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Sixteen outstanding Los Angeles Unified School District sophomores received $20,000 college scholarships at the annual Warren Christopher Scholarship awards ceremony on Oct. 20.
For 27 years, O’Melveny law firm has awarded Warren Christopher Scholarships to exceptional LAUSD sophomores who embody the spirit of Christopher, the late O’Melveny Chairman and former U.S. Secretary of State, who championed higher education opportunities for disadvantaged students. This year’s scholars were selected from 123 nominees whose schools recognized their academic promise, record of community service and financial need.
“Our 2021 Scholar Class is a truly impressive group. Each student’s story is remarkable and their drive to succeed is inspirational,” said O’Melveny partner Cassandra Seto, who led the selection process. “It is an honor to support these ambitious students as they continue to strive for excellence. We hope this vote of confidence in their talent and determination will encourage them to keep dreaming big and help them achieve their goals.”
Michelle Artiga Rivera, a student at Girls Academic Leadership Academy, is among the 16 students to receive the award.
In fifth grade, Rivera became aware of the importance of safe neighborhoods and witnessed how injustices within her community served as barriers for positive change, so decided to make her community a better place.
Rivera began volunteering with Sunrise LA Youth, an organization for youth to fight climate change. Since then, she has volunteered with 14 campaigns.
“When I realized that I could use my skills and background, activism began feeling like my purpose,” Rivera said. “As I’ve continued with my activism, I’ve begun to feel like the work I do is more like a duty rather than a choice.
Since its inception, the Warren Christopher Scholarship Program has awarded more than $7 million in college scholarships to more than 250 Los Angeles-area students. The program recognizes rising academic stars in the 10th grade with the goal of motivating them to excel throughout high school and to attend and graduate from college.
Each scholar receives $5,000 a year during their four years in college. During the COVID-19 pandemic, scholars received additional support.
Warren Christopher Scholars have gone on to attend and graduate from some of the country’s most prestigious universities, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, Stanford, MIT, Duke and almost all of the UC schools. Many scholars are now teachers, public servants, doctors and lawyers.
The program is managed by the Warren Christopher Scholarship Committee and the California Community Foundation in Los Angeles.
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