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Back Row (left-right): Larry Trotter, Jacob Habte, Jordan Boothe, Memphis Huff, Isaac Carmichael, Sivram Jackson, Erick Angulo Middle Row: Andrea Jenkins, Rashida Simpson, Kinara Shah, Jasmine Smith Front Row: Ebony Shorts, Talia Brumfield, Toshaleza Majadi, Darionna Harris Not pictured: MyShaundriss Watkins

College Bound Black and Latino Young Men Among Recipients Groomed for Academic Excellence

Fontana, Calif.BLU Educational Foundation’s College Exodus Project (CEP) is pleased to announce the recipients of more than $100,000 in renewable scholarships.  The awards were presented to 17 students graduating this summer from high schools in Southern California’s Inland Empire (Riverside and San Bernardino Counties).  The students are preparing to enter colleges and universities this fall.  The scholarships are made possible by a grant from the College Access Foundation, a national leader in the fight to ensure that deserving students with financial need are able to attend college.  This is the second consecutive year that more than $100,000 in scholarships have been awarded from the College Exodus Project. The awards cover tuition and fees for local students attending colleges and universities across the nation.

“We’re dedicated to preparing students to enter college and to successfully complete their education,” said Dina Walker, President and CEO of BLU Educational Foundation (BLU).  “Our highest mission is to ensure that students actually graduate from college,” added Walker.

The College Exodus Project assists students in obtaining undergraduate or graduate degrees from accredited colleges and universities, with the intent that they contribute to the local economy through employment, internships and/or volunteer service. The program provides comprehensive college information, assistance and support to help students with admissions, financial aid, retention and graduation from public and private institutions throughout the country.

The program was created out of a need to increase the number of Inland Empire students graduating from college.  While the area has low college going rates across all demographics, African American and Latino male students are a strategic focus of the College Exodus Project.

According to the California Postsecondary Education Commission, in 2008 only 2.9% of African American and 3.1% of Latino male high school graduates in the state enrolled in the University of California system. These percentages were the lowest of any major demographic group in California.

“Our project team is ever mindful of the college retention rates among African American and Latino males,” said Dr. Daniel E. Walker, a research associate at the University of Southern California and Board Chair at BLU.  “We have a strategic plan to reach all students.  It’s critical however that we have a plan to reach our black and brown young men,” explained Dr. Walker who cites the experience of Jamal Williams, a College Exodus Project participant and former foster care youth from San Bernardino.

Before enrolling in the College Exodus Project, Williams believed that a college education was unattainable.  “During my senior year I was really worried about the next phase in my life. Then I got involved with the people at BLU and the College Exodus Project.  They really made me believe that I could make it in college,” he said.  Williams is now entering his second year at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

“We see enormous potential in every student who comes to our program,” said Dina Walker.  “We’re not satisfied until every student returns to us as a college graduate. That’s how we measure the success of our programs,” she said.

This year’s scholarship awards were presented on Thursday, June 9 at an awards and recognition reception held at the Jessie Turner Health and Fitness Center in Fontana, California.  BLU Educational Foundation congratulates the following recipients:

  • 12th Grade Student Erick Angulo of Arroyo Valley High School, San Bernardino
  • 12th Grade Student Jordan Boothe of Arroyo Valley High School, San Bernardino
  • 12th Grade Student Talia Brumfield of Los Osos High School, Rancho Cucamonga
  • 12th Grade Student Isaac Carmichael of Arroyo Valley High School, San Bernardino
  • 12th Grade Student Jacob Habte of Arroyo Valley High School, San Bernardino
  • 12th Grade Student Darionna Harris of Arroyo Valley High School, San Bernardino
  • 12th Grade Student Memphis Huff of Arroyo Valley High School, San Bernardino
  • 12th Grade Student Sivram Jackson of Arroyo Valley High School, San Bernardino
  • 12th Grade Student Andrea Jenkins of Arroyo Valley High School, San Bernardino
  • 12th Grade Student Ryan Jones of Cajon High School, San Bernardino
  • 12th Grade Student Toshaleza Majadi of Los Osos High School, Rancho Cucamonga
  • 12th Grade Student Kinara Shah of Pacific High School, San Bernardino
  • 12th Grade Student Ebony Shorts of San Gorgonio High School, San Bernardino
  • 12th Grade Student Rashida Simpson of Cajon High School, San Bernardino
  • 12th Grade Student Jasmine Smith of Cajon High School, San Bernardino
  • 12th Grade Student Larry Trotter of Arroyo Valley High School, San Bernardino
  • 12th Grade Student MyShaundriss Watkins of Arroyo Valley High School, San Bernardino

About BLU Educational Foundation

BLU Educational Foundation (BLU) is a nonprofit corporation.  Since 2001, BLU has been a response to the growing educational challenges among families with limited income and opportunities in Southern California’s Inland Empire region. BLU is dedicated to providing educational and human services programming to youth, adults and families in order to build healthy productive communities. For more information, visit www.bluedfoundation.org or call 909.820-2827 or 909.534.8814.

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