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Thirteen Spokane students among 48 leaders chosen for full Act Six scholarship to six Washington colleges

February 3, 2011
The Act Six Leadership and Scholarship Initiative announced today that 13 Spokane students will join 35 students from the Puget Sound and Yakima Valley regions to receive full-tuition, full-need scholarships to six Washington colleges. Whitworth University, the first college to join the program in 2002, will welcome its ninth cadre of nine students. Gonzaga University, which joined the program in 2009, will welcome its third cadre of eight students. Other participating Washington colleges include Pacific Lutheran University, Northwest University, Trinity Lutheran College and Heritage University. Collectively, the awards will provide nearly $6.5 million in financial aid over four years.

The newest Act Six scholars will be recognized in community celebrations in Spokane on Tuesday, Feb. 8, at 7 p.m. at Rogers High School; in Toppenish on Wednesday, Feb. 9, at 7 p.m. at Heritage University; and in Tacoma on Thursday, Feb. 10, at 7 p.m. at Mount Tahoma High School. The media and public are invited to attend.

Community sponsors of the celebration events include REI, State Farm Insurance and Group Health Cooperative.

Launched in 2002 by the Northwest Leadership Foundation (NLF) in Tacoma, Act Six seeks to develop urban and community leaders to be agents of transformation on campus and in their home communities. Since the program's inception, 21 cadres of ethnically diverse and mostly first-generation, low-income Act Six scholars from urban Tacoma, Seattle, Portland and Spokane have enrolled at seven Northwest colleges and universities. This year, Act Six will send its first cadre of scholars from the Yakima Valley and Yakama Nation to Heritage University.

Act Six develops leaders through a simple, but powerful, four-step strategy:

  • Recruit and select diverse, multicultural cadres of the Northwest's most promising emerging urban and community leaders.
  • Train and prepare these groups of students in the year prior to college, equipping them to support each other, succeed academically, and grow as service-minded leaders and agents of transformation.

  • Send and fund the teams together to select private, liberal arts colleges in the Northwest on four year, full-tuition, full-need scholarships.

  • Support and inspire by providing strong campus support and ongoing leadership development to nurture these young people as they find their vocation and grow into the next generation of community leaders.

To date, 90 percent of the 190 scholars originally selected for the program have graduated or are still enrolled – reflecting graduation and retention rates that far exceed national averages. Two Act Six scholars have been elected as student-body presidents and scholars have been involved in numerous other leadership roles on campus and in the community. Nearly 70 percent of Act Six alumni have returned to work and serve in their home communities, and more than 25 percent are pursuing or have earned graduate degrees.

"Act Six is a blessing. Not only do I have the opportunity to pursue a degree in higher education, but now I have the support and the resources to make my dreams come true," says Michaela Brown, a freshmen scholar with the second cadre of Act Six at Gonzaga University. "Act Six is so much greater than me, that at times it's hard to wrap my head around the vision, but all I know is that Act Six has changed my life and I can't wait to start giving back by living the mission."

Esther Louie, assistant dean for intercultural student affairs at Whitworth, says, "Since launching Act Six in 2003, Whitworth's Act Six scholars are helping to further transform our campus with their leadership. We look forward to welcoming our Cadre Nine as we continue to engage our Spokane community to bring forth the best young scholars."

Tim Herron, founder and national director of Act Six adds, "Our scholars are having a profound impact through their leadership on campus, and as they graduate we are seeing their impact back in their neighborhoods and around the nation. We are convinced that Act Six scholars will play an important role in shaping the future of our communities."

Following is a list of this year's Act Six recipients:

Whitworth University (Cadre Nine)
Octavio Blanco, John R Rogers High School
Kylee Campbell, Lewis and Clark High School
Iris Chavez, Joel E Ferris High School
Jacob Dansereau, Shadle Park High School
Thomas Glasser, John R Rogers High School
Lifen Guo, North Central High School
Victoria Hernandez, Joel E Ferris High School
Alexander Sipraseuth, John R Rogers High School
Patricia Villareal, Lewis and Clark High School

Gonzaga University (Cadre Three)
Michael Andersen, Lincoln High School
Francisca Chau, Gonzaga Preparatory School
Jesus Esqueda, Mount Rainier High School
Chare' Gilliam, Franklin Pierce High School
Aleksey Kozlov, Todd Beamer High School
Deonna Smith, Lewis and Clark High School
Logan Torres, Central Valley High School
Spencer White, University High School

Pacific Lutheran University (Cadre Four)
Rebecca Byrne, Charles Wright Academy
Owen Hunt, Washington High School
Danay Jones, Henry Foss High School
James Mamerto, Clover Park High School
Vicky Murray, Chief Leschi High School
Jesus Rosales, Clover Park High School
Miguel Smith, Clover Park High School

Northwest University (Cadre Three)
Viliana Apollon, Kent-Meridian High School
Maricres Castro, Bellarmine Preparatory School
Nikilas Cuddeback, Stadium High School
Megan Lee, Washington High School
Nevhani Meade, Christian Faith School
Joy Mukiri, Kentlake High School
Cindy Ramirez, Lakes High School
Meenakshi Richardson, Tacoma School of the Arts
Sara Yazdi, Tacoma Baptist Schools
Bethany Zigler, Woodrow Wilson High School

Trinity Lutheran College (Cadre Two)
Mallayana Bradley, Life Christian Academy
Daniela Colorado, Woodrow Wilson High School
Olivia Fualii, Emerald Ridge High School
Darwin Paet, Health Sciences and Human Services High School
Christian Paige, Life Christian Academy

Heritage University (Cadre One)
Charlie Fiander, Wapato Senior High School
Lindsey Fulton, Riverside Christian School and Yakima Valley Community College
Daylen Isaac, Zillah High School and Yakima Valley Community College
Estefania Jimenez, A C Davis Senior High School
Jayla Krause, Naches Valley High School
Karina Lara, Wapato Senior High School
Jasper Luna, Heritage HEP
Amber Ortiz-Diaz, A C Davis Senior High School
Sandra Sanchez, Wahluke High School

Following next week's celebrations, scholars begin an intensive seven-month training program that involves weekly meetings with Act Six staff, retreats and campus visits.

Learn more about Act Six online at

In addition to the Washington scholars, last month Act Six named 20 new scholars from Portland, Ore. for George Fox University in Newberg, Ore., and Warner Pacific College in Portland, Ore.

The Northwest Leadership Foundation is a faith-based nonprofit headquartered in Tacoma, Wash. Since 1989, the foundation has worked to move individuals and organizations from good intentions to effective outcomes in its effort to encourage, strengthen and develop leadership for the spiritual and social renewal of the city.


Tim Herron, Act Six national director, Northwest Leadership Foundation,
(253) 272-0771 ext.109 or

Oscar Harris, Act Six Spokane site director, Northwest Leadership Foundation,
(509) 230-3686 or

Esther Louie, assistant dean for intercultural student affairs, Whitworth University,
(509) 777-4572 or

Tracy Ellis-Ward, director of Unity Multicultural Education Center, Gonzaga University, (509) 313-4108 or