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Tacoma welcomes home fifth cadre of Act Six graduates from Whitworth University

May 25, 2011
Tacoma's urban communities have reason to celebrate as eight more of the city's emerging urban leaders graduate from Whitworth University as part of the Act Six Leadership and Scholarship Initiative.

The Act Six Cadre Five graduates will be recognized in a graduation celebration and benefit in Olympia on Thursday, May 26, at 7 p.m. at the Washington State Capitol Dome – Legislative Building, Columbia Room. The event is sponsored by the Washington State House of Representatives. Corporate sponsors include signature sponsor 7-Eleven and community sponsors State Farm Insurance, REI, and Group Health.

The eight Act Six Whitworth graduates are, with their degrees and high schools:

Alyson Cole, B.A. Elementary Education & Special Education (Henry Foss High School)

Keilah Fanene, B.A. English (Evergreen High School)

Luis Flores, B.A. Sociology (Clover Park High School)

Jordon Keller, B.A. Spanish & Cross-Cultural Studies (Mount Tahoma High School)

Kyle Kim, B.A. Journalism (Clover Park High School)

Miracle Lawyer, B.A. Sociology (Life Christian Academy)

Brianna Orozco, B.S. Biology (Clover Park High School)

Lindy Tep, B.A. Accounting (Mount Tahoma High School)

Launched in 2002 by the Northwest Leadership Foundation (NLF) in Tacoma, Act Six seeks to develop urban leaders to be agents of transformation on campus and in their home communities. Since the program's inception, more than 250 ethnically diverse and mostly first-generation, low-income Act Six scholars from urban Tacoma, Seattle, Portland, Spokane, and the Yakima Valley have enrolled at Whitworth and seven other private colleges and universities across the Washington and Oregon.

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

  • Recruit and select diverse, multicultural cadres of the Northwest's most promising urban and community student 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 faith- and social justice-based colleges across Washington and Oregon on full-tuition, full-need scholarships.
  • Support and inspire by providing strong campus support, ongoing leadership development and vocational connections to inspire scholars to serve their home communities
This year's graduation brings the total number of Act Six alumni to 52. Overall, more than 90 percent of scholars selected for the program have graduated or are still enrolled – reflecting graduation and retention rates that far exceed national averages. More than two-thirds of the program's graduates are working or serving back in their home communities and more than 25 percent have earned advanced degrees or are currently enrolled in graduate school.

Cadre five graduate Jordon Keller will be teaching in Seattle through Teach for America, in the program's first year in Washington state. Classmate Luis Flores will be interning with the Christian Community Development Association in Chicago, Ill. These graduates continue a legacy of giving back as Act Six alumni continue to lead transformation in urban communities in the Puget Sound and across the country.

"This year's Act Six seniors have been great role models of passionate and committed young leaders," says Esther Louie, assistant dean for intercultural student affairs at Whitworth. "They have left a legacy at Whitworth of positive leadership motivated by their heart and mind. We will miss them at Whitworth and we know that they will enrich Tacoma or wherever they land with their rich abilities and skills."

Tim Herron, founder and national director of Act Six, adds, "Act Six scholars are having a profound impact through their leadership on campuses across the region and as they graduate they are taking on important work that is making their communities more just and vibrant places."

Other Act Six partner colleges and universities include George Fox University, Pacific Lutheran University, Gonzaga University, Northwest University, Trinity Lutheran College, Warner Pacific College, and Heritage University.

Learn more about Act Six online at

Those wishing to attend next week’s community celebration should RSVP with Jeremiah Sataraka, Act Six senior program assistant, at (253) 272-0771 ext. 113 or

The Northwest Leadership Foundation is a faith-based non-profit 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.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


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

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