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Eighteen diverse student leaders earn full Act Six scholarships to Whitworth, Gonzaga

February 5, 2013
Whitworth University and Gonzaga University will welcome a total of 18 new Act Six Scholars to join the entering class of 2013. Ten scholars entering Whitworth and eight entering Gonzaga are among 65 students statewide to receive full college scholarships as members of the 2013 Act Six class.

Selected through a rigorous three-month competition among more than 700 applicants, these diverse student leaders were chosen by the Act Six Leadership and Scholarship Initiative for their distinctive leadership, academic potential, and commitment to making a difference in their communities.

The 65 emerging urban and community leaders hail from Spokane, the Yakima Valley, the Puget Sound region, and Portland, Ore., and will receive full-tuition, full-need scholarships to Gonzaga, Whitworth, George Fox University, Heritage University, Northwest University, Pacific Lutheran University, Trinity Lutheran College, and Warner Pacific College. Collectively, the awards will provide more than $8 million in financial aid over four years.

The newest Act Six scholars will be recognized in a community celebration in Spokane on Wednesday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m. at Whitworth University’s Weyerhaeuser Hall; news media and the public are invited. Tracy Ellis-Ward, director of Gonzaga’s Unity Multicultural Education Center, will deliver the benediction at the Spokane celebration. Similar celebrations will take place in Portland today (Monday, Feb. 4), at 6:30 p.m. at Life Change Christian Center; in Toppenish, Wash. on Tuesday, Feb. 5, at 7 p.m. at Heritage University’s Smith Family Hall; and in Tacoma on Thursday, Feb. 7, at 7 p.m. at Lincoln High School.

Launched in 2002 by the Northwest Leadership Foundation 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, 45 cohorts of ethnically diverse and mostly first-generation, low-income Act Six scholars from urban Tacoma, Seattle, Portland, Spokane, and the Yakima Valley have enrolled at eight Northwest colleges and universities.
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 315 scholars who have started college have graduated or are still enrolled –reflecting graduation and retention rates that far exceed national averages. Three Act Six scholars have been elected as college/university student-body presidents, and scholars have been involved in numerous other leadership roles on campus and in the community. Nearly 85 percent of Act Six alumni have returned to work and serve in their home communities, and 27 percent are pursuing or have earned graduate degrees.

Whitworth’s Assistant Dean of Intercultural Student Affairs, Esther Louie, says, “As Whitworth University’s Act Six program enters our second decade, we believe that Cadre 11 demonstrates high academic and broad leadership experiences that characterize our current and past scholars. We are confident that these students will invigorate and inspire our campus and enrich our intercultural and diversity programs.”

“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 junior scholar with the second cadre of Act Six at Gonzaga. “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."

Tim Herron, Act Six founder, 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 are this year’s Act Six recipients:

Whitworth University (Cadre Eleven)
Austriauna Brooks, Bellarmine Preparatory School
Kionte Brown, Shadle Park High School
Lynnsee Calf Robe, Havermale High School
Ryan Cole, Henry Foss High School
Araya Eckley, North Central High School
Karen Fierro, Sumner High School
Husam Ghanim, Joel E. Ferris High School
Camina Hirota, Shadle Park High School
Eduardo Martinez, Federal Way Senior High School
Marisela Revuelta Cervantes, Riverside High School

Gonzaga University (Cadre Five)
Sandy Barakat, Central Valley High School
Caleb Dawson, Federal Way Senior High School
Kenji Linane-Booey, Shadle Park High School
Aaron McQuerter, Stadium High School
Aubrey Morris, John R. Rogers High School
Olivia Nagozruk, Lewis and Clark High School
Aven Zemo, Foster High School
An Eighth Gonzaga University Scholar Will be Named Soon

George Fox University (Cadre Seven)
Sierra Brambila, Franklin High School
Fatima Chacon, Woodburn Academy of Art, Science and Technology
Eduardo Fuentes, Tigard Senior High School
Clarissa McCloud, Cleveland High School
Daisy Santana, Tualatin High School
Markayla Shattuck, David Douglas High School
Hao Tan, Centennial High School

Heritage University (Cadre Three)
Karina Borges, A. C. Davis Senior High School
Crisantos Chavez, Mabton High School
Luis Gomez, Dwight D. Eisenhower High School
Alexandra Hays, Sunnyside Senior High School
Elizabeth Lara, Dwight D Eisenhower High School
Dahlton Madison, West Valley High School
Clemente Navarro, Toppenish High School
Raegen Sharp, Granger High School
Desiree Theisen, Prosser Falls High School
Jade Tillequots, White Swan High School
Aide Torres, Dwight D. Eisenhower High School
Glenda Torres, West Valley High School

Northwest University (Cadre Five)
Jessica Bastrom, Washington High School
Lyubov Bernik, Kentlake High School
Christian Isaac, Tacoma Science and Math Institute
Lara Linden, Fife High School
Jocelyn Rott, Henry Foss High School
Ashley Solus, Henry Foss High School
Shannon Wallace, Newport High School

Pacific Lutheran University (Cadre Six)
Shelondra Harris, Henry Foss High School
Angelica Martinez Estrada, Mount Tahoma High School
Angelo Mejia, Clover Park High School
Joseph Perez, Bellarmine Preparatory School
Samrawit Zeinu, Chief Sealth International High School

Trinity Lutheran College (Cadre Four)
Keyre Figueroa, Clover Park High School
Yohan Lara-Aguilar, Highline High School
Emilie Malgren, Franklin Pierce High School
Roberto Perez, Eastside Academy
Deyana Willis, Lincoln High School

Warner Pacific College (Cadre Four)
Trent Aldridge, Jr., David Douglas High School
Tay Arigbon, U. S. Grant High School
Angel Castaneda, Forest Grove High School
Michael Ely, Benson Polytech High School
Maranda Henderson, Tigard Senior High School
Skylar Holt, Jefferson High School
Adis Leyva-Duran, De La Salle North Catholic High School
Linnette Meshack, Roosevelt High School
Jose Morales-Ayala, Oregon City High School
Paige Moreland, U. S. Grant High School
Stephanie Reyes-Chavez, Oregon City High School

Following this 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

For questions regarding Act Six at Whitworth: Please contact Lawrence Burnley, assistant vice president for intercultural affairs, at (509) 777-4215 [], or Lucas Beechinor, media relations manager, at (509-777-4703) []