10 Outstanding Charter High School Seniors Awarded Susan Steelman Bragato Scholarships

March 22, 2017

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(Sacramento, California) - Today, the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) awarded $2,000 college scholarships to 10 inspiring, high-achieving high school seniors from CCSA member charter public schools to help fund their first year of college. Each of the 10 recipients of the Susan Steelman Bragato Scholarship Award, students representing different regions of the state, share a passion for community service and reaching their educational dreams.

The winners were announced at the 24th Annual California Charter Schools Conference March 20-23, 2017 in Sacramento hosted by CCSA and were celebrated by the more than 3,500 charter public school leaders, teachers, supporters, and advocates in attendance. Learn more about the event.

The Susan Steelman Bragato Scholarship Award is awarded to outstanding charter school seniors annually because CCSA believes that education shouldn't stop after high school. The scholarship is named in honor of Susan Steelman Bragato for her unprecedented contribution to the charter school movement. She was the co-founder of the first charter school in California, founder of the California Network of Educational Charters (renamed to CCSA in 2003), and founder of the first Annual California Charter Schools Conference. Steelman Bragato died in 2005 at the age of 47.

The recipients of the 2017 Susan Steelman Bragato Scholarships are:

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Omega Agee, KIPP King Collegiate High School, Oakland, CA Agee grew up with a debilitating disease that doctors couldn't diagnose. This left her unable to participate in activities she loved, ultimately leading her to rebel at home and school. However, through the grace of one of her teachers, Agee was given an opportunity to travel throughout the state to discuss major social justice issues with elected officials, instilling in her a newfound confidence and passion for leadership. Agee credits this experience in helping her become who she is today and igniting her passion for helping others, a dream she'd like to pursue with this scholarship.


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Akosua Boateng, Sacramento Charter High School, Sacramento, CA Boateng grew up in an oppressed community within Sacramento that lacked access to a variety of essentials, including fresh produce. In her junior year of high school, she began working with a local family farm to build backyard gardens in her community, host community education forums on how to properly grow produce, and turn a place full of poverty and violence into a place of unity. She hopes to utilize her scholarship to attend a college that will allow her to find solutions to issues such as hunger.



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Kevin Chang, Western Sierra Collegiate Academy, Rocklin, CA From an early age, Chang has had a passion for remaining intellectually stimulated across disciplines, particularly in engineering and science. Chang's passion has led him to become a highly decorated young academic, winning multiple awards and accolades at a variety of local and state STEM, science, and engineering competitions. Chang will use his scholarship to help fund tuition at a four-year research-based university where he will study biological sciences and biomedical engineering.

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Kyle Dent, Lighthouse Community Charter School, San Lorenzo, CA Though Dent transitioned from school to school throughout his academic career, one thing has always remained the same: his deep passion for writing. Dent has written stories, speeches and comedies that have filled multiple binders and notebooks. He hopes to use this scholarship to pursue his dream to become a professional writer.



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Erick Felix, Synergy Quantum Academy, Los Angeles, CA Felix grew up in South Central Los Angeles where he learned to dream big and make the most of opportunities afforded to him, despite the hardship surrounding him. He chose to take advantage of his education, enrolling in honors programs and extracurricular activities that helped him hone his passion for math and science. Felix will utilize this scholarship to become one of the first in his family to attend a college or university.




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Abraham Herrera, Math and Science College Preparatory, Los Angeles, CA Herrera was a dreamer from a young age, always coming up with new ideas, stories, and creations. Herrerra's love for creativity sparked in him a passion to become a filmmaker. This passion and commitment to making his dream come true became stronger after losing his mom to health challenges. Herrera hopes to continue to learn as much as possible with this scholarship and become the best filmmaker and version of himself he can be.



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Rola Kojok, Guajome Park Academy, San Marcos, CA Kojok immigrated to California from Lebanon to escape war in 2006. Within a few weeks, she was thrown into a new culture with a new language. Six months later, Kojok was excelling linguistically and academically, partially due to her commitment to supporting her community by volunteering for the American Red Cross and her former elementary school. She hopes to use her scholarship to pursue her dream of one day becoming a pharmacist and owning her own pharmacy.




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Meron Lemmi, The Preuss School UCSD, San Diego, CA As an African American female, Lemmi knows firsthand the reality that sometimes the color of your skin and where you live, can affect how you are treated. Lemmi has challenged the stereotypes, pushing herself to do well in school and get involved at her high school campus. Her accomplishments have not come easy, and with this scholarship she hopes to take a step toward furthering her education, learning how to create a more equitable socioeconomic society.



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Eduardo Perez, Oakland Unity High School, Oakland, CA Perez and his family immigrated from Colima, Mexico to Oakland, California to escape increasing violence in their home town. However, unfortunately, they moved from one violent situation to another. After surviving a near-death experience, Perez took it upon himself to heal and attend a low-cost medical clinic in Oakland. The time there made such an impact on his life that he began to volunteer at the clinic and developed a passion for mental health. Perez hopes to use this scholarship to study psychiatry.




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Vanessa Wan, Clayton Valley Charter High School, Concord, CA Wan describes herself as a caretaker, always motivated to care for others in her family particularly when times were tough. It was during these tough times for her family that she learned to balance self-care while showing compassion to others when they needed it most. Wan's calling fostered her desire to one day work in the medical industry. She hopes to utilize this scholarship to work toward her dream.