Contact: Debra Dennis214-378-1851;
For immediate release — Sept. 29, 2015
(DALLAS) — Hard work, endurance and persistence are the keys to success for two North Lake College student success stories.
Andrea Ocampo and Martha De Leon were honored earlier this month with $6,000 in scholarships from Telemundo 39/KXTX, a Spanish-language news program that serves Dallas-Fort Worth. Ocampo won a $5,000 scholarship, and De Leon received a $1,000 award.
Noted for her award-winning art work, Ocampo graduated in May from North Lake, and she currently is pursuing an art degree at the University of Texas at Arlington. De Leon, who is in her second year at North Lake, plans to transfer to UTA when she graduates next year.
Telemundo 39, which collaborates with Hispanic chambers of commerce in greater Dallas, Irving and Fort Worth, honors students identified as future leaders.
Ocampo, 20, was born in Colombia and moved to the United States with her parents when she was 10. She had to learn English and credits North Lake with providing a firm foundation for her success. Photography and visual arts became her passion.
“The hard work paid off,” said Ocampo, who applied for the scholarship while studying at North Lake. Her ceramics, paintings, drawings and other works of art were noted as she advanced to the League for Innovation in the Community College’s National Student Art Competition and Exhibit. Her photograph, “A Chromatic Perception,” was a finalist for the exhibit and was selected from among 150 pieces.
Ocampo, who is pursuing a graphic arts degree, wants to freelance or work in graphic arts at a television station. She is concerned about the many negative images of women and society’s unyielding focus on beauty.
“I want to change the media,” Ocampo said. “I want to change perceptions to something positive. The issue of beauty is all we talk about. Not everyone is perfect. We are all just people. I’m looking for fairness in what is presented. The popular things we are talking about in the media are not the most important things. We need to look deeper.”
De Leon, 21, is a full-time student at North Lake, majoring in education. She wants to be a role model to others including her 4-year-old sister. “I come from a single-parent (household), and my mother works two jobs,” De Leon said. She is the first in her family to attend college.
An El Salvadoran native, De Leon received a crash course in American culture when she moved here in 2010. She could not speak, read or write in English. But her mother wanted better academic opportunities for her and was confident her daughter would succeed.
De Leon did not disappoint her. At MacArthur High School in Irving, she was reticent and afraid her first two years. By the time she graduated in 2013, she was an honor student and had been accepted at North Lake.
“I wanted to do well,” De Leon said. “I want to teach little kids English and Spanish so that in the future they don’t have a hard time like I did when I came to this country. I worked hard. I started staying after school to learn more. I started practicing writing. I tried to speak more English,” she said.
“I hope to inspire others,” De Leon said. “I want them to see what I did and see that they can do it for themselves.”
Earlier this year, representatives from Telemundo began filming Ocampo and De Leon on the North Lake campus. Their achievements highlight the work of immigrants who faced seemingly insurmountable odds while pursuing a degree after high school, said Leticia Rodriguez, an executive assistant at Telemundo.
Lynda Edwards, dean of educational partnerships at North Lake, said both students overcame incredible odds after moving here from other countries.
“They learned English and made the adjustment here when they were not little children, so in a short time, they accomplished a lot,” Edwards said. “They had determined attitudes, worked hard and wanted careers that support them, their families and their communities. They’re very humble.”
The two took advantage of counseling, tutoring and financial assistance at North Lake, Edwards said.
Telemundo 39 has formed partnerships with Dr Pepper to provide scholarships, Rodriguez said.
For more information, contact Edwards at 972-273-3130.
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