Ed fund offers up to $130,000 in scholarships

WCCUSD high school students attain financial help through nonprofit

By Tobias Cheng, Staff Writer

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Elijah Toumoua is a Middle College High senior who “barely makes enough money.”

He said affording college can be a large challenge for many students coming out of high school.

Fortunately, he is receiving a scholarship from the Ed Fund. The Ed Fund, a nonprofit organization, is giving five high school seniors from MCHS each scholarships.

Two hundred forty-three high school seniors from the West Contra Costa County Unified School District applied for a part of the total scholarship which amounts to $130,000, Executive Director of the Ed Fund Joel Mackey said.

The top 56 seniors with the “grit” and “passion” it takes to succeed in college were chosen to receive the scholarships, he said.

Mackey said, “We hope to double to number of students who complete college.”

He said the scholarships are awarded so that high school seniors can “realize their college dreams.”

The Ed Fund gives back to the community, Middle College High senior Richa Dahal said.

“It (MCHS) is very focused on community service.”

Toumoua said he found out about the scholarships through a class. “Having the scholarship is nice.”

He said it helps prevent him “from taking out loans.”

Dahal is also receiving a scholarship. She said she found out about the scholarships through fliers at MCHS.

“The application process was actually pretty simple,” she said.

Speech professor Deborah Bauer said, “(Dahal) has been in two of my classes and each time she has demonstrated a mature, collegiate academic attitude toward her studies.”

She is always engaged in the lectures and activities that take place.

“She listens to and respects her classmates, and contributes in the class discussions. I think she has worked hard and is deserving of this scholarship. I am very proud of Richa,” Bauer said.

Bauer also said that high school students, not necessarily from MCHS, typically make up about 20 to 25 percent of her students.

She said some students strive for the highest grades while others struggle to pass, which is the same as with college students.

The Ed Fund held its “28th Annual Soaring to Excellence Celebration” on May 6 at El Cerrito High School.

The event not only honored the scholarship recipients, but many teachers from the WCCUSD as well.

Dahal said, “I liked how they acknowledged community members and teachers.” Toumoua said, “(The teachers) are the reason we have an education.”

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