Meet our 2014 Scholarship Winners

Salvador Alvarado, Berkmar High School (Lawrenceville, GA)
“Lack of resources, a fragmented family and a violence infested community” are only part of the struggles that Salvador Alvarado, native of El Salvador, used as fuel to feed his strong appetite for success. This 2014 graduate of Berkmar High School understood that in order to bring change to his life he couldn’t conform to being a simple “bystander“ and as President of the National Honor Society at Berkmar, spearheaded many community service projects while maintaining a 3.91 GPA. Salvador later attended Mount Washington College in pursuit of a law degree. Congratulations Salvador!



Carlos Escobar, Pebblebrook High School (Mableton, GA)
Transitioning to middle school was especially important for this 2014 Cruz Scholar because after two years struggling to keep up in school without speaking English, Carlos Escobar finally understood what his teachers were saying. With the help of classmates and caring teachers, Carlos caught on quick and in no time was making Honor Roll consistently. In 2014, Carlos graduated top of his class as Valedictorian at Pebblebrook High School in Mableton, GA. His journey has not been easy and he continued to work through obstacles in his quest for higher education. We salute your commitment to academic excellence Carlos. Congratulations!



Lizaremi Luna-Sousa, Chamblee High School (Chamblee, GA)
Lizaremi’s parents fled their poverty stricken village in search of a new and better life for their children. Seeing her parents struggle to make ends meet was not lost on Lizaremi, she used their hardship as motivation to excel in all of her academic endeavors. “There were many obstacles for me when I came to this country; language, culture, financial difficulties, but I knew there were only two choices, give up or persevere” Lizaremi’s commitment to education resulted in an impressive academic resume that includes membership in the National Governor’s Honors Program, National Honors Society, National Hispanic Honors Society and National Science Honors Society. She graduated as Valedictorian at Chamblee Charter High School and attended Cornell University to pursue a career in neurology. Because of her dedication to education, we were proud to honor her as a ‪#‎2014CruzScholar


Ivan Sanchez – Marietta High School (Marietta, GA)
Accepted to Emory University, Brown University, Georgia Tech and the University of Pennsylvania, this Marietta High School graduate and Gates Millennium Scholars understood very well when his mother told him, “la educación es la clave del éxito” Ivan Sanchez is not only a stand out scholar, but participates in countless student organizations and community service projects in his community, especially those that focus on elevating other Hispanic children. Proud of his Mexican roots, Ivan hopes to motivate other Hispanic students to “achieve their goals” despite the circumstances they might be facing. We are honored to have Ivan as a 2014 #CruzScholar. Congratulations Ivan!



Angela Ponce (Central High School, Phoenix, AZ)
My name is Angela Ponce and I am a recent graduate from the University of Arizona. I earned a Bachelor’s in Science majoring in Nutritional Sciences and minoring in Biochemistry. I was the first Cruz Scholarship recipient from Arizona and it has definitely been an honor! I am currently working at Abrazo Heart Institute while I wait to hear back from the Peace Corps and hopefully spend two years in Albania as a health volunteer. After that, I hope to apply to Physician Assistant school. I absolutely love to dance and have taught dance classes throughout the Phoenix and South Tucson area and plan to keep dance as a part of my life for as long as I possibly can!



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