Igniting Young Minds

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Congratulations to the four exceptional Seattle students selected at the Associated of Washington Cities (AWC), Center for Quality Communities scholarship.  Today, at the AWC conference in Wenatchee, WA, I was impressed by these young leaders who reminded me of possibility and gave me a glimpse into a future of heightened civic engagement.

The scholarships constitute a great example of a donor-driven program, and I’m thrilled that Seattle was able contribute leftover funding from the National League of Cities conference to support the scholarships for the four Seattle students:

Dagmawit Kemal plans to focus her education and career on political science and broadcast journalism.

Over the past year, she was actively involved with Washington Bus, a non-profit organization that gets youth civically engaged.  When Proposition 1 was put on the ballot in King County, stopping bus cuts, Dagmawit and others got involved, making calls encouraging young voters to vote.

Olesya Mironchuk strives to become a cardiologist because of the dual nature of medicine: human compassion and scientific practices. Olesya has volunteered over 280 hours at hospitals, seeing the impact of mental illness and in the community and limited low-cost walk-in clinics in Seattle. This led her to apply and go through the rigorous application process to become a member of the Seattle Foundation’s Youth Grantmaking Board.

Tin Vo plans to become an electrical engineer. Tin helps teach at the Vietnamese Language & Cultural School, were he once was a student himself. As a young child, he says his life was enriched and enhanced by people who dedicated their time to grounding and teaching him in his culture.

Jalen Wright also wants to become an engineer.  In his sophomore year, he was offered a job as a Student Advisor with Rainier Scholars, a non-profit organization that helps low-income minority children go to and graduate from college. Rainier Scholars transforms children into leaders by guiding them through an extremely rigorous 14-month academic enrichment program. Jalen had been through the program himself, but as an advisor, he helped mold 11 advisees one summer.

I was honored to be part of the awards program and recognizing these Seattle students for making a difference and their communities.