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Contact: Ann Hatch
Kathye Hammontree

For immediate release — Aug. 28, 2013

Editors’ note: Students’ hometowns (which are included in the biographical sketches for new recipients) include Coppell, Dallas, Mesquite and Garland.

(DALLAS) — The unsung heroes in many communities are people who volunteer their time and quietly change other people’s lives — efforts that often go unnoticed. Some of those unsung heroes are students in the Dallas County Community College District who demonstrate their ability to serve as role models because they are making a difference where they live and go to school.

Some have served as church volunteers, student government leaders or political campaign volunteers; others have served their communities by helping with food and clothing drives, fundraising for cancer research, and assisting at other places — such as homeless shelters — where their talents help children and adults alike. They have inspired other students, as well as DCCCD faculty, staff and administrators; as a result, eight students have been named 2013-2014 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. Students selected as LeCroy Scholars receive full tuition and books for up to four semesters. All recipients may attend any one of the seven colleges in the DCCCD system: Brookhaven, Cedar Valley, Eastfield, El Centro, Mountain View, North Lake and Richland.

The LeCroy Scholars fund was established with a grant donated by Mike A. Myers and the Mike Myers Foundation in 1988 to honor his longtime friend. The program was the first major student recognition and incentive scholarship created for DCCCD.

Myers, who currently serves as chairman and president of Myers Financial Corp., and LeCroy take an active role in the selection process. They interview finalists and choose the scholarship recipients. They also personally mentor those students throughout the year, providing valuable insight and advice to help LeCroy Scholars succeed in school and in their communities. Myers and LeCroy also host a number of events during the year that provide opportunities for scholars to network with other recipients, including an annual gathering of former and current LeCroy Scholars.

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

  • Edith Barajas of Garland, Richland College, accounting;
  • Bruno Chiquini of Coppell, Brookhaven College, architectural engineering;
  • Patrizio Chiquini of Coppell, Brookhaven College, computer science;
  • Tiffani Coleman of Dallas, Richland College, social work;
  • Cody Dziak of Mesquite, Eastfield College, biology/kinesiology;
  • Victoria Livingston of Dallas, El Centro College, science;
  • Daniel Rorie of Garland, Richland College, business; and
  • Itzel Ruiz of Dallas, El Centro College, criminal justice.

Five DCCCD students are returning LeCroy Scholars: Erica Ferguson, Fabiola Resendiz, Tina Tip, Candy Warth and Cody Wells.

For more information, contact Kathye Hammontree in the DCCCD Foundation’s office by phone at (214) 378-1536 or by email at

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

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Dallas County Community College District
2013-2014 LeCroy Scholars (New)
Biographical Sketches

photo of Edith Barajas Edith Barajas — Edith Barajas, a resident of Garland, has earned a grade point average of 3.89 and now attends Richland College to study accounting. A June 2013 graduate of Naaman Forest High School, Barajas worked at Plato’s Closet, where she was named one of the leading sales associates. At Naaman Forest, she served as secretary of the German National Honor Society; was named captain of her soccer team for four years; and was a member of the National Honor Society, the Student Council, the Business Club and Future Farmers of America. She also received a number of honors — the GANAS Award (three consecutive years), the Ranger Ladies Academic Excellence Award and the Business Club’s Dedication and Hard Worker Award. Barajas took 18 honors courses in high school, including dual credit and Advanced Placement classes. She describes herself as motivated, optimistic, responsible and respectful. Edith adds, “I have had many leadership roles throughout my life that have given me a lot of experience. All of those leadership positions have taught me how to work better with others, use better communication skills and motivate others — challenging them to accomplish things that they possibly would have not imagined.”

photo of Bruno ChiquiniBruno Chiquini — Bruno Chiquini lives in Coppell and graduated from Coppell High School in 2012. The Brookhaven College student is majoring in architectural engineering and has a 4.0 GPA. In high school, he was elected president of the National Art Honor Society, was co-captain for two consecutive years for Team Awesome in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life (in Coppell) and served as a Red Jacket (a CHS student ambassador). Chiquini was an Advanced Placement Scholar for two years, graduated in the Distinguished Achievement program and received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition. Bruno says, “My goals are to receive an associate degree in science from Brookhaven College, transfer to the University of Texas at Austin to earn a bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering with a minor in graphic design and obtain a … job that allows me to keep improving and moving up the ladder … .” Chiquini also is planning to run for vice president of the Brookhaven College Student Government Association, is an active member of the two-year college academic honorary Phi Theta Kappa, and has volunteered and led efforts for canned food drives and service drives for Angel Tree projects. He adds, “I might have learned a lot in the past few years, yet there is always room to develop and acquire new talents. I will continue to do what I can to outshine the other fish in the (DCCCD) sea.”

photo of Patrizio Chiquini Patrizio Chiquini — Patrizio Chiquini and his brother, Bruno, are making a difference at Brookhaven College, where Patrizio is majoring in computer science. A graduate of Coppell High School, Patrizio was a Red Jacket student ambassador, secretary of the National Art Honor Society for two years and captain of the junior varsity tennis team. He also was an Advanced Placement Scholar for two years, selected for the Youth Master Exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art and a Visual Arts Scholastic Event state medalist. Chiquini plans to transfer from Brookhaven to the University of Texas at Austin to earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science and to “obtain a position in the IT field where I can use my education to improve a company’s operation.” The former co-captain (with brother Bruno) for Team Awesome in Coppell’s Relay for Life is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the academic honorary for two-year colleges. He also wants to run for president of the Student Government Association at Brookhaven College. He explains, “I feel by taking on this challenge that I will be able to expand beyond my comfort zone. The only way one can grow as a person is to try new things, to receive recognition and compliments when one finds them, but also to accept failure and then to stand up and try again. I believe I have a purpose, and that purpose is to serve others by being a leader.”

photo of Tiffani ColemanTiffani Coleman — Dallas resident Tiffani Coleman began attending Richland College in fall 2013 and is majoring in social work. A spring 2013 graduate of the Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center School of Education and Social Services, Coleman plans to pursue a master’s degree in social services and become a social worker to give back to her community. At Townview, she earned a 3.77 GPA, served as vice president of Mu Alpha Theta (a mathematics honor society), was co-president of the Purple Heart Project for 2011-2012, served as Junior Class representative for the National Honor Society in 2011-2012, was a member of the National Honor Society and graduated second in her class of 72 students. Coleman also participated in various clothing drives, canned food drives and “broken electronics” drives. She was a member of Project Green (an eco-friendly club) and the Secular Thinkers’ Alliance. A former cashier and sandwich engineer at Which Wich, Tiffani works at the Interfaith Housing Coalition, which helps homeless families get back on their feet using a three-year plan. Coleman’s favorite quote is from Mahatma Gandhi, who said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

photo of Cody Dziak Cody Dziak — Poteet High School graduate Cody Dziak, who lives in Mesquite, began attending Eastfield College in fall 2013 to major in biology. Dziak earned a 4.0 GPA in high school and was named to the Academic Excellence Honor Roll in both 2010-2011 and 2011-2012; in 2013, he was named “Mr. Poteet.” He also received the 2012 All Year 99 Club Academic Award and the 2010 and 2011 Lighthouse Award. Dziak served as captain of the school’s cross-country and track teams during his junior and senior years. He plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in biology or kinesiology and to consider a career in physical therapy or nursing. Cody also has been involved in extracurricular bike racing and church activities. Cody says, “To receive this scholarship is a great honor, and I feel that I have worked hard and long hours to earn such an award during the last four years. I also have a dyslexia disability, which has added obstacles that I have had to deal with while doing my schoolwork. It takes me longer to do assignments and take tests, but with instruction and perseverance, I have never taken the easy way out or given up. I always keep my head up and keep a positive attitude that I will do my best.”

photo of Victoria LivingstonVictoria Livingston — Dallas resident Victoria Livingston currently attends El Centro College, where she is majoring in science. Livingston, who has a 4.0 GPA, is president of the STEM Club (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) at El Centro; was a finalist for NASA Aerospace Scholars; is a member of the academic honorary Phi Theta Kappa; and was an Honor Roll student at Greenhill School. The El Centro STEM student also is captain of the young adult ministry at her church. Livingston plans to finish her associate degree and then transfer to a four-year university to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering. “I have always been told that I have great leadership qualities, so I just automatically assume leadership positions when they are available. And I believe that leaders should not only have great leadership skills but also have a strong academic base.”


photo of Daniel Rorie

Daniel Rorie — Garland resident Daniel Rorie is attending Richland College in fall 2013 to begin his business studies. A 2013 graduate of Rockwall Christian Academy, Rorie earned a 3.4 GPA, was president of the student body, quarterback for the football team, a commissioned leader in the Christian Men’s Network and a member of the Men of Honor (which is an actual honor guard). He also was a member of the National Honor Society; was named a Rockwall Christian Academy Scholar in physics, mathematics, literature and economics; and was listed on the Senior A/B Honor Roll and Dean’s List. Rorie also has been involved in his church as a worship leader, as well as a member of the Youth Student Leadership Council, a cell group leader, a camp devotional leader and a summer camp intern. He plans to graduate from Richland College with an associate degree and then transfer to Southern Methodist University, where he will major in business and leadership. He says, “I want to do my best academically so that I can use what I gain to help other people succeed. I look forward to becoming a better leader from this experience as I press to learn all that is necessary for life.”

photo of Itzel RamirezItzel Ruiz — Itzel Ruiz, a Dallas resident and spring 2013 graduate of Skyline High School, attends El Centro College and plans to major in criminal justice. She eventually wants to pursue a career in forensic psychology. At Skyline High School, Ruiz earned a 3.7 GPA, ran the Pride and Patriotism Committee for the school, was an active member of the Student Council (two years), trained student volunteers for political campaigns and was a member of the National Honor Society. She was named Most Outstanding Student and was the Advanced Placement Social Science Cluster’s Scholar of the Year. In addition to her work as a political campaign volunteer for individuals such as Clay Jenkins, Marc Veasey and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Ruiz has worked on food drives, promoted school spirit and built student pride, and volunteered for White Rock YMCA, SPCA of Texas and Trick or Treat for Humanity. Itzel says, “My academics have always been my top priority. Additionally, I love to volunteer and participate in organizations. I enjoy interacting with people to work on ideas or projects. The LeCroy Scholars program will give me the opportunity to continue my education and pursue a degree in criminal justice — and that is not a chance to waste.”

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