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Seventeen diverse student-leaders earn Act Six leadership scholarships to attend Whitworth and Gonzaga universities

February 20, 2015

Whitworth and Gonzaga universities will welcome a total of 17 new Act Six Scholars to the incoming class of 2019; eight are from the greater Spokane area and nine are from the state’s west side. The nine scholars entering Whitworth and eight entering Gonzaga are among 70 Pacific Northwest students to receive full college scholarships as members of the latest Act Six cohort.

Selected through a rigorous three-month competition among nearly 900 applicants throughout the region, these diverse student-leaders were selected for their distinctive leadership, academic potential, and commitment to making a difference in their communities.

“I’m very honored to be a part of the next cadre of Act Six Scholars, and I could not be more excited to start college this fall,” says RaSasha Montgomery, a Central Valley High School senior who will attend Whitworth. “The Act Six program has already been such an enriching experience. I’m very thankful for the opportunities the program provides to continue my development as a future leader in our community.”

Other institutions receiving Act Six Scholars this year are 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 Tuesday, Feb. 24, at 6 p.m. at Gonzaga Preparatory School. The media and public are invited.

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, 61 cohorts of ethnically diverse and mostly first-generation, low-income Act Six Scholars from 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 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, more than 85 percent of the 556 scholars who have started college have graduated or are still enrolled – reflecting graduation and retention rates that far exceed national averages. Six Act Six Scholars have been elected as student-body presidents and others have been involved in numerous other leadership roles on campus and in the community.

Nearly 85 percent of Act Six alumni have brought their degrees back home to serve and lead in Northwest communities, and more than a quarter are pursuing or have earned graduate degrees. Together, these connected and educated alumni are forming a fabric of leadership that is working to make their communities more vibrant and just.

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

Spokane-Area Students
Siniva Areta, Joel E. Ferris High School
Kathy Au, John R. Rogers High School
Henadz Krukovich, John R. Rogers High School
Jennifer Phan, Gonzaga Preparatory School

Seattle-Tacoma Students
Loren Carrillo, Lincoln High School
Hawa Elias, Federal Way Senior High School
Joseph Jerome, Foster High School
Eloisa Serrano, Todd Beamer High School

Spokane-Area Students
Jeff Louissaint, Joel E. Ferris High School
RaSasha Montgomery, Central Valley High School
Anthony Rice, West Valley High School
Bao Tran, John R. Rogers High School

Seattle-Tacoma Students
Samantha Ayala, Highline Big Picture High School
Essance King, Seattle Urban Academy
Noah McDonald, Puyallup Senior High School
Anna Rodriguez, Federal Way Senior High School
Alejandra Silva-Avendano, Foster High School

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

Learn more about Act Six at


Alyson Atwater, Act Six Spokane program supervisor, YMCA of the Inland Northwest,
(509) 777-9622 ext. 413 or

Lawrence Burnley, assistant vice president for intercultural relations, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4215 or

Tim Herron, Act Six founder and president, Degrees of Change,
(253) 642-6712 or

Claire Silva, associate director of admission, Gonzaga University, (509) 313-6286 or