June 13, 2019

TGR Foundation celebrates class of 2019

As caps fly and tassels turn, students around the world celebrate an academic milestone and enter a new chapter of their lives. At TGR Foundation, we took a moment to celebrate with our high school graduates who will soon be starting their freshman year at universities across the nation.

Although many students were unsure of how they would pursue higher education or what institution they would attend when selected to join the Earl Woods Scholar Program (EWSP), during our recent luncheon celebrations in Orange County, California and Washington D.C., students reflected on what they’ve learned over the past year and what they’re looking forward to in the next four. As family members, educators, counselors and peers listened to each graduate speak about their journey thus far, there was a common theme of gratitude.

Orange County scholars lined the wall of the reception room waiting to address the audience.

 “My time in the Earl Woods Scholar Program has truly been an amazing journey,” said An Nguyen. Some of my most favorite memories have stemmed from this organization and the amazing people I have met in it.”

Joining the program prior to their senior year in high school, students shared the growth they’ve experienced on their path to college.

“I did not receive a surge of confidence in an instant,” said Arya Joshi, who will continue her studies at Cal Poly Pomona. “It was this program that helped me realize my true potential.”

After reflecting on their past year, Orange County scholars joined together for a group photo at Chapman University on Saturday, May 11, 2019.

Although students selected as Earl Woods Scholars are some of the best and brightest in their schools and communities, many, including Jose Lara, will be the first in their families to pursue higher education.

“Coming from a first-generation family I made myself a goal as a freshman that I would be the first in my family to go to college and start what my parents couldn’t do,” he said.

Lara will be attending the University of California, Irvine in the fall majoring in Biology and will continue to receive holistic support from the EWSP and staff.

“What I’m most grateful for is the recent mindfulness retreat we had,” said Tatiana Nickens, who will be studying physics and astronomy at Lehigh University in the fall. “That was something I didn’t really consider I needed, especially as a graduating senior who is balancing frequent concerts, appointments and events while also doing applications.”

Mental health workshops were highlighted by many scholars who referenced how instrumental they were to their emotional stability and success through the end of their high school academic careers.

The 2nd cohort of Earl Woods Scholars from Washington D.C. gathered for a photo after the graduation luncheon held on Saturday, June 1, 2019 at Catholic University.

“Of all the things the Earl Woods Scholar Program provides for us I would say the most significant are a safe space, peace of mind, and great friends,” added Julian Smith.

MarQia Allen expressed her appreciation for the unwavering support of staff as she prepares to attend Carnegie Mellon University and described the moment she realized it isn’t exclusive to scholars. She told the audience how the staff and other parents provided comfort and encouragement during a financial aid workshop that left her mom overwhelmed.

“In that moment, I knew that this was not only a scholarship, but a family that will always be a support system throughout my future endeavors,” she said.

Encouraging scholars to try new things and take risks, EWS staff reminded students of the ongoing support that would be provided throughout their college years and beyond.

“The future is not a destination it’s a direction and we will be with you along the way,” said Cristina Fernández, Senior Director of Programs.

Redefining what it means to be a champion.