Angela Vasquez is the middle child of three born to immigrant parents from Columbia (mother) and El Salvador (father). While at Cristo Rey, Angela has excelled in academics, receiving first honors each semester. She has been active in many extracurricular activities including altar serving, garden club, catechism teacher, parish youth leader, yearbook and National Honor Society.
In her corporate work study experience she stood apart with her “tremendous integrity, diligence and persistence”. One supervisor wrote: “Angela Vasquez embodies every single salient characteristic required to assure her great success in her quest to make a difference in the lives of children and the communities where they live.”
We are excited to follow Angela in the next stage of her journey as she begins her studies this fall at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
2019 EWNET AYISSA
Ewnet Ayissa was 13 years old when he moved to Atlanta with his father from Ethiopia; his mother remained in Jimma. At a young age, Ewnet found himself in a new country, at a new school, learning a new language and taking on many of the duties his mother would have handled: cooking, cleaning, laundry. While juggling these activities and the challenges of school, Ewnet worked weekends at Publix.
As one teacher wrote: “Ewnet’s parents sacrificed…because their goal for him was to get a first-class education. He will be the first member in his family to graduate from high school and attend college”. Ewnet writes, “By overcoming the challenges of establishing a life half-a-world away from home, I needed to be mentally and physically strong… Working towards what is important may seem impossible, but it is key. Things may be overwhelming, but if we have faith in God, He will lead us --- one step at a time.”
At Cristo Rey, Ewnet found great comfort in soccer which he plans to continue next year as a freshman at Oglethorpe University.
2018 DARIANA RUZ
On May 17, 2018, Dariana Ruiz was named the second 2018 Madeleine Jude Brown Scholar. Dariana is a member of the first graduating class from the Cristo Rey Jesuit High School where she followed a rigorous curriculum including 6 advanced placement and 5 honors classes. In addition to excelling academically, Dariana spent one day each week working with a corporate sponsor and four evenings each week at a community job to help with family expenses. How did she manage it all, we asked. “I keep a planner!!!”
Daraina has developed a keen interest in writing (she won a Georgia statewide writing contest for St. Patrick’s Day), limb prosthetics and car shows. She hopes to study biomedical engineering.
“Even though the world seems to be filled with darkness at times, there are people that shine with a bright light.” We are looking forward to following this bright light during the next phase of her amazing journey.
Read more about Cristo Rey, an innovative, college preparatory school that combines a rigorous academic curriculum with a corporate work experience, at http://www.cristoreyatlanta.org.
2018 LISBETH VILLEGAS
On April 19, 2018, Lisbeth Villegas was named the 10th Madeleine Jude Brown Scholar during the Senior Awards Ceremony at Tucker High School. In addition to a successful academic record at Tucker, Lisbeth was active in HOPE (Hispanic Organization Promoting Education), the National Honor Society and the Arab Cultural Society. Outside of school, she was a math tutor and a leader in PRIME TIME at the Tucker Public Library. PRIME TIME encourages reading and love of the library among children and their families especially those who speak Spanish as their first language. One teacher wrote: “Lisbeth is one of the kindest and most mature students I have had at the high school level… She is well-liked among faculty and peers. Her character is beyond her years.” In addition to the Madeleine Jude Brown Scholarship, Lisbeth received the Oglethorpe Power Scholarship and the Wyonda Pringley Scholarship and was named top 10% of the graduating class. Lisbeth plans to attend Mercer University where she hopes to follow a pre-Law course of studies.
2017 JANKI PATEL
Janki Patel moved to the United States when she was 13 years old, originally settling in Thomasville, North Carolina. After 2 years, the family relocated to Georgia. The transition to high school in America initially was challenging because “everyone talked so fast!” but Janki quickly caught on and finished Tucker with a 4.0 GPA. She became very active in volunteer work, particularly with Habitat for Humanity and Samaj Seva, an Indian organization that meets weekly to package food for homeless families. “Helping comfort someone else will change your view of them”, she writes. “These extracurricular activities have taught me a life lesson of helping.” Janki heads to the University of Georgia in August where she hopes to begin working toward a medical career.
2016 APOORVA THAPA
Apoorva Thapa was born in Kathmandu, Nepal and attended the United World College in Montezuma, New Mexico for his final two years of secondary education. UWC-USA is one of 15 campuses located on five continents and combines a rigorous IB academic curriculum with an experiential, hands-on approach to learning. A two-year residential school, UWC-USA serves students age 16-19 who typically represent more than 70 different countries. Apoorva was one of 12 students selected for a trip to Mexico to study and discuss border issues first hand. He also spent a summer in Morocco on scholarship from the Student Diplomacy Corps where he studied Moroccan culture, and the ways music can act as a medium that "bridges the gaps between cultures and continents". Apoorva graduated from UWC in May 2017 and received a full scholarship to the University of Florida.
“Now that all is (almost) said and done, MJB has undoubtedly changed the course of my life for the better, for which I am ever so grateful. In the future, I sincerely hope I can give back to the foundation in some way or the other. If the foundation ever needs a volunteer to help sort papers and run errands, I will only be two hours away and more than happy!”
2016 FERDOUS ABDUL QUDUS
Ferdous Abdul Qudus and his family emigrated to the United States from Tajikistan when he was four years old. He was one of the first in his family to learn English and by the time he was seven, he was helping to conduct financial transactions for the family. On weekends during middle and high school, Ferdous continued to help Middle Eastern refugees navigate the legal system and complete paperwork. In the process, he developed a deep appreciation for America and the value of education. He graduated from Tucker High School with an International Baccalaureate diploma and began Emory University in the fall of 2016.
2015 SIMON CHANG
Simon Chang was awarded the 7th Madeleine Jude Brown Scholarship on April 29, 2015. Simon graduated from Tucker High School with an International Baccalaureate diploma and a 4.12 GPA. He was the recipient of the Presidential Academic Excellence Award, the University of Georgia Academic Award and the Oglethorpe Power Award. In addition to his studies, Simon was a member of the varsity tennis team, tutored at both Midvale Elementary School and the Tucker Chinese Christian Church and was an active member of the National Wildlife Federation. While excelling academically and in extracurricular activities, it was Simon’s thankfulness, compassion, generosity and leadership that most impressed his teachers and the MJB committee. Simon entered the University of Georgia in August 2015.
Simon spent part of the summer 2017 with the Atlantis Project Pre-Med Fellowship Program shadowing doctors at the Hospital Clinico Universitario Santiago de Compostela, Spain. “I was able to experience healthcare from a different perspective since it's nationalized in Spain. My favorite part was interacting with new people and being exposed to their culture!”
Simon has completed junior year at UGA, majoring in Exercise Science in the degree program for Physical Therapy.
2013 ANIYA HAMILTON
Aniya’s determination, faith and exuberant joyfulness made her an excellent candidate to receive the MJB Scholarship in 2013. The second-oldest sister in a single-parent household, Aniya learned to shoulder a large amount of responsibility from a young age. Despite a busy home life, she managed to pursue an International Baccalaureate degree which involved advanced college-level courses and considerable extracurricular service projects. In addition, Aniya competed in both Varsity volleyball and Varsity basketball and in Senior year was elected captain of both teams. Graduating with a 4.35 GPA and numerous awards, Aniya began her studies at the University of Georgia in August 2013.
Aniya had a stellar career at UGA, majoring in Environmental Sciences, maintaining the Zell Miller Hope Scholarship and graduating with Honors. While achieving academic excellence, Aniya also managed to play intramural volleyball and basketball and at least one of her teams won the school championship! She spent two semesters studying in Ghana. But most impressively, Aniya mentored an elementary student in the community for three years.
Aniya has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will be stationed in Togo, West Africa for two years.
2012 MELANIE MCCALL
Melanie’s excellent academic record and compassionate spirit contributed to her selection for the MJB scholarship. She was elected to the National Honor Society in 10th grade and graduated in the top 10% of her class with an International Baccalaureate diploma. Melanie also directed her talent and energy towards helping others. During her junior year she co-founded iHeart, Inc, and organized a 5K race to raise funds for a friend undergoing heart transplantation.
Melanie graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a degree in Computational Media. She was president of the Salsa Club. Throughout her college career, Melanie spent Saturdays teaching computer coding to 3rd, 4th and 5th graders at Kids4Coding. She made many connections in the Atlanta coding community and in 2016 was invited to Boston to be a counselor at a coding camp sponsored by Microsoft.
Melanie, who co-authored the MJB manual, Making the Jump to College, was invited to speak to the Tucker seniors and their parents at the Top 10% Ceremony. She described the evolution of her own attitude towards education and how her priorities have changed. Her top tips for the seniors: 1) Relax… you are already impressive, 2) Call home, 3) Failing is not the end of the road; it’s part of the journey, and 4) Be more than a GPA. Melanie now works at Turner Broadcasting/CNN designing web user interfaces.
2011 RAVEN OSBORNE
Raven’s commitment to educating and mentoring others exhibits the principals of the MJB foundation. During high school, Raven became the Lead Advisor of the non-profit Girl Talk, where she mentored nearly 30 middle-school girls on self-awareness and responsible decision making. The discussion topics included: Being Real, Cliques, Bullying, Goal Setting and Relationships. Raven graduated from Kennesaw State University with a degree in Psychology in December 2017.
2010 BEA PRIBBENOW
Bea’s artistic talent, thoughtfulness and vision made her a recipient of the MJB Scholarship. As a child Bea enjoyed creating her own toys and this activity later influenced her decision to become an artist. After graduating from Tucker High and receiving the MJB Scholarship, Bea went on to attend the Savannah College of Art and Design. She graduated magna cum laude in 2014 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interactive Game Design. She created a tabletop game called “Grow” that has competed at numerous conventions and festivals.
2009 YEMESRACH TADESSE
Yemesrach Tadesse’s life has been full of incredible challenges, to which she has always responded with determination and hope. Growing up in Ethiopia, Yemesrach lost her parents at a young age. She and her siblings were adopted by her uncle in Atlanta and she attended Tucker High. While at Tucker, Yemi excelled academically, served as the Student Government President and founded the Tucker High School Mentoring Program.
Graduating Tucker at the top 1% of her class, Yemi went on to attend Emory University, studying economics and anthropology. She graduated from Emory University in December 2013 and currently lives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where she is a Partnership Manager for Iceaddis, which is the first technology innovation hub in Ethiopia. She is working with several international corporations including the British Council, Harvard Business School, and the International Research and Exchange Corporation.
In preparation for the 2017 G20 Conference, German Development Minister Dr Gerd Müller hosted the One World No Hunger Policy Forum in Berlin on April 27 and 28 with the goal of highlighting the need to reduce world hunger by creating jobs and better prospects for young people in rural areas. A number of international dignitaries attended. Yemi was one of 31 young people from Africa invited to Germany to participate in the crafting of the Berlin Charter.