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Students honored at Rosa Park Scholarship ceremony
Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Students honored at Rosa Park Scholarship ceremony

Melissa Guida (left) and Arielys Mendoza (right), winners of Rosa Parks Scholarships, joins Jellema Stewart, director of the Center for Multicultural Affairs, at the conclusion of the awards ceremony. Award recipients received a framed Rosa Parks Bus Token, which Stewart displays. (Missing from photo is award recipient Kenneth Clause.)

Four students, including recipients of three Rosa Parks Scholarships, were honored at the 25th annual Rosa Parks Scholarship and Presentation Ceremony held on Tuesday, March 4, in the Williams Center Multipurpose Room.

Receiving scholarships named in honor of Parks, often considered the mother of the modern American Civil Rights Movement, were: Kenneth Clause, a senior Drawing and Painting major from Lockport, who entered a painting, “American Indian Identity;” Melissa Guida, a junior Psychology and Criminal Justice major from Fishkill, who entered a poem, “Lo Siento, No Hablo Espanol;” and Arielys Mendoza, a first-year student from the Bronx majoring in Cooperative Engineering, who wrote “All I Wanted.”

The scholarships, valued at $350, were given to each of the three students. Their entries were selected from a field of 22 submissions.

Jellema Stewart, director of the Center for Multicultural Affairs, said Parks believed each person must live his/her life as a model for others. All scholarship winners and participants alike affirm that principle. “Being a model means taking a stand for what someone believes in; the students at SUNY Fredonia have excelled in doing that with the Rosa Parks Scholarships,” she said. “Our winners this year have lived out Rosa Parks’ dream for cultural equality and pluralism.”

Guida was also given the Michael A. Garcia Award, named in honor of the late brother of Rosa Parks Scholarship founder Vivian Garcia. Michael Garcia was an attorney in Washington, D.C. who fought against discrimination against people living with HIV and Aids.

“This award symbolized a particular effort put forth by one of our winners to shed light on injustices and make a difference in such a struggling time of equality,” Stewart said.

The CMA’s Choice Award went to Stephanie Ward, a senior Theatre major from Burnt Hills, who wrote the essay, “Original Sin.” She was given a $100 gift card.

In honor of Women’s History Month, Stewart recognized three women: Dr. Virginia Horvath, the first woman to serve as president of SUNY Fredonia; Monica White, the first African American to serve as Associate Vice President of Student Affairs; and Dr. Vivian Garcia, for continuing her legacy of the Rosa Parks Scholarship through the CMA.

All award recipients were given a framed Rosa Parks Bus Token to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the scholarship at SUNY Fredonia.

Serving as judges for this year’s scholarships were: Dr. Bill Boerner, Dr. Brian Boisvert, Rachel LaPaglia, Sandra Lewis, Dr. Heather McEntarfer, Dr. Shazad Mohammed and CMA intern Makayla Santiago.

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