Scholarship Fund: Where Are They Now?

             What is larger than the population of Canada, Poland and Australia? The number of American college students that graduate with student debt – over 40 million – four times the size of Sweden! Here at AMF, we have made a commitment that has grown to 6 annual, $20,000 scholarships, and $725,000 gifted to date to combat this shocking statistic. We understand that the monumental accomplishment of being accepted and pursuing a college education often comes with an even larger price tag. With tuition costs soaring higher each year, the possibility of college has become daunting and sometimes impossible for many individuals who may not have the financial resources to fund their education or have hesitation for what can feel like a peaceful surrender to the huge undertaking and responsibility of paying off student loans.

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This week, we are catching up with Alma Oñate, a 2012 graduate of Hamilton High School and AMF Scholarship winner. On paper, she is an ambitious and driven rising star that has taken full advantage of this opportunity and has bright plans for her future. Although her schedule is packed full of honors classes, homework, multiple jobs and volunteering, she still manages to make time for her family and friends and has a real understanding of the importance of enjoying life’s sweetest moments. Nearing the end of her sophomore year at NKU, she is majoring in biochemistry on a pre-med track with a minor in the honors program. Upon graduation, she plans to attend medical school and continue to fuel her passion for helping children to as a pediatrician, with a dream to one day work with “Doctors Without Borders”. Let’s see what she’s been up to!

 How have you become involved with AMF?

 I volunteer each week with AMF at their Whiz Kids program at Roberts Paideai Academy. I decided I wanted to give back to the organization that has given so much to my family and I. This program is one of my favorite activities because I get to work one-on-one with Emily, my awesome second grader. We work on her reading skills, I teach her techniques for improvement and in return, she teaches me to never take life too seriously, and that is A-ok to be a little sassy sometimes! This experience has been a wonderful opportunity that has allowed us both to grow and I admire when a program has the power to do that. I have come very far and have accomplished a lot in almost two, short years. None of this would have been possible without the Anthony Muñoz Foundation Scholarship. I have said this before and I will say it again, this scholarship has taken a huge burden off of my back. Without this scholarship, I would have probably had to work a full time job as a server, and would not be capable of being so involved with such a significant financial burden. I am forever grateful for the scholarship and the support that I have received from the foundation along the way.

 What is your best advice to a high school senior in the same shoes you were two years ago?

I have some words of wisdom I would like to share with students everywhere, but especially to high school students. Do NOT give up. It does not matter how many times people shut the door in your face, how many times they tell you “no” or don’t believe that you can do it, or how many challenges or hurdles you’ve faced in your life. You CAN overcome it all. I know it is may be difficult, but it is not impossible. Apply for every scholarship you can, even if you don’t think you stand a chance, because you might just be the one that gets that exciting call, congratulating you on your win. Word hard, do not give up but never forget to be human, too. And finally, SMILE – a lot. Your smile is your most powerful weapon and it will take you places. I promise.

 How has your college experience been so far?

As for NKU, I love it here! I really like all of my classes, and my favorite course so far has been my honors class on witchcraft and magic. The class isn’t at all about learning spells or witchcraft itself, but rather it takes a deeper look into the cultures that practice magic from an anthropologic perspective. This class has given me a different view of the world and I believe it has made me a more understanding individual and more capable of embracing different cultures and diversity.

 What you are you involved in?

Throughout these past two years, I have become very involved both on and off campus with different activities. I currently hold four positions: a chemistry/biology tutor, chemistry stockroom associate, STEM Ambassador (science, technology, engineering, and math), and on the weekends, I serve at a Mexican restaurant and teach a Sunday school class at my church.

 What are your plans for the summer?

This summer I will continue working in the research laboratory to design and synthesize new compounds aimed at treating breast cancer. Sure, with so many jobs and a full course load, plus homework, tests and quizzes, things can get very busy but I make sure to relax and enjoy life. I love to read books, take naps, and spend time with my family and friends. I’m an ice cream lover, I enjoy going on walks and I sometimes pretend to be a rock star when driving my car (shhh!). And if you can’t already tell, I appreciate a sense of humor and always welcome a good joke.

The Anthony Muñoz Scholarship Fund awards a $20,000 reward to six deserving Tri-state seniors who are graduating from a high school in one of the 21 counties eligible for consideration and entering college in freshman standing this fall. In 2012, the foundation brought operations in-house which allowed us to reward an additional scholarship each year. Our committee considers a wide variety of accomplishments and stories with a focus on overcoming personal adversity, financial need, academic performance and a student who has exhibited a leadership role(s) in or outside of the classroom, and shows admirable dedication to making an impact by giving back to the community.

 Could you or a senior you know use $20,000 for college? It could be YOUR year! The clock is ticking with the April 30th deadline. Download your application now at munozfoundation.org, and learn more about eligibility requirements and application information. Follow us on Twitter @munozfoundation, for our exclusive scholarship tips and updates!

 Questions? Send us a message at experience@munozfoundation.org – were looking forward to hearing from you!

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Linemen of the Year Banquet: A Night of Inspiration

Last Thursday, the Westin downtown was filled with football players and their families, all looking exceptionally nice if I might say so myself! The Foundation held their 12th annual Linemen of the Year banquet to recognizing the Tri-State’s football players for their accomplishments on and off the field. This year, we had 16 young men who were recognized for their inspiration to others, service to the community, and of course their commendable football skills.

This banquet was held in connection with the National Football Foundation. We heard from many coaches and players regarding how influential football has been upon their lives. I was lucky enough to sit next to Daniel Cage, one of the Foundation’s finalists, who shared with me his excitement of his recognition that night, and his future plans to play football at Notre Dame. Cage overcame challenging family circumstance which has led him to develop a strong character, and to lead by example. I was extremely impressed, and as the night went on, my admiration only grew!

AMF Linemen Of the Year winners Chance Sorrell (left) and Jon Bezney (right).

AMF Linemen Of the Year winners Chance Sorrell (left) and Jon Bezney (right).

The Foundation’s winners, Chance Sorrell, offensive lineman of Middletown High School, and Jon Bezney, defensive lineman of Mariemont High School both got a chance to speak and tell their stories. Chance shared his athletic accomplishments, but also spoke to his high academic standing along with membership in two honors societies. In addition to this, Chance described his work with the Special Olympics, YMCA Summer camps, as well as helping out at basketball and football camps. Jon also spoke to his academic achievements, but also focused on his student council leadership, and work with Mariemont’s first Historic 5k, which raised $11,000 for the Eliminate Project.

“It is encouraging and inspiring to hear these young men speak,” says Anthony, “I cannot wait to see what these men accomplish in their futures, and who they will inspire next.”

 I couldn’t agree more with Anthony! As I sat in the audience it was incredible to hear what these young men have accomplished on the football field but even more so what they have done off the field , and that is what makes these young men so inspiring.

The Linemen of the Year is an award the Foundation holds yearly to recognize Tri-State football players for their outstanding achievements. For more information regarding this award, visit the Foundation’s website.

AMF's Linemen of the Year finalists after their awards ceremony!

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This year’s finalists also include:

Offensive Linemen:

Andrew Alten              Loveland High School

Simon Stepinak         Ross High School

AJ Avery                        Clinton- Massie High School

Ryan Prescott             Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy

Alex Orndorff             Lawrenceburg High School

Lex Sowards               Ryle High School

Defensive Linemen:

Chalmer Fruauf          Moeller High School

Daniel Cage                 Winton Woods High School

Will Lylte                     New Richmond High School

Lane Bryer                   Archbishop Alter High School

Brad Jones                   Williamsburg High School

Michael Barwick        Summit Country Day High School

Adam Putnick            Franklin County High School

Seth Hope                     Highlands High School

Keep on Inspiring!

Victoria Sabato

Straight “A” Intern

What’s new with the “Whiz Kids”?

       Whiz Kid Wednesdays

       Every Wednesday throughout the school year, AMF Staff, friends of the foundation and volunteers gather at Roberts Paideia Academy in the heart of Price Hill to tutor 27 young students ranging from Kindergarten to 5th grade. Whiz Kids, a literacy-focused, one-on-one tutoring and mentoring program founded by City Gospel Mission, provides tutors for over 1,250 at-risk students in 64 different schools throughout the Greater Cincinnati Area. Because of the tremendous impact it offers, the average Whiz Kid student advances 3 reading levels each school year; a huge accomplishment for many of our students who live in non-English speaking households and consider English their second language. Countless churches, charities and organizations adopt a public elementary school in the area, and work closely with teachers and administrators to identify and select students who could benefit most from the program and create helpful activities and curriculum. Many tutors have been involved for years, developing positive friendships with their student in hopes of improving their academic performance, reading skills and instilling personal and academic confidence in them. Many of these young, impressionable children come to form very close and meaningful bonds with their tutors, confiding in them and looking to them as a positive role model and example.

When the dismissal bell rings just before 4 p.m., 27 tutors wait anxiously as the stampede of excited students race down the hallway beaming with smiles from ear to ear eager to learn, read and spend time with their tutor. Depending on where the week falls, AMF includes cultural and holiday themes from Christmas gift bags in December, Valentine’s Day cupcakes, goodie bags and crafts in February, a St. Patrick’s Day Party in March, and Easter Egg Hunt in April! This program not only impacts the students who achieve monumental improvements, but the adults granted the opportunity to share in the joy and accomplishments of these passionate children. Each week, as we pack up and head home, we are grateful that it is in fact we who learn so much about life through the courage and work ethic of these young, eager minds and are continually moved by the enthusiasm of this inspiring group of students.

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