This morning, with the support of my good friend Tammy, we went to the Grossmont and Cuyamaca College Scholarship Awards Breakfast.
You may ask, why was this an adventure? I elected to introduce the recipient of the Jim Fenningham Memorial Scholarship this morning. I know, I am up in front of people all the time when I am “on the tour bus”, but this is way different. I had to speak in front of people in a whole different way and it took courage for me to do this.
I did well. I reminded myself to do what I do all the time and that is relax and speak from the heart. It helped to introduce such a good young man with an abundance of enthusiasm for his chosen career path. Not only have I gotten to know Daniel a little but now I feel like a bit of Jim is with him also. How delightful.
It was also very good to have Tammy with me. She was the person who suggested a scholarship in Jim’s honor instead of a memorial service that even Jim would not have wanted to go to. I appreciate her unwavering support any time I ask for it. She loved Jim and I know she loves me. I could have thought of no one better to sit next to me and take the photos while I presented this award. I am grateful for her ongoing friendship.
Over twenty scholarships were awarded this morning. The awards went to all ages and ethnic backgrounds and they honored many different areas of study. I admit, I was not sure that this morning would be interesting, so I was pleasantly surprised to find myself attentive and interested in this breakfast. It gives me such hope to see so many students moving through adversity of all sorts to get to a place where they excel in their fields of study. These students represent all of our future and it is good to know they are there, interested and actively involved in their pursuit of education and learning. Many of their stories were very touching. It was an honor to be there and to support them and to know that this will be an on-going role for me.
I am going to include a copy of the essay that Daniel wrote to win this award. He is seeking a career in acting. The scholarship this semester was awarded in the Theater Arts. Jim acted, danced, juggled and performed. He loved anything to do with the theater. Next semester it will be awarded to a student seeking a degree in the social sciences. It is exciting to be a part of this process.
Enjoy the essay. I did.
I am a Mexican-American low-income student living in the United States pursuing
an undergraduate degree. I was raised in Tampico, Tamaulipas Mexico to Mexican
parents, but my mom had the great vision to give birth to me in the U.S so I could have
more opportunities, and so I was born in McAllen Texas. Her decision to have me in the
States was the best decision she could have make because thanks to that I am now
here pursuing my dream of becoming an actor. I lived in Tampico until I was 18 when I
came to San Diego for my senior year. The plan was to come and graduate to here to
have more opportunities and to decide if I wanted to study in the U.S. or go back to
Mexico. After a year here I decided a wanted to stay, but first I had to ask my uncles,
whom I lived with, if I could stay for college. They said yes, and my parents supported
me with whatever decision I made. I stayed and would later payoff because of my
I think that by just being in the United States studying is a great personal
achievement. My family is still in Mexico and I just get to see them during summer and
the holidays, and I think that is the biggest sacrifice I have made in my entire life. The
obstacle of being separate from my family is worth it because I am fighting for my
dream. As I already mention, I want to be an actor and I want to pursue a Bachelors
Degree in Theatre or a BFA in acting. I want to transfer to Cal State Long Beach to get
my degree and keep moving forward from there and start building my acting career. I
still have left at least a year at Grossmont, but looking forward to it to see what other
great acting classes I can take.
Besides of having a full-time schedule; I am in Grossmont’s touring show, which
tours around elementary schools around San Diego. We have rehearsals Tuesdays and
Thursdays from 8 to 11 am, and even though it is early I am always excited for every
rehearsal because of the great purpose of the touring show, which is taking theatre to
the children. I am very proud to be involved in this great project and I try to give my best
everyday even in rehearsals and help my fellow actors with whatever they need. I am
excited to be in this play because it’s my first play ever, but I am especially excited to be
in a play so kids with Mexican heritage can know that there is an opportunity in theatre,
and I wish to inspire Mexican-American children to fight for their dreams.
For the last two years attending Grossmont I struggled with commuting because I
didn’t own a car and took me two hours to get to school. I recently got a car but there
are other expenses that this scholarship would help me with. My parents help me with
what they can, but I will find the way to keep studying here to follow and accomplish my
dream. If I am selected for this scholarship it would be a big step forward in achieving
my short term goal, and help me fulfill my dream and motivate me to keep moving
To support this scholarship, please make checks payable to: Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges (FGCC) Mention that the contribution is for The Jim Fenningham Memorial Scholarship Mail contributions to: Selam Gebrekristos Scholarship Specialist Financial Aid Office 8800 Grossmont College Dr El Cajon, CA 92020-1799 Tax Deductible Contributions per section 501 (c) (3) of the IRS Code; EIN 45-2692818