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DCCCD Honors Student Scholars, Leaders


For immediate release — Sept. 20, 2010

(DALLAS) — Role models often are adults who inspire students, children and their friends to help others and contribute to their communities. Six Dallas County Community College District students are turning that perception around, demonstrating their ability to serve as role models because they are making a difference where they live and go to school.

Some have served as scout leaders, AVID volunteers and tutors; others have led high school athletic teams, overcome learning disabilities to succeed or served as elementary school teaching assistants. They have inspired other students, as well as DCCCD faculty, staff and administrators; as a result, these six individuals have been named 2010-2011 LeCroy Scholarship recipients by the DCCCD Foundation for their outstanding leadership and academic achievements. The program honors DCCCD’s former chancellor, Dr. R. Jan LeCroy, who served in that capacity from 1981 to 1988. Each LeCroy Scholar receives up to $4,000 ($1,000 per semester, with a maximum of four semesters) to attend any one of DCCCD’s seven colleges: Brookhaven, Cedar Valley, Eastfield, El Centro, Mountain View, North Lake or Richland.

The LeCroy Scholars fund was made possible by a grant established in 1988 by Mike A. Myers and the Mike Myers Foundation. A longtime Dallas business and civic leader, he provided funds to recognize LeCroy’s leadership; the program was the first major student recognition and incentive scholarship created for DCCCD. Myers currently is chairman and president of the Myers Financial Corporation.

The scholarship recipients, the colleges they attend and their chosen fields of study are:

  • Rachael Bergman of Garland, Eastfield College, marine biology/environmental science;
  • Saile Estrada of Farmers Branch, Brookhaven College, sociology;
  • Ana Juarez of Carrollton, Brookhaven College, civil engineering;
  • Thong H. Luong of Dallas, Richland College, kinesiology;
  • Lacey Wells of Rowlett, Eastfield College, education; and
  • Matthew Wilson of Richardson, Richland College, business.

Three other DCCCD students are returning 2009-2010 LeCroy Scholars as well:

  • Taylor Eubanks of Coppell, North Lake College, business;
  • Melody Sadjadi of Dallas, Brookhaven College, nursing; and
  • Hannah Smith of Farmers Branch, Brookhaven College, business.

Visit the DCCCD Foundation website to learn how to apply for a DCCCD LeCroy Scholarship.

For more information, contact Kathye Hammontree in the DCCCD Foundation office at (214) 378-1536.

(Biographical sketches for new LeCroy Scholars are provided below.)

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Press contact: Ann Hatch
or Kathye Hammontree


Dallas County Community College District
2010-2011 LeCroy Scholars
Biographical Sketches

Rachael Bergman — Rachael Bergman, a resident of Garland, was an honor graduate at Rockwall High School in 2009 and has a 4.0 grade point average at Eastfield College, where she wants to major in marine biology and environmental studies. Eventually, she plans to become an environmental lawyer so that she can save marine life. She has been accepted as a member of the academic honoraries Phi Theta Kappa and Sigma Kappa Delta. A National Science Foundation STEP scholar, Bergman is a Presidential Service Award recipient; the vice president of the Environmental Studies Club; and a Student Leadership Academy gold medal recipient in high school. She believes that “a good leader must be hardworking, responsible and trustworthy” — traits she seeks to emulate. A former AVID volunteer tutor in both high school and college, Bergman is involved in a number of clubs that provide community service. One of her favorite quotes is, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Saile Estrada — Farmers Branch resident Saile Estrada attends Brookhaven College, where she is majoring in sociology and has a 4.0 GPA. Also interested in graphic design, Saile graduated from high school last fall and was an honor roll student; she also is actively involved in Brookhaven’s Student Government Association and is a Six-Star Leadership member. Estrada is a certified soccer coach for the Special League, helping 18-to-30-year-old adults who have disabilities. She also has medaled and earned trophies in tae kwon do and served as a demonstration team member for Master Kim’s World Class Tae Kwon Do. One of her lifelong goals is to create a foundation for children who live in third-world countries so that they can have the same educational opportunities that she has had. “My goal is to be able to define myself through my experiences and to begin a career where I can make a difference in the lives of many people,” she says.

Ana Juarez — Brookhaven College student Ana Juarez plans to become a civil engineer. The Carrollton resident, who has a 4.0 GPA, recently graduated from R.L. Turner High School with a 3.94 GPA. At Turner, she helped create a program to reduce the high school drop-out rate; she also was an active member of the National Honor Society and the mathematics honorary Mu Alpha Theta, and she served as a volunteer for the DFW chapter of the Marine Corps Reserves’ program “Toys for Tots.” Juarez, who has been an honor roll student since ninth grade, received an Excellence and Citizenship Award. Raised in a close-knit immigrant family from Guatemala who struggled to make ends meet, Ana follows in the footsteps of two older sisters who attended DCCCD and were LeCroy Scholars, too — Liz and Pamela. Both have gone on to pursue degrees at area universities, and Ana, who wants to serve as a role model for young girls, plans to walk that path, too. “Education is the key to a successful and better life,” she says. “All of my life I’ve known that I’m capable of achieving everything I put my mind to, and that despite all of the adversities of life, your dreams can come true as long as you have faith and drive.”

Thong H. Luong — Kinesiology major Thong H. Luong starts his college career this fall at Richland College after graduating from J.J. Pearce High School this spring. At Pearce, he was captain of the varsity wrestling team and also volunteered his time in 2009 as a Vacation Bible School group leader. He also was a Mustang Star; earned a varsity letter and other awards in wrestling; and was involved in the Junior Achievement program. He and his family immigrated to the United States when he was 13, and his mother worked from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. to help her family make ends meet. Remembering those days, Thong says, “Now I want to return something to her in the future by getting a college degree.” He did not become a serious scholar until his senior year in high school, when he found motivation in the Bible. Luong, who hopes to become a physical therapist, adds, “I can change my future, and I’m looking forward to that day.”

Lacey Wells — Lacey Wells, a resident of Rowlett, attends Eastfield College and is majoring in education. Her career goal is to combine the fields of education and fashion by bringing fashion electives to middle school students. A spring 2010 graduate of Rowlett High School, Wells participated in the school’s Elementary Teaching Internship program; won the 2008-2009 Outstanding Student of the Year Award – Apparel; and participated in Family Career Community Leadership of America. An honor roll student, she enjoyed student teaching through the ETI program and decided to combine that experience with work in fashion as a future career path. Wells also has been involved in Venturing, a youth development program for young men and women, ages 14 to 21, through Boy Scouts of America. Venturing members learn and apply leadership skills; they also can serve as Venturing Crew officers when they are elected by others in the program. Lacey served as secretary, vice president of programs, treasurer and two terms as president of her Venturing Crew. “I think it is important to know how to lead. ... It has allowed me to see things in a different way,” she says.

Matthew Wilson — Richland College student Matthew Wilson starts his first year of college this fall, pursuing a degree in business. A spring 2010 graduate of L.V. Berkner High School, he is an Eagle Scout, a member of the Order of the Arrow and a former member of the Berkner Mighty Ram Band. A mentor to younger scouts and to other band members, he says, “I demonstrated leadership qualities ... and set an example.” He also was a member of the National Honor Society and captain of the UIL history team. Wilson recalls, “My leadership skills have been tested repeatedly throughout the years, in scouting and band, and on the history team. ... I feel as though, through my leadership, I have taught my scouts well and — although I have timed out as their leader — they can fill the gap I left behind and lead new scouts.” During his years in the Boy Scouts of America, Wilson served as an assistant senior patrol leader and a troop guide. Under Wilson’s leadership, Troop 751 earned a number of awards and honors.

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