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​Contact: Eddie Miranda
214-378-1541; emiranda@dcccd.edu
or
Kathye Hammontree
214-378-1536; khammontree@dcccd.edu

For immediate release — Sept. 17, 2015

(DALLAS) — Twenty-five years ago, Dallas businessman Mike Myers established the LeCroy Scholarship for high-achieving students enrolled in the Dallas County Community College District — students who personify the leadership, community involvement and spirit of Myers’ late friend, former DCCCD Chancellor R. Jan LeCroy. Since then, Myers’ tribute to LeCroy’s legacy continues through the inspiring stories and accomplishments of past and current recipients of this annual scholarship.

This year’s honorees are no exception. These individuals, who are campus leaders among the seven colleges in the DCCCD system, also serve as role models for their peers, volunteers in their communities and organizers who work to serve others.

They have inspired other students, as well as DCCCD faculty, staff and administrators; as a result, eight students have been named 2015-2016 LeCroy Scholarship recipients by the DCCCD Foundation for their outstanding leadership and academic achievements.

Students selected as LeCroy Scholars receive full tuition and books for up to six semesters. All recipients attend any of the seven colleges in the DCCCD system: Brookhaven, Cedar Valley, Eastfield, El Centro, Mountain View, North Lake or Richland.

Myers established the LeCroy scholarship in 1988 to honor the former chancellor, who passed away in 2013. LeCroy served as DCCCD’s chancellor from 1981 to 1988. The program was the first major student recognition and incentive scholarship created for DCCCD, and the first awards were made to students in 1990.

Myers, who currently serves as chairman and president of Myers Financial Corp., continues to carry on his personal involvement with the program, along with Nancy LeCroy (wife of the late Jan LeCroy). They interview finalists and help with the selection of the scholarship recipients, as well as personally mentoring those students throughout the year — providing valuable insight and advice to help LeCroy Scholars succeed in school and in their communities. Myers and Nancy LeCroy host several activities throughout the year that provide opportunities for scholars to network with other recipients, including a yearly gathering of former and current LeCroy Scholars.

The 2015-2016 scholarship recipients, the colleges they attend and their chosen fields of study are:

  • Andrea Carrizales of Mesquite, Eastfield College, human rights;
  • Cesar Castellanos of Dallas, North Lake College, biology;
  • Sofia Correa of Irving, El Centro College, nursing;
  • Cristal Herrera of Irving, North Lake College, nursing;
  • Myka Morehead of Hearne, Texas, Eastfield College, kinesiology;
  • Praveen Ramarao of Irving, North Lake College, political science;
  • Caleb Thibodeaux of Flower Mound, North Lake College, economics; and
  • Carolina Wilkins of Dallas, Brookhaven College, business.

Three DCCCD students who are returning LeCroy Scholars for 2015-2016 include:

  • Michael Heggie of Garland, Eastfield College, psychology;
  • Rachel Quiroga Hugo of Dallas, Eastfield College, nursing; and
  • Brian Weidinger of Rowlett, Richland College, business.

For more information, contact Kathye Hammontree in the DCCCD Foundation office by phone at (214) 378-1536 or by email at khammontree@dcccd.edu.

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Dallas County Community College District

2015-2016 LeCroy Scholars (New)

Biographical Sketches

 

Andrea CarrizalesAndrea Carrizales — Carrizales, a resident of Mesquite and an Eastfield College student, is deeply passionate about her involvement in school. Pursuing her studies in human rights, she aspires to work for the Human Rights Watch, a nonprofit, nongovernmental human rights organization that conducts research on human rights throughout the world. Because of financial constraints and the fact that she is unable to work in the U.S. because of her nonresident status, Carrizales took a year off after graduating from Crandall High School. “During that time, I went to Mexico and enrolled in college there,” Carrizales says. “However, since I did not feel comfortable due to the insecurity and violence in the country, I chose to come back. One year after my [high school] graduation, I got my residency.” Since first enrolling at Eastfield in 2014, Carrizales has thrived academically and has been involved in various organizations on campus. She is in the Honors Program, which involves taking rigorous, advanced courses in several subjects, and serves as vice president of service for Eastfield’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for community colleges. She is also president of Eastfield’s Rotaract Club, and as a member of that organization, she has volunteered in community events such as a Thanksgiving food drive to benefit economically disadvantaged children at Motley Elementary School in Mesquite. Last summer, Andrea and other elected student officers of the Rotaract Club traveled to the RYLA North America Conference in Washington, D.C., where Rotaractors from 49 countries learned about leadership and service. (She also met the Rotary International president, K.R. Ravindran.)

Her other volunteer work has included the Dallas Arboretum, Kroger’s Halloween celebration and Christmas activities organized by the city of Mesquite. Andrea is also vice president of Eastfield’s Student Government Association, as well as the founder and chair of the association’s beautification committee. “I strive to create a more pleasing campus so that students can carry out their studies in a more comfortable environment,” she says. Andrea currently serves as managing editor and social media coordinator of Eastfield’s newspaper, The Et Cetera, and tutors English and Spanish for students in TRiO, a federal outreach and student services program that serves individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. Last spring, she was awarded the Amidon/Beauchamp Memorial Award for Student Leader of the Year at Eastfield. The award honors DCCCD students for their academic excellence, involvement on campus and overall achievements. Carrizales plans to earn her associate degree at Eastfield and then transfer to a four-year university to earn a bachelor’s degree in human rights. She hopes to pursue a master’s degree at Harvard University.

Cesar CastellanosCesar Castellanos — Dallas resident Cesar Castellanos, a biology major at North Lake College who attended DCCCD’s Brookhaven College last year, developed his passion for science when he was a freshman at W.T. White High School. He was inspired by his biology teacher; then he decided to take his passion to the next level. Cesar plans to graduate with an associate degree in science from Brookhaven and then transfer to the University of Texas at Dallas to earn a bachelor’s degree in science, too. His ultimate goal is to apply to medical school to fulfill his dream of becoming a doctor. Castellano’s determination to excel in his studies has helped him to maintain a 4.0 grade point average during his first year at Brookhaven and to be inducted into Phi Theta Kappa. He also was chosen to receive the Brookhaven College Geotechnology Institute (BCGI) STEM Scholarship as well as the T-STEM Challenge Scholarship, funded by a grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

Apart from his academic achievements, Cesar devotes his time extensively to campus activities and organizations. He serves as a student ambassador for the college and senator of the Student Government Association. He has presented during orientation sessions for new students and has participated in the college’s International Conversation Partners program, which shaped his development as a student leader and helped him learn valuable networking skills. Cesar also helped Brookhaven’s outreach department promote the college by conducting campus tours for elementary, middle and high schools.  

Sofia CorreaSofia Correa — Irving resident and El Centro College student Sofia Correa plans to become a head registered nurse and later specialize in pediatric nursing. “I have a passion for helping others, and I hope to one day become a head nurse,” she says. Sofia graduated with high honors at Irving High School last spring and maintained a 4.0 grade point average in seven AP courses she took there. She was a member of the National Honor Society, and during her sophomore year, she was a member of the school’s Academic Decathlon team, which took part in a rigorous series of scholastic competitions against teams from other schools on various topics. Sofia says she also learned to develop her creativity and skills as a team leader as second chair of the violin section of her high school orchestra and in her church’s volunteer orchestra. “This creativity has carried over to my academics and everyday life,” the nursing major says. “My ability to approach problems in a number of ways is incredibly useful.”

Cristal HerreraCristal Herrera — Cristal Herrera, an Irving resident and nursing student at North Lake College, blossomed as a leader and servant through her involvement in sports, academics and community service in high school. A member of the National Honor Society, she graduated in the top 10 percent of her class at Irving High School last spring and was listed on the honor roll several times. Cristal also played high school soccer and ran in track and cross-country events, and she also served as team captain. Her community work includes serving as youth sub-director for her church. In this role, Cristal prepares community service activities for her peers, such as feeding people in need, visiting the elderly in retirement homes and doing other humanitarian work. “My desire is to always be able to serve others with all my resources because it is who I am and what I am sent to pursue,“ she says. Cristal plans to complete her associate degree at North Lake and then transfer to a university to obtain her bachelor’s degree in nursing. Her career goal is to become a personal long-term care nurse for patients with chronic physical or mental disorders.

Myka MoreheadMyka Morehead — Myka Morehead is steadfast on her future plans. The Eastfield College kinesiology major and 2015 high school graduate from Hearne, Texas, already has her short- and long-term goals mapped with precision. “My ultimate goals include achieving the title of head coach for a collegiate volleyball program and owning a club volleyball program serving underprivileged athletes,” Myka states in her application for the LeCroy Scholarship. “My primary objective is to gain the ability to transform the lives of others through athletics in the same way it has changed mine.” After her education at Eastfield, she plans to transfer to Pennsylvania State University to earn a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology. “I plan to enter the world of coaching by attending graduate school and serving as a graduate assistant,” she adds.

Myka is a member of Eastfield’s volleyball squad and was the volleyball captain at Milano High School in Hearne, where she led her team to regional playoffs two consecutive years. The salutatorian of her graduating class, she also contributed much to her academic success as well as her community. As a member of her school’s National Honor Society chapter, she volunteered for community blood drives and charitable events. Myka served as vice president of the National Future Farmers of America chapter at Milano, where she led fundraising sales for the group, organized its annual banquet and earned the Chapter Degree. She also led a group of up to 20 students in designing and editing the school yearbook. Myka’s volunteer work outside of school consisted of coaching youth for the USA Volleyball Junior Olympics, assisting runners who participate in Race Texas Half Marathon Series events and assisting customers at the front desk of a local hospital. She managed to devote her time to these kinds of community activities in the summer while she maintained a busy schedule during the school year, as well as a full-time job and a weekend job.

Praveen RamaraoPraveen Ramarao — Praveen Ramarao’s journey from a troubled eighth-grader who was influenced by peers who took to the streets to an accomplished student at North Lake College with a promising future is an experience he has learned to appreciate. “My life after eighth grade can easily be defined by two words: change and opportunity,” he says. Growing up in Flower Mound and then in San Jose, Calif., with promising beginnings, Praveen recounts that decisive day in May of 2009 when he, along with his peers, ran into trouble with the law in middle school. He was given two choices that a police officer laid out for him. “That officer told [me], ‘you can continue associating with the delinquents that you do, or you can progress in your life, and move past this,’” he says. Since then, Praveen took the more promising road to his future and never looked back. The first step in his transformation began when his family relocated to India after his father accepted a new position with Cisco Systems. Despite the challenges of adjusting to a new life away from the U.S., Praveen quickly blossomed as a leader and thrived academically at the K-12 academic institutions he attended there. Among his accomplishments are: He worked weekly with a group of students who aided an orphanage; enrolled in the internationally recognized IGCSE program classes; and was an athletic standout in track.

He returned to North Texas with his mother a few years later and enrolled in St. Anthony School (an esteemed private therapeutic school in Carrollton for special-needs students in grades K-12) to ease his transition since he was diagnosed with ADD in middle school. Praveen continued to excel academically at St. Anthony. He and other students in the school formed reading groups and held other educational activities to help younger students with their learning struggles. He graduated from St. Anthony, where he already had completed six dual credit hours at North Lake as a senior. Now in his second year at North Lake as a political science major, Praveen is vice president of the Student Government Association and is actively involved with the college’s Student Leadership Institute and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. He participated in the Texas Junior College Student Government Association (TJCSGA) Region II conference last spring and helped North Lake’s association receive the TJCSGA Region II Chapter of the Year honor. He was also part of the North Lake team that raised more than $1,700 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Dallas during the Big D Climb challenge this year. Hoping to become a corporate lawyer and pursue a career in politics, Praveen plans to graduate from North Lake and eventually enroll in law school.    
 
Caleb ThibodeauxCaleb Thibodeaux — Caleb Thibodeaux, a North Lake College economics student and a resident of Flower Mound, has his sights set on running for public office one day and “being a servant of the people.” So far he is having great success honing his leadership and people skills at North Lake, where he was elected by his peers as the president of the Student Government Association for the 2015-2016 academic year. Caleb also sits on the 2015-2016 executive board of the Texas Junior College Student Government Association as vice president after running a successful statewide campaign last spring for that office. He also served as chairman of the TJCSGA Region II Resolution Committee; his efforts helped pass a sexual assault awareness resolution and an amendment to the region’s platform stating its stance against assault.

Caleb’s enthusiasm for North Lake and its students drove him to establish the North Campus Blazer Ambassadors club, which produces school spirit and service activities for students attending the college’s North Campus in Coppell. He was elected as the club’s vice president and helped host a welcome back party for students as well as other events; raise money for the club; and run booths for Commit to Complete Week (part of a statewide effort that encourages students to complete their degrees or certificates). Because of his high academic standing, he was invited to join North Lake’s chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. Caleb plans to transfer to a four-year college and then go to law school. After that, he wants to enter the public policy sector at state and national levels. Caleb adds: “One day I hope to run as a representative or senator.”

Carolina WilkinsCarolina Wilkins — Carolina Wilkins’ desire to help and inspire others has motivated her to dive into various leadership roles at Brookhaven College since she first attended classes there in 2013. Carolina, a Dallas resident and a native of Brazil, serves as the South American ambassador for Brookhaven’s International Club, as well as a member of the International Movement for Peace Among People. Among her other leadership positions at Brookhaven, she is president of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, treasurer of the Student Government Association and a member of the SGA’s Constitution Committee. One activity that Carolina holds dearest to her heart is the Mentorship Program, which pairs Brookhaven student mentors with students from the Early College High School on campus. “This program has touched my heart and changed my life,” says Carolina, who serves as a mentor. “By looking for answers and ways to help my mentee, I am not ashamed to say that I have learned more than what I have taught.”

Arriving in the U.S. with English as her second language, Carolina also takes pride in her involvement with the college’s International Conversation Partners program. She also has dedicated herself to causes that have an impact on her college peers and the community. She has been active in Brookhaven Votes campaigns and in voicing her stance against a tuition increase and for a proposal to lower textbook prices at DCCCD’s colleges. She joined her peers in the Student Government Association on a trip to the state capitol in Austin this year and represented DCCCD students during the 2015 National Legislative Summit in Washington, D.C. Carolina also was named to the 2015 All-Texas Academic Team and received the Amidon/Beauchamp Student of the Year Award, given to DCCCD students who excel in leadership and community or campus involvement. She plans to transfer to a university to earn a bachelor’s degree in human resources and eventually a master’s degree in education. Carolina’s career goal is to teach at a community college so that she can “give back to the community, to the students, to the ones who will sit where I am sitting today.”

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