President’s Corner: Following Students Forward

By faithnetwork | March 31st,2017

Looking back on 16 years of outreach to East Bay schools, I find it mind-boggling to think that we’ve had the honor of knowing and supporting thousands of students. Where most of them are today, I wish I knew. In most cases a child comes into one of our programs for a year or two and they move on and we lose contact. But there are those precious few we’ve kept in touch with. I have a sticky note on my desk entitled “Following Students Forward”.  Among those on that list is Jaqui Marquez.

Jaqui Marquez

Jaqui at the 2014 Hope For Children Now benefit gala

We met Jaqui in 2009 when she was an eighth grader at Longfellow Middle School in Berkeley. Thanks to funding from First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley, we were able to establish the Max Martinez Scholarship program at Longfellow to provide educational assistance, mentoring, and college scholarships to students with high academic potential coming from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. Scholarship recipients would receive a $2,000 award to be held in a savings account and awarded upon having graduated from high school and providing proof of full-time enrollment in college.

In the spring of 2009 Jaqui applied for the competitive scholarship. On the basis of her GPA, recommendations, and personal essay she emerged as one of the finalists. Because of her challenges, resilience and determination, she was selected to receive the scholarship. I’ll not forget Jaqui standing on stage on her eighth grade graduation day and receiving the award presented by the late Max Martinez’s wife, Charlotte.

Jaqui went on to graduate from Berkeley High School. Currently she is a junior at UCLA, majoring in biochemistry. You go, Jaqui!

For the children,

Randy

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