By Tara Schmidt
Class of 2012
As students and their families struggle to meet the rising cost of higher education, eight student leaders from Spokane and the Puget Sound area gratefully look forward to attending Gonzaga this fall as freshmen with scholarships the University provides through the innovative Act Six program.
Act Six was created in 2002 by the Northwest Leadership Foundation in partnership with select, faith-based colleges to develop emerging student leaders to be agents of transformation on campus and in their home communities. The program aims to create new faces in leadership.
The eight new Act Six scholars will join Gonzaga’s first cadre of eight Act Six students who completed their freshman year earlier this month. Tracy Ellis, director of the Unity Multicultural Education Center at Gonzaga, has already made connections with the incoming cadre this spring to help them transition and build upon the college preparatory training they receive from the Foundation before coming to Gonzaga.
The scholars are among 33 students statewide – 14 from the Spokane area and 19 from the Puget Sound region – who will receive the full scholarships to participating independent colleges in the state of Washington. Collectively, the scholarships will provide nearly $5 million in financial aid over four years.
Since Act Six was created, 12 cadres of scholars from urban Tacoma, Seattle and Spokane have enrolled at five Washington colleges. Ninety-two percent of the 107 original Act Six scholars have graduated or remain enrolled, reflecting graduation and retention rates well above national averages.
Gonzaga’s Act Six Incoming Freshmen
- Rene Alvarez Jr., Washington High School (Tacoma )
- Devanta Black, Highline High School (Burien)
- Michaela Brown, Gonzaga Prep (Spokane)
- Justin Garcia, Gonzaga Prep (Spokane)
- Myra Questel, Lakes High School (Tacoma)
- Mohamed Sambou, Evergreen High School (Vancouver)
- Leah Simeon, North Central High School (Spokane)
- Cathy Truong, Central Valley High School (Spokane Valley)
Gonzaga’s Act Six Sophomores
- Ylisse Bess, Bellarmine Prep (Tacoma)
- Mercedes Hayes, Kent-Meridian High (Kent)
- Anna Hester, Washington High School (Tacoma )
- Rachel Ku, Henry Foss High School (Tacoma)
- Jasmine Linane-Booey, Shadle Park High (Spokane)
- Oscar Marmolejo, University High (Spokane Valley)
- Edwin Torres, Gonzaga Prep (Spokane)
- Thuy-Anh Vo, Gonzaga Prep (Spokane)