BOULDER, Colo., May 16, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Tomas Manriquez-Hernandez, a graduate from Venture Prep Charter School, in Denver, and a first-generation high school graduate, serves on the board of GreenLeaf, an organization that engages youth in urban farming; and earned a 2012 Princeton University Prize in Race Relations. He is part of the largest-ever class of Greenhouse Scholars, announced today by the organization that is dedicated to cultivating the next generation of community leaders.
Tomas and 26 of his peers from Colorado and Illinois were selected based on a combination of their scholastic, extracurricular, community and personal achievements as well as a demonstrated financial need. Eighteen Colorado students and nine Illinois students were accepted into the program. The complete Class of 2017 Scholars list is available online at greenhousescholars.org.
Becoming a Greenhouse Scholar is a highly selective process. More than 300 high school applicants entered into the selection process, which included essays, high school transcripts, letters of recommendation, financial aid eligibility, and in-person interviews.
"Our vision is to serve as catalysts for high-performing, under-resourced students," said Pete Burridge, chief executive officer and president, Greenhouse Scholars. "We enable students to continue to excel in their studies, graduate from college, and remain the community leaders they are today -- influencing positive change within our communities and in the world."
Greenhouse Scholars understands that the level and type of support available to these Scholars has a significant impact on their success in college. This is the why the organization's "Whole Person Approach" goes beyond financial support to include seven layers of personal and professional components including mentorship; peer support; professional networking; internships; Summer Symposiums, the annual leadership training event; tuition scholarships; and flex funding, where Scholars can apply for additional funds to support a wide range of projects, such as research.
Among the wide-ranging accomplishments of the new Class of 2017, these students:
- Volunteered nearly 5,000 hours in their communities in 2012. Eighty-five percent of them mentored younger students.
- Held a combined total of 93 student and community leadership positions, such as six student body or student government presidents, 12 National Honor Society officers, and captains of 13 sports teams.
- Ranked in the top 10 percent of their graduating high school class.
- Held 43 part-time jobs with some students holding more than one part-time job.
- Speak 14 different languages including Albanian, Arabic, Burmese, Chinese, English, French, German, Latin, Portuguese, Serbo-Croatian, Somali, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Urdu.
In addition, 70 percent of these students will be the first generation in their families to earn a bachelor's degree.
"With the support of Greenhouse Scholars, I intend to study law and political science," said Manriquez-Hernandez, who will attend Syracuse University this fall. "If I've learned anything it's that you cannot change much if you don't go big. With the help of Greenhouse Scholars, I intend to 'go big.'"
According to the Pell Institute (2008), only 11 percent of low-income, first-generation college students who begin college will earn a bachelor's degree within six years. Research also shows that these students often face academic, social, and cultural barriers as compared with their peers from higher-income families.
Greenhouse Scholars' college grade-point-averages (GPAs) are 30 percent higher than the national average. In addition, the college graduation rate of Greenhouse Scholars outperforms national graduation rates at all income levels, and is eight times higher than that of other students with comparable household incomes.
As a result of the program's comprehensive support, the day Scholars graduate from college they are prepared to succeed in their professional endeavors and make significant contributions in their communities.
About Greenhouse Scholars
Founded in 2005, Greenhouse Scholars is a Boulder, Colorado-based non-profit providing comprehensive support for inspiring and under-resourced students from both Colorado and Illinois. Through its "Whole Person" approach of intellectual, academic, financial and professional support, Greenhouse Scholars is committed to cultivating the next generation of community leaders. Since 2005, Greenhouse Scholars has served 119 students. For more information about Greenhouse Scholars, visit Facebook.com/GreenhouseScholars and GreenhouseScholars.org.
Michele Rene Scott
SOURCE Greenhouse Scholars