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Los Angeles students among winners of CCSA scholarships

Craig Clough | March 18, 2016

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Lizbeth Cueva of Alliance Gertz-Ressler High School

Lizbeth Cuevas of Alliance Gertz-Ressler High School

Three Los Angeles charter school students were among the winners of $2,000 scholarships awarded at the 23rd Annual California Charter Schools Conference this week.

The 10 recipients of the Susan Steelman Bragato Scholarship Award have “a passion for community service and for reaching their educational dreams,” the California Charters Schools Association (CCSA), which hosted the conference, said in a statement.

The Los Angeles winners are Lizbeth Cuevas of Alliance Gertz-Ressler High SchoolAnahi Gutierrez of Animo Venice Charter High School and Ricardo Lopez of Synergy Quantum Academy.

The conference took place Monday through Thursday at the Long Beach Convention Center and was attended by over 4,000 educators and charter school leaders from around the state.

CCSA provided the following information on the three students:

  • Cuevas: Lizbeth describes herself as a Latina immigrant, whose father was a construction laborer and mother sold the family jewelry to help pay rent. Her parents were never able to help Lizbeth with academics, but they supported and encouraged her in life. Lizbeth consistently earns high academic grades and finds herself on the Dean’s List and Honor Roll. She is an active volunteer at her school and in the community, engaging in activities such as cleaning up downtown Los Angeles and creating gardens. She plans to earn a college degree to become a teacher and help other Latina immigrants like her find their voice.
  •  Gutierrez: Anahi was born and raised in West Los Angeles as a first-generation Mexican-American in a home where Spanish is the predominant language. As the daughter of immigrant parents, she has witnessed their struggles, which shape her dreams and aspirations to attend college and become a nurse. Anahi takes six Advanced Placement courses, consistently places on the Honor Roll and participates in several clubs and committees. She is also a team player on the volleyball court and runs for the gold on the cross-country team. Anahi worked as a summer youth intern at the Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Hospital where she assisted nurses and delivered meals to patients at the Family Care Center.
  • Lopez: Ricardo credits his father for always encouraging him to learn as much as possible in order to provide value to others in life. He plans to attend college and change the world through engineering and by inventing new technologies. Ricardo has participated in the MESA engineering program for three years and interned at Northrop Grumman in the electronic engineering department during the summer of 2015. He plans to return to the organization every summer until he graduates from college and becomes a full-time employee. Other than his engineering activities, Ricardo participates in Uncensored, a club that focuses on social issues and ways to give back to the community. He is also a member of the weightlifting club and part of the Los Angeles Police Department cadet program.

The other winners of the scholarship are Christopher Huebner of University Preparatory School in Redding, Jian Hao of Oakland Charter High School in Oakland, Lucerito Lopez of High Tech High North County in San Marcos, Melissa Murdock of Charter University Prep in Placerville, Katherine Najar Velazquez of Gompers Preparatory Academy in San Diego, Michael Regla of San Jacinto Valley Academy in Heme and Keelan Winter of Springs Charter School in Temecula.

The scholarship is named in honor of Susan Steelman Bragato, the co-founder of the first charter school in California and the founder of the California Network of Educational Charters (which was renamed the California Charter Schools Association in 2003). Steelman Bragato was one of the first people to recognize the importance of building a strong network of support among charter school leaders statewide. She also organized the first California Charter Schools Conference. She died in 2005 at the age of 47.


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