Six Dallas ISD seniors each receive $20,000 Deloitte/NTPGA Fairway to Success Scholarships

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Deloitte LLP, The Northern Texas PGA (NTPGA), and United Way yesterday honored the recipients of the 2016 Deloitte/NTPGA Fairway to Success Scholarships. Six Dallas ISD students were awarded and joined the 32 previous recipients.

Each student will receive a $20,000 scholarship towards their continuing education. The recipients were honored at a breakfast on May 2 at Lakewood Country Club. Guests include City of Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and representatives from Deloitte, the NTPGA, and United Way.

Established in 2007, the Fairway to Success Program annually awards scholarships to students based on academic performance, extracurricular activities, community involvement and financial need.

The program is conducted at three Dallas ISD high schools – W.W. Samuell, Thomas Jefferson and Lincoln, and it includes exposing students to golf and the life lessons of discipline, honor and integrity that are central to the game.

These schools were originally selected by Dallas ISD for their level of need, lack of outside resources, and by virtue of concurrent participation in the Destination: Graduation program offered through United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. During 2015-2016, the five-week after-school golf program conducted in the fall and spring boasted high participation with 167 Dallas ISD high school students learning the basics of golf from PGA golf professionals. Students earned the right to participate in a field trip to a local golf course, and graduating seniors who qualified by participating in the program had the opportunity to apply for a college scholarship.

Since its inception, the program has awarded $760,000 to Dallas ISD students through the individual contributions of Deloitte partners and professionals in North Texas who have raised more than $1.7 million to date to an educational endowment.

“Deloitte believes preparing today’s students to be tomorrow’s leaders is critical for our communities and our country,” said Jason Downing, North Texas managing partner, Deloitte LLP. “That’s why Fairway to Success is such an important program. It provides an opportunity for these young people to unleash their full potential by helping them build confidence, inspire leadership, foster trust, and take steps to build brighter futures.”

Dallas iSD scholarship recipients are listed below:

Mohamed Mohamed, W.W. Samuell High School

With a 3.81 GPA, Mohamed is ranked fifth in his graduating class. Born and raised in a Kenyan refugee camp called Kakuma (translated to “nowhere”), this brave young man moved to the United States in 2009. His history drives him to want to help and give hope to others, guiding him to use his early release time to lead the special needs students at W.W. Samuell in a recycling program on campus. Mohamed also volunteers at the Buckner Humanitarian Organization and the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society. He is the National Honor Society president, part of the chess club and a member of the math tutoring program at Samuell. The fourth of 10 children, Mohamed will be the first in his family to attend college. In the fall Mohamed will attend the University of Texas to study mechanical engineering.

Ariatna Barcenas, W.W. Samuell High School

As part of the first cohort of Early College High School graduates from W.W. Samuell, Ariatna will graduate this spring with her high school degree as well as an associate’s degree from Eastfield College. Ranked eighth in her class, Ariatna is a varsity volleyball player, soccer player and assistant to the soccer coach. She is also the Early College High School student council representative and senior class officer, and the treasurer of the National Honor Society. She works as a banquet staffer on weekends and was a summer intern for Southwest Airlines in 2015. This caring, dedicated young woman is motivated to succeed in order to help her family. The oldest of four sisters and the daughter of a single mother who is her inspiration, Ariatna will pave the way at Texas A&M this fall, where she plans to study biology before joining Teach for America upon graduation.

Marco Ramirez, Thomas Jefferson High School

Ranked seventh in his class and taking a full load of AP courses, Marco Ramirez is a driven young man with a vision. He is the first chair trumpet in the award winning Thomas Jefferson band and received multiple top ratings regionally and state-wide, all while working more than thirty hours each week to support himself. Marco wants to make a difference in his community and does so through his efforts with the Patriot Ambassadors Leadership Organization that helps mentor freshman at Thomas Jefferson. In addition, Marco has his own alternative rock band that plays events on the weekends. Marco will be the first in his family to go to college. His passion for music will lead him to the University of Texas (UT) this fall, where he will pursue a degree in business while participating in the UT marching band.

Renee Moreno, Thomas Jefferson High School

The third-ranked student in her senior class, Renee boasts a 3.75 GPA and a ranking of first lieutenant on the Thomas Jefferson dance and drill team. Renee’s full load of AP classes and serving as a Patriots Ambassador keep her busy on campus. She is an active volunteer at her church, with roles as alter server and a mentor to youth groups. She is a member of National Honor Society, a volunteer at summer camps at the Walnut Hill Recreation Center and played volleyball and softball for Thomas Jefferson. Her ability to overcome obstacles and the fight she has shown in her young life as an illegal immigrant will likely aid her in the future, especially as the first in her family to attend a four-year university. Renee will be a freshman at Texas A&M this fall where she plans to study architecture.

Debra Jackson, Lincoln High School

Debra Jackson is ranked fifth in her class and participated in tennis, golf and softball during her time at Lincoln. As a senior her golf team qualified for regionals, the first time Lincoln has ever participated in the event. An active senior leader, Debra also serves as an athletic trainer and member of the National Honor Society, all while working 25 hours per week. Debra has taken on adult responsibilities from a very young age. She has stayed on the right path through her determination, surrounding herself with like-minded people and committing herself to her activities and classes. Her spirit and pride guide her in everything she does. Debra participated in the “Young Leaders, Strong City” seminar in Dallas her junior year and will be the first in her family to graduate from a university. Either Texas Wesleyan or the University of Texas will become her home this fall, where she will pursue a career in athletic training.

Kewona-Labria Jones, Lincoln High School

Kewona Jones is a young woman full of conviction and faith. Ranked ninth in her class, Kewona has thrived in the Lincoln High School Communication/Humanities Magnet where she has written and produced multiple films and documentaries, earning awards for her efforts. She is a door greeter at the Diverse Lounge, a poetry jam event, and was the technical director and floor manager for the “How? Stops Now!” online talk show project. Her ability to adapt to life’s hardships and her maturity gives Kewona the motivation to change her world, to break the pattern, and to be a role model for her nephew. Kewona will attend the University of Texas this fall, where she has been accepted into the radio-television-film department in the College of Communication.

Fairway to Success also includes a mentorship program designed to support scholarship recipients throughout their college careers. Recipients interact with Deloitte mentors who share their insights gained from working in a professional services environment. Deloitte mentors also help students explore potential career opportunities in the business and STEM-focused fields of study. Finally, the NTPGA employs at least one Fairway to Success recipient as an intern each summer. It also furthers the intern’s golf education and exposure that began on their high school campuses through Fairway to Success.

“As the program has developed, they have been adding components. One of the main components is the mentor program. The kids will be assigned a mentor who will guide them, not just getting into college, but all the way through. So, we have added a layer of support that the kids did not have beforehand. It’s memorable, it’s positive, it’s supportive, and without these mentors in the kids’ lives some of them may not of been successful,” said Coach Matthew Summers, teacher and golf coach at Thomas Jefferson High School.

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