Thursday, February 28, 2008

Luis Gonzales Holds a College Fair!

Bridges student Luis Gonzales, a student at Greenville High Academy planned and implemented a Hispanic Education Fair on Saturday, February 23 at the Greenville Technical College Berea campus. The Fair included college representatives from Berea College, Furman University, Bob Jones University, The Citadel, Erskine College, Morris College, South Carolina State University, and Greenville Technical College. There was also a table with information about financial aid and personal financial literacy, and a representative from the Association of Hispanic-American Women. Luis was interviewed by Hispanic radio stations 1440 and 103.9 and announcements about the fair were made at all of the high schools in Greenville County.

The Hispanic Education Fair was a final project for Emerging Public Leaders (EPL). In addition to attending Bridges last summer, Luis attended a program at Furman called Emerging Public Leaders is a week-long program for rising high school seniors who want to get involved and make a difference in the world. It is an exciting and innovative service-based leadership program that features sessions with local, state and national leaders as well as members of the faculty of Furman’s Department of Political Science. Students attend lectures, participate in off-campus trips, and have opportunities to interact with speakers and faculty.

During the week, each participant develops a plan for a student-led service project addressing a need in their community. Students then return home to work with local residents and peers on the implementation of their projects. During the following spring, students are invited to return to Furman to present their completed projects. The students with the most successful projects are awarded a cash prize. Luis' final project was the Hispanic Education Fair. He will present his project to a panel of judges in March. We congratulate him on his hard work and execution! We wish him luck on his presentation!

The picture above is of Luis and other Bridges students who helped him organize and manage the fair. Pictured from left to right: Victor Orozco, Daphnie Glenn, Maria Cruz, Karina Rodriguez, Erika Garcia, Ashley Jenkins, Aleen Sepulveda, and Cristi Privado.

Victor Orozco: A Very Special Student

Victor Orozco, a Bridges student from J.L. Mann High School is simply AMAZING! We in the Bridges program have been blessed for the last three years by his energy, enthusiasm, unwaivering support, and creativity! In December, Victor was not only admitted to Furman University but was also awarded the prestigious Hollingsworth Scholarship. The scholarship, awarded to outstanding leaders in the State of South Carolina is worth $25,000 a year! This is a picture of Victor when he received the scholarship:

Victor is not only academically talented, but he is also artistically talented! Victor is a student in Allison Turza's AP Environmental Science class at J.L. Mann. In addition to teaching at J.L. Mann, Miss Turza is one of our brilliant teachers in the Bridges program. When she initiated a recycling program at Mann, she looked to none other than Victor Orozco to design the logo for the recycling bins to be placed around the school. Here is the logo that Victor designed:

We are very proud of Victor! Here are some excerpts from the letter of recommendation I wrote him for college:

Victor Orozco has a beautiful soul and a heart for serving others. He is the most humble, unassuming student with whom I have worked. He does not have one enemy. Every person that has ever come in contact with Victor thinks that he is a wonderful person, and he is!

Victor connects with people on a personal and emotional level. He is genuinely concerned about their well being and wants the best for them. He greets everyone with, “How are you doing?” Before you can ask him how he is doing, he has already asked you and asked a follow up question to learn more about you. This is Victor’s greatest leadership quality, his ability to connect with people and lead from within. He is not always the person in front, but he is the person behind the scenes, doing all the work, and supporting everyone around him.

Victor has a heart of gold and I feel that our world needs more young people like him.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Bridges Students Complete the FAFSA!

Each year, the Bridges program provides an evening workshop for students to complete the FAFSA online. The workshop is always led by a member of the Furman financial aid office. It is a great opportunity to recieve one-on-one assistance in completing the form that is necessary to receive federal and state financial aid for college. The workshop was held January 31st and was facilitated by Assistant Director of Financial Aid, Christy Elia.

Pictured are Cesar Isaza and his mother. In the background, Christy Elia helps and parent and student.