Foundation awards hardworking students scholarships

Benjamin Garcia

Computer science Ben Partida was the winner of the Carmen Solis Grant, presented by Dan Pratt on Dec. 1, at the The Cerritos College Foundation Scholarship Reception.

He cited his history of hardships, such as his diagnoses of muscular distrophy and being out of work because of it.

Partida then stated that this Fall semester will be his last at Cerritos College; as next semester he will have transferred to California State University of Long Beach to get a bachelor’s degree in computer science and “give back to the community.”

During a speech at the podium during the reception: Trustee Marisa Perez, who is on the Cerritos College Foundation Board of Directors, commented on the board “needing a tissue box” during the deliberation process because of the emotions in the room.

She further explained that “Our students have a lot of struggles. Many of them are working full time; many of them have full-time commitments — either taking care if their parents, grandparents or their own children.”

Perez added that many of the applicants faced challenges “even getting to this point.”

Eventually, she described the deliberation process, saying, “We accept applications during the window that it is open to all the Cerritos College students. Then, anyone who can qualify […] Program Assistant Rachel Samarin sends the applications.

She continued, saying that the board reviews and scores the applications online — usually being between 20 to 30 in number. After that, the board interviews the top five. From the top five, it picks the top two.

She concluded that “it’s always hard and you always want to do so much to support them.”

Psychology major Matthew Gomez was the winner of the John Moore First Step Scholarship.

He was asked to speak at the podium upon receiving his award. During his speech he explained that he choose Cerritos College because his “finances came into play.”

“Universities weren’t necessarily in the picture,” explained Gomez, “Cerritos College was very open.”

He says this because his mother graduated with an associate’s degree in psychology from Cerritos College in 2014.

He said, “I felt that that was a huge motivational force for me as well. To not just give up.”

Charelle Tisby was the winner of the Former Foster Youth Grant. She is majoring in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

When speaking at the podium, she expressed how honored she felt to receive this award.

She went on to say that she has had to overcome many struggles, being a foster youth.

“To be able to be awarded this,” Tisby stated, “And for the board and the foundation to believe in my growth and what I am trying to do and accomplish against all odds means so much.”

She added that she feels that it is “bigger than a check.” It is acknowledgement to invest in her future.