Montebello High School
Eli Canseco is unstoppable, and he will not let anything-not his immigration status, not the bullying he experienced as a child, and not the fact he was raised by a single mother-prevent him from achieving his dream of becoming a physician. Eli was salutatorian of his graduating class, which consisted of 675 students. He was also Vice President of the Montebello Scholarship Federation, helping to raise money for scholarships for graduating seniors, and a mentor in the Montebello High School Mentoring Program, tutoring underclassmen in Algebra.
Eli will be the first in his family to attend college. Eventually, he hopes to return to the City of Montebello and open a clinic for immigrants and low-income Californians. His motivation comes from his mother and grandmother. He wants “to complete [his] education and make them proud by repaying them for everything they ever did for [him].” We have no doubt that Eli will make everyone he meets, including us, proud of him and his accomplishments.
Hiu Wa (Michelle) Lok
San Gabriel High School
University of Pennsylvania
Michelle Lok is going to grace the cover of Fortune Magazine as one of the most influential CEOs in America. She graduated with a 4.68 weighted GPA. She was President of Future Business Leaders of America, Vice President of the Associate Student Body, and a mentor for Motivating Matadors. Michelle has also won a plethora of awards, including being recognized as a Horatio Alger Ronald Waranch Scholar, Bank of America Student Leader, and a Los Renombrados, bestowed on top seniors at San Gabriel High School. We were, however, more impressed and deeply moved to learn how much Michelle has overcome socioeconomic barriers, like her having to help her parents collect recyclables from trash cans. She also inspired us with her tenacity and grit.
Despite having just graduated from high school, Michelle already has experience running a small tutoring business and a worldwide eBay business, selling handmade hair accessories and reselling second-hand brand name clothing from thrift stores. While attending Stanford University’s Pre-collegiate Entrepreneurship Program, she created a mobile application called Tag-It, which connects low-income consumers with local liquidation sales. We cannot wait to see what great achievements Michelle will attain.
Montebello High School
Tony Morales believes that “[n]ot only will education change [him], but [it will] also help [him] change the world for the better.” We wholeheartedly agree that Tony will change lives based on his record of success and his unquestionable empathy for others. Tony graduated near the top of his class and was on the honor roll for all four years. As President of the California Scholarship Federation, he created an after-school tutoring program to teach math to limited English speaking students.
Tony draws inspiration from his parents. His father works two jobs and his mother has had to hold various positions, including as a garment worker. Often, Tony has to help his parents with tasks that they bring back home, such as cutting cloth or lifting steel. One of his main goals is to convert people’s perspective on education. He states, “Education is powerful, yet not much . . . appreciated in communities like my own.”
Doanh (Anna) Yeo
Gabrielino High School
Anna Yeo is the next Marissa Mayer. As a 15-year-old, Anna started an online boutique on Facebook and Etsy selling homemade jewelry to people around the world. The boutique allowed her to financially help her family, who fell on hard times during the Great Recession. When she wasn’t running her own business, she was working as a cashier for the family restaurant or interning at TJ Maxx.
Anna knows she wants to major in business because of the joy she experiences when interacting with customers and creating new products. She plans to open or donate to a charity that supports education for immigrant youth. Having experienced bullying because of her accent and financial barriers to her own education, she wants to blaze a trail for others. We are happy to help support her endeavors!