O'Melveny to Honor 2010 Warren Christopher Scholars

June 07, 2010



Sonja Steptoe
O'Melveny & Myers LLP

213.430.6384 (office)                                    

323.578.1586 (cell)



Elsa Weiss

O'Melveny & Myers LLP

949.823.7981 (office)                                    

310.210.5467 (cell)






WHAT: Former US Secretary of State and Senior Partner of O’Melveny & Myers LLP    Warren Christopher will present US$20,000 college scholarships to ten promising, economically challenged students from LAUSD high schools.  Antonia Hernández, President and CEO of the California Community Foundation, will also speak at the event.


The Christopher Scholarship is a commitment between these exceptional students and O’Melveny & Myers and supports the students throughout their undergraduate studies.  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, to buy books, and to pay other educational expenses. 


Here are a few noteworthy facts about the Christopher Scholarship program:

  • The Christopher Scholarship program was established by the Firm in 1992 in the former Secretary’s name at the California Community Foundation, which administers the fund.
  • Since its inception, the Christopher Scholarship program has awarded four-year college scholarships to 138 LAUSD students.
  • These 138 students have overcome serious economic barriers and great personal hardships to achieve outstanding academic success, while also devoting countless hours to public service activities and supporting their families and communities.
  • Often attending high schools with exceptionally high drop-out rates or living in homeless shelters, foster care, or circumstances ravaged by drugs, violence, and extreme poverty, Christopher Scholars have gone on to attend the country’s most prestigious universities, including Yale, MIT, Brown, Duke, Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, and almost all of the UC schools.  Many are now teachers, public servants, doctors, and lawyers.


WHEN:     Friday, June 11, 2010, 11:30 am (Open to Members of the Media)


WHERE:  Los Angeles Central Public Library

                   630 W. Fifth Street

                   Los Angeles, CA 90071


WHO (Available for Interviews & Photo Opportunities):

  • 2010 Warren Christopher Scholars, including:
      • Despite severe hardships, Nardo has achieved an outstanding academic record at University High School.  He hopes one day to develop new laser technology for heart surgery that will save lives, including that of his sister, who has a serious heart condition.  A valued member of the cross-country team, Nardo has created formulas to help analyze the team’s performances.  Through the Order of DeMolay, an organization that prepares young men to lead successful, happy, and productive lives, Nardo works with the homeless at the Midnight Mission and collects toys for underprivileged children.
      • Sandoval has overcome difficult life challenges, including caring for a disabled family member and her own serious illness.  At Bell High School,  she excels at Chemistry and AP Calculus, while finding time to volunteer her services to the Interact Club that helps people in need. She also participates in the AIDS Walk, contributes to projects that feed the homeless, and joins in beach clean-up campaigns.  Sandoval, who hopes to become either a veterinarian or a psychologist, also is learning traditional Mexican dance through Ballet Folklorico.
      • A love of science and math, as well as exceptional intellectual curiosity, has made Schafieh an academic standout in her classes at Fairfax High School.  Her extracurricular activities run the gamut from participating in a math, science, and technology leadership group and tutoring fellow students in math, to helping her elderly neighbors with grocery shopping and leading AfghanTeensUnited, an organization she founded that raises money for the people of Afghanistan.  Schafieh’s interest in Afghanistan and its history also led her to work as an extra in the motion picture “Charlie Wilson’s War.”  
      • Wright has taken on family responsibilities unusual for someone her age, assisting her parents in a number of ways.  A highly motivated student, she has excelled at some of the most demanding courses available at King/Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science, where she ranks at the top of her class of 450 sophomores.  She also founded the student Animal Rights Club that helps raise money for animal shelters and raise awareness about animal cruelty, volunteers at a food bank, and performs in the school’s drama company.  
  • Former Christopher Scholars discussing the award’s impact on their lives
  • Antonia Hernández, President and CEO of the California Community Foundation
  • Warren Christopher, Former US Secretary of State and O’Melveny & Myers Senior Partner     
  • Lawyers and staff members from O’Melveny & Myers LLP and the California Community Foundation


About O’Melveny & Myers

With approximately 1,000 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

As LA’s foundation, the California Community Foundation has been around since 1915, and has more than US$1 billion in assets. We manage more than 1,600 funds whose donors chose us because we help them create the change they envision through our personal service and expertise. As one of the largest scholarship fund managers in LA County, CCF granted US$3.4 million to 1,700 students in 2009-2010. Visit www.myccf.org.