana Guzmán
Ana Guzmán 



Ana Guzmán:  Skyline High School; San Francisco State
I had a very difficult childhood. My mother put me in a Karate school because of my bad attitude/behavior. It taught me to be patient, not to give up and to work hard for one’s goals. Now…I want to change what I thought once was my destiny, to be uneducated. I know now that my destiny is to follow my dream…to become the first person in my family to go to college. I want to make everyone proud of me but most importantly to make myself proud.

“Ana is courteous, a person of integrity, has self control and a spirit not to be dominated by the pressures of everyday life.”

Ernest Leon Frohm III, Martial Arts Instructor
Frohm’s Martial Arts

Courtney Lewis
Courtney Lewis 



Courtney Lewis:   Emery Secondary School;  University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Growing up in Oakland gives you two choices; hang out on the streets, and become a statistic, or go to college and become successful. My mom would always tell us the importance of tappng into our “personal power”, and to always put ourselves in the position to “decide and not have decision made for us.” Once I finish college and accomplish my goals, I want to come back to Oakland to reach out to the next generation and tell them that it is okay to chase dreams. That’s the only way to make them come true.

“Courtney is a soft-spoken young lady who has demonstrated a strong inclination to academic achievement. She is hardworking, disciplined, compassionate and articulate.”

Lesia Whitehurst, Teacher
Emery Secondary School

Francisco Martín del Campo
Francisco Martín del Campo 




Francisco Martín del Campo:   Oakland Technical High School;  Columbia University
I was a very lonely kid. I was probably the least popular kid in elementary school. I was the smartest kid, the white boy and no one every let me forget it. I was pretty resigned to the fact that life would never get better. Then I went to my cousin’s amazing wedding. It had been the best day of my life. I saw black people and white people dancing together with no consciousness of race. Everyone was family, and for someone who thought that his middle name was “white boy.” It meant a lot.

“Paco is articulate, insightful and an exceptional young person. He is more than mature enough, open enough and smart enough to succeed in college.”

Darrick Smith, Teacher
Oakland Technical – TRYUMF

Deashla Miller
Deashla Miller 




Deashla Miller:   McClymonds — Excel;  Holy Names University
For as far back as I can remember, I have wanted to be in some kind of profession that allows me to help others. Living in a society where there is constant negativity and violence has shown me that I can be different and make a change by not being part of the problem, but the solution. I will be the first in my family to go to college and that makes me and my family so proud. That is something that I promised my father before he passed on.

“Deashla is an extraordinary young person who has exemplified remarkable standards of professionalism, motivation, and dedication for other students to follow.”

Catherine West, Faces for the Future Program Coordinator
Children’s Hospital Oakland

Elisa Ortega-Enriquez
Elisa Ortega-Enriquez 




Elisa Ortega-Enriquez:   Skyline High School;  UC Berkeley
Being the oldest out of four has been hard and challenging, to become a role model, a second mother and a leader. My desire for learning became stronger every time I saw my mother and my sisters struggling. I have managed to keep up my grades and give my family one hundred percent support. I have dedicated 3 years to Summer Search because it has truly helped me to grow and has motivated me. I will make my culture and my family proud. I will raise my head high, and start a new generation with women who are educated and strong.

“Living in an environment where success is rare and dreams are deferred for a Latina, Elisa stands out among her peers in all aspects.”

Cristina Ramirez, Program Director
Summer Search, San Francisco

Nancy Rodriguez-Piceno
Nancy Rodriguez-Piceno 






Nancy Rodriguez-Piceno:   Fremont-Media Academy;  San Jose State University
When I was very young, I grew up without the love of a father and also without a mom. Later, I came to the United States and everything was completely different. Everything in my past has provided me with the strength to be independent, responsible, and to learn how to survive. I became open-minded, and I definitely learned how to deal with change. I want to get a higher education, set a positive example to my younger brothers…to be their role model so they can take advantage of better opportunities.

“I have seen this young girl blossom into a caring adult capable of making an impact in her world, on behalf of her community.”

Michael Jackson, Director
The Media Academy, Media College Prep H.S.

Leslie Santiago
Leslie Santiago 




Leslie Santiago:  MetWest High School;  San Francisco State
By going to college, I will be breaking the expectations that society has set up for youth, particularly for young Latinas. By going to college, I will be able to work against this injustice. I am committed to becoming an educator and an activist who will work with youth to help them change their future. I think about my mom and look back at all the struggles she went through for me and my sister to get us where we are now. She is my motivation and my inspiration to become successful in life.

“Leslie feels injustices deeply and brings an academic’s rigor to investigating the causes and effects of situations that move her…youth, unempowered communities, unsafe communities and education.”

Devon Lake, Advisor
MetWest High School

Donald Smith
Donald Smith 




Donald Smith:  Castlemont — CBITS;  UC Santa Cruz
As an aspiring young artist I strive for perfection. I have overcome many personal obstacles in my high school career to get me to where I am today: a responsible adult, with a strong work ethic and an undying sense of determination. I put my work ethic into my favorite pastime and into my prospective career of drawing comic books. I see education as a way to escape the “underachieving” curse that has plagued my family for four generations. I want to be the first member of my family to graduate from college.

“Donald never ceases to impress me with his creativity, range of knowledge, individuality and his ability to stand tall amongst his peers, both figuratively and literally.”

Dan Fisher, Advisor
Mills Educational Talent Search

Amari Washington
Amari Washington 




Amari Washington:  Life Academy;  UC Berkeley
Life Academy helped me see that I cannot depend on others to make me happy. I learned that I needed to be more independent. Changing high schools was a big challenge for me. My goal was to stay focused and accomplish all of the goals that I set for myself, like getting and maintaining my 4.0 GPA, being open to meeting new people, and taking on more responsibilities so that I wouldn’t have a problem with multi-tasking. Even though I was experiencing struggles, I was able to accomplish those goals,

“Amari is a leader on campus. She never needs to be told what to do. She always takes the initiative to find out and do things on her own.”

Maria Formico, College Advisor
East Bay Consortium/Cal-Soap