“I want to become a school counselor to help other youth understand the importance of education… As a school counselor, I will be able to counsel students about the power of their choices and teach them the same skills that helped me to succeed. The Words Alive Westreich Scholarship will help me to further my education and effectively use my personal experiences to relate to students.”
—Brittany Jackson, Words Alive Westreich Scholar & Mentor
Here at Words Alive, we are incredibly excited to announce our Words Alive Westreich Scholars for the 2019-2020 school year! The transition from high school to college is difficult enough as it is, but when you have to navigate housing and food insecurity, child care, a lack of positive adult mentors, and much more, succeeding in school becomes that much harder. We all deserve to pursue our passions through education, and all our our scholars exemplify how a little support can go a long way.
Brittany Jackson was a Words Alive Westreich Scholar all throughout her time at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She developed a strong relationship with her Words Alive mentor, Sarah Archibald, who helped her along the way. She graduated, came back to San Diego, and then started volunteering with us as a mentor. Now, as she pursues her Masters at the University of San Diego, she has become a Words Alive first by being both a scholar and a mentor in the program!
Lexi, Zaphire, and Domminiece all graduated with Associate’s degrees last May and all started at San Diego State University this past fall. Just like the transition from high school to community college, the transition from community college to a four-year university presents its own challenges. They all struggled in their own ways but in their struggle learned more about themselves and what they needed to do to succeed. Along the way, our WAWS workshops provided support in terms of professional and personal development, and helped them learned skills such as time management, networking, and financial literacy.
Janett, one of our first-year scholars, went back to high school in her early 20s and is now earning her diploma. She is dedicated to using her lived experiences to relate to students and guide them on a positive path as a school counselor.
Each one of our scholars has a story like this — full of perseverance, passion, and determination. With help from the Words Alive Westreich Scholarship through financial, professional development, and mentor support, we are so excited to see what they do in their next chapter.
Learn more about each one of our scholars below!
Paulina Aguilar-Lino is a returning scholar and a student at Southwestern College. She is studying Recording Arts & Technology.
“The Words Alive Westreich Scholarship has helped me greatly as well in remaining determined to accomplish my goals. I’ve learned that all I really need is within my heart and my heart is always with my family.”
Zaphire Alonso is a returning scholar and a student at San Diego State University. She is studying Social Work.
“This experience showed me that I am determined and capable of overcoming any adversity in my life. The sensation of my future being in limbo helped me find solutions and manage the problem.”
Rose Gonzalez is a returning scholar and a student at San Diego State University. She is studying Criminal Justice.
“I have learned through this experience not to take my education and the opportunities offered to me for granted, such as my Guardian Scholars and Words Alive Westreich Scholarships. I am committed to succeeding in my academic work.”
Diana Gonzalez-Soto is a returning scholar and a student at San Diego City College. She is studying English.
“I learned that I possess the skills of leadership, advocacy, communication, collaboration, determination and resilience. I believe my story is unique, I know my experience is not common. This experience taught me that all my roles in society, student, mother, social justice activist, give me the qualifications to help build a better world and pave the way for the next generation.”
Ulises Izucar is a returning scholar and a student at Point Loma Nazarene University. He is studying Graphic Design with an Illustration Concentration.
“I learned how to handle myself better and how to reach out to friends and mentors. I learned to speak up and ask for help when I need it and not to be ashamed of it.”
Brittany Jackson is a returning scholar and is pursuing her Masters at the University of San Diego. She is studying School Counseling, PPS.
“I grew up in an environment that glorified gangs and drugs over an education… An education taught me critical thinking skills I need to succeed, not only in school, but also in life. For example, school taught me that I have an aptitude for helping others, and I am happiest when I am doing so.”
Lexi Martinez is a returning scholar and a student at San Diego State University. She is studying Social Work.
“One resource provided by the Words Alive Westreich Scholarship that I am eternally grateful for is our mentors. At this point in my semester I turned to Sarah, my amazing mentor, for guidance… With Sarah’s help we made a set of guidelines for a more successful semester.”
Itzel Nuñez is a returning scholar and a student at San Diego City College. She is studying Administration of Justice/Paralegal.
“This experience taught me an important life lesson: to take risks on opportunities even though I believe I am not qualified.”
Janett Penaloza is a first-year scholar and a student at San Diego City College. She is studying Counseling and Therapy.
“There are too many youth in the neighborhood who feel and believe they are alone in their struggles. They are not. This is why I must give back and be a part of society to make a positive change. I have persevered, I am motivated, I am focused, I believe in myself because education had taught me that knowledge is power and that power is a positive change.”
Daimeon Rodriguez is a returning scholar and a student at San Diego City College. He is studying Software and Computer Engineering.
“I believe I have improved and have more purpose moving forward to a bright, happy, prosperous future with whatever comes my way.”
Esther Servin is a first-year scholar and a student at Palomar College. She is studying Mechanics.
“I had an epiphany and realized that the things that I wanted to do were not a smart way to move forward and that I had to do something so that my children could gain more than street life knowledge… I learned that attending school could get me out of the street life and getting an education could help my community.”
Lanyra Smith is a first-year scholar and a student at San Diego City College. She is studying Psychology.
“I am firmly committed at this point to pursuing a career in the field of psychology… I know that I am passionate about mental health and dedicated to giving back to my people and my community.”
Antonise Stewart is a returning scholar and a student at San Diego City College. She is studying Information Security.
“It may be scary, I may stumble along the way but I can’t always waste my life worrying about the what ifs. Helping that student, I acknowledged that fear was my weakness and once knowing that I can grow from this flaw to become a stronger, better me.”
Andrea Vasquez is a first-year scholar and a student at Grossmont. She is studying Biology.
“I know that becoming a doctor won’t be easy, but I also know that it can be done if I am committed to accomplishing my goal… This entire process will take quite some time but I’m ready to go through with it until the very end if it means making myself, my sisters, and, most importantly, my mom proud.”
Domminiece Willis is a returning scholar and a student at San Diego State University. She is studying Child Development.
“I have grown to learn that despite my hardships, I have achieved so much greatness. The odds have been against me, and I have overcome them…My sun will always shine at the end of the rainstorms and the greater my struggles, the more glorious my triumphs will be.”
To recognize the 2019-2020 scholarship recipients, Words Alive will host its annual Words Alive Westreich Scholarship Awards Ceremony from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 4 at San Diego Central Library, 330 Park Blvd. in downtown San Diego. Mark your calendars and join us in celebrating these incredible scholars!