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First-generation college student receives Chromebook...and another surprise

Photo Credit: Standard-Examiner

From Ariana, Community School Coordinator at Ogden High School:

In early November, Madeline (Community Schools Director at UWNU and Ogden School District) informed the secondary CSCs that United Way of Salt Lake would be granting our Secondary Community School Team 40 brand new Chromebooks to give to deserving students. According to Amy Terpstra, VP of Collective Impact Partnerships, at United Way of Salt Lake, the distribution of Chromebooks was made possible because of donations from Mark & Kathie Miller and the Call Foundation. Two companies, Comcast and Ioxo, helped UWSL get the Chromebooks at a discount. 

When I began to search for recipients, I wanted to find underrepresented students who would benefit immensely now and after high school. I sought nominations for first-generation graduating students who were economically disadvantaged, on track for graduation, and intended to pursue some type of education after high school.

So I immediately turned to our OHS TRIO advisor Jesus Garcia for help. He sent me a list of five students who were all seniors and participated in the TRIO (low-income, first-generation students) program.

One of those students was Mariah Jimenez at OHS. Mariah works 15 hours a week to support her extracurricular activities and her college fund – she plans to attend Southern Utah University for nursing in the fall.

Mariah plays tennis, takes AP courses and has taken many concurrent enrollment classes. She will graduate OHS with 25 credits at Weber State University. I knew she could use a laptop, but due to the pandemic, getting it to her was a challenge.

When I finally called her into my office and told her about the Chromebook, she was in shock and her face just lit up with a big smile. She left my office with her permission slip in hand, and the very next day she brought it right back and picked up her new device.

But the story doesn't end there. The same day she received the Chromebook, she learned that she was awarded the $25,000 Horatio Alger Scholarship.

Thousands of students apply for this award nationally, and only 106 get awarded. Only four other students in OSD have ever gotten this award – and one of them was Mariah's brother!

Mariah may be one of only a few to receive this award, but she is one of the most deserving. Congratulations, Mariah! We know you'll continue to do amazing things in college and in your chosen profession."

Read more about Mariah in this Standard-Examiner article. Want to help support Community Schools or other UWNU work? You can donate here.

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