O'Melveny & Myers LLP to Honor 2011 Warren Christopher ScholarsJune 08, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sonja Steptoe Julie Fei
O’Melveny & Myers LLP O’Melveny & Myers LLP
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LOS ANGELES, CA ─ JUNE 8, 2011 ─ The Warren Christopher Scholarship Committee has again selected 10 promising, economically challenged students from Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) high schools to receive the 2011 Warren Christopher Scholarships. The scholarship awards ceremony, which is hosted by O'Melveny & Myers LLP and is open to the members of the media, will be held on Friday, June 10, starting at 11:30am at the Los Angeles Central Public Library, 630 W. Fifth Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071.
The 18-year-old scholarship program named in honor of the former US Secretary of State and former Chairman of O’Melveny & Myers LLP, who passed away on March 18, 2011, will be a lasting memorial to Mr. Christopher, a tireless champion of higher education opportunities for disadvantaged students. The Christopher Scholarship program represents a commitment by O'Melveny & Myers to these exceptional high school students to support them during their college careers, and is managed by the Christopher Scholarship Committee and the California Community Foundation in Los Angeles. To date, the Program has awarded 148 exceptional LAUSD students with four-year college scholarships.
While most scholarships are awarded to students in their senior year of high school, the Christopher Scholarship program is unique in recognizing rising academic stars in the tenth grade. The goal of the program is to motivate the Scholars to excel throughout high school—despite often crushing adversity—and to attend and graduate from college. The Scholars use the scholarship funds to pay college tuition and for other educational expenses.
Many of the Scholars have attended high schools with exceptionally high drop-out rates or have lived in homeless shelters, foster care, or circumstances ravaged by drugs, violence, and extreme poverty. Despite these adversities, the Scholars have all graduated high school, and all but four have gone on to attend and graduate from the country’s most prestigious universities, including Yale, MIT, Brown, Duke, Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, and almost all of the UC schools. Many Scholars are now teachers, public servants, doctors, and lawyers. Many remained close to Mr. Christopher and spoke fondly of the impact his life and this scholarship had on their own.
Notable guests and speakers at this year’s event include Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles City Council President and several past Christopher scholars, one of whom will honor Mr. Christopher's legacy at the ceremony.
Here are profiles of the 2011 Warren Christopher Scholars:
Despite losing both of her parents, Nancy Brito has triumphed over great despair to become a student that teachers at Narbonne High School consider “honest, compassionate, hard-working, cheerful, and intellectually curious.” As Vice President of the Best Buddies Program, she works with special needs students. A gifted vocalist and member of the Acapella Club, Nancy also enjoys singing with her church choir and working as a volunteer assistant with first communion children. “Doing community service fills me with joy and is part of who I am,” she explains. After high school, Nancy hopes to attend UC Berkeley, majoring in either Performing Arts or Architecture.
An Edward Roybal High School sophomore, Alan Carrillo came to the United States knowing no English but with a determination to succeed at any cost. Now, just five years later, Alan is at the top of his class—the result, say his teachers, of a strong work ethic and sense of responsibility uncommon among his peers. He voluntarily attended summer school last year to earn extra course credits. Not only does Alan take self-improvement seriously, he also helps his community through his work with Young Senators, City Heroes, and an AIDS help center in Hollywood. His mission now is to become the first in his family to attend college, where he plans to study Engineering Technology and eventually start a business with his brothers.
LaTroy Gates has experienced a number of life challenges and exemplifies resiliency. The Middle College High School sophomore has succeeded academically, athletically, and personally while coping with everchanging living arrangements and surviving being struck by a car while riding his bike. Described as diligent, passionate, hard-working, and driven, LaTroy maintains a high GPA, takes Honors classes, and plays on the varsity basketball and track teams. He is a community volunteer as well, currently working with a group planting trees in the inner city. He has set his sights on applying to Compton Airport’s Tuskegee Airmen Aviation Program and learning to fly. LaTroy hopes to study Engineering in college.
Because of her outstanding record at South Gate High School, Sophomore Class President Maricarmen Hernandez has earned several distinctions, including a listing on the Principal’s High Honor Roll for the past two years and membership on the Academic Decathlon Team. The daughter of El Salvadoran and Mexican immigrants, Maricarmen also excels in athletics at South Gate, where she was a decorated member of the junior varsity squad and now plays with the varsity team. Known as humble and kind, she is a tireless Key Club volunteer at South Gate Park, Greenfield Senior Care Center, San Miguel Elementary, and the Salvation Army. Maricarmen hopes to attend UCLA and pursue a degree in Administration of Justice.
Honor Roll student Jasmin Jones rises early each morning to catch a bus from her neighborhood in downtown LA to Tarzana’s Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies, where she is highly regarded in her Honors and AP classes. As Co-Captain of the varsity cheer squad, Jasmin has demonstrated a gift for both leadership and choreography. She applies these qualities to her volunteer work with youngsters in the Junior Cheer Program and at the Culver City Ice Arena, helping them develop confidence and perseverance. Among her many goals, Jasmin hopes to be the first in her family to attend college, where she plans to pursue her interest in Fiber Science—a discipline that applies science, technology, and design to the study of textiles and apparel design.
Although it has been an uphill battle for Sang-Yoon Kim and his family since arriving in the US 10 years ago, he has shown courage and diligence. He learned to read, write, and communicate in English and has become a top student at the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies. Described by his principal as someone who “faces challenges with confidence and overcomes difficulties with honor,” Sang-Yoon is a member of the Honor Roll and received a President’s Education Award last year. He also teaches violin in the Harmony Project Mentor Program, organizes hiking and camping trips through the UCLA WALL program, and assists at his church. Sang-Yoon plans to attend Harvard and study biology and genetics.
Gardena High School’s Andrea Mosqueda is an achievement-oriented and spirited scholar athlete whose academic performance has put her at the top of her class. A willing volunteer with an outgoing personality, Andrea spends her time away from the classroom serving on Gardena High’s Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Task Force and its Asian American Drug Abuse Program, and competing on the school’s varsity tennis, soccer and softball teams. Improving as an athlete, she says, will demonstrate her versatility. Teachers call her a “natural and practical leader.” Andrea has set her sights on becoming valedictorian of her class, attending UC Berkeley, and earning a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering.
Overcoming numerous obstacles while balancing a demanding course load, Yesenia Ortiz is an academic standout at Grover Cleveland High School. Described by a teacher as “dedicated and unassuming,” Yesenia excels in mathematics and literature, and is active on the swim and water polo teams. She acts on her conviction to give back to the community by working with Habitat for Humanity, AIDS Walk, and Operation Gratitude, where she and other volunteers have written letters and put together care packages for soldiers stationed overseas. Yesenia would like to write books and publish poetry someday. She also hopes to earn a PhD and spread her enthusiasm for learning as a teacher.
This Thomas Jefferson High School sophomore lives in a neighborhood riddled with violence and has faced many hardships. Yet, Azucena Sanchez has overcome it all to earn awards for academic achievement, citizenship, and perfect attendance. She is known as a quiet leader who is committed to making a difference in her community. Among her extracurricular activities, Azucena does hospital volunteer work and participates in projects through The Green Academy that increase biodiversity. That commitment also influences her career goals. Azucena has always wanted to study criminal justice in college and to become a police officer, in order to protect and serve and “to influence other kids that violence is not the answer.”
It takes discipline, perseverance, and smart time management to juggle family obligations, volunteer commitments, and demanding school work. But Jeanette Yue does it exceedingly well, says her college counselor at Downtown Magnets High School. When she’s not working at her family’s Chinese restaurant, Jeanette competes in track & field and volunteers at the Chinatown Library, where she is Editor of the newsletter. Jeanette’s sterling academic record puts her at the top of her class, has made her a two-time Student of the Month, and earned her membership in MESA, the school’s Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement group. Jeanette looks forward to becoming the first in her family to attend college.
About O’Melveny & Myers LLP
With approximately 900 lawyers in 14 offices worldwide, O’Melveny & Myers LLP helps industry leaders across a broad array of sectors manage the complex challenges of succeeding in the global economy. We are a values-driven law firm, guided by the principles of excellence, leadership, and citizenship. Our commitment to these values is reflected in our dedication to improving access to justice through pro bono work and championing initiatives that increase the diversity of the legal profession. For more information, please visit www.omm.com.
About the California Community Foundation
California Community Foundation (CCF) is a public, charitable organization dedicated to inspiring philanthropy, fostering civic engagement and building communities in Los Angeles since 1915. We concentrate resources on several areas of social concern such as education, and focus attention on the needs of low-income, ethnic minority and vulnerable populations in the county. With assets of more than $1.1 billion, we manage 1,600 funds and foundations for making grants, loans, fellowships and scholarships such as the Warren Christopher Scholarships. For more information, visit calfund.org.
About the Warren Christopher Scholarship Committee
The Warren Christopher Scholarship Committee is a diverse board of advisors that devotes hundreds of hours each year, at no charge to the program, to carrying out the mission of the Warren Christopher Scholarship program. The Committee, which includes two of Mr. Christopher’s children, several current and retired O’Melveny & Myers partners, college counselors, and professionals experienced in scholarship programs, pours through application materials to identify the most deserving and promising students for the annual awards. Current Committee members are: Scott W. Christopher, JPMorgan Chase; Nader Delnavaz, Administrative Coordinator, LAUSD; George Demos, O’Melveny & Myers; Kristen Christopher-Henderson, Attorney Placement Inc.; Kerry Franco, California Community Foundation; Joe Lumarda, Capital Guardian Trust Company; (Chairman) Matt Kline, O’Melveny & Myers; Tarlin Ray, Triple Threat Advisors; Mark Steinberg, O’Melveny & Myers (retired); Stuart P. Tobisman, Loeb & Loeb LLP. They are ably assisted by O’Melveny staff members Kathy Osborne and Elsa Weiss.