2012 Scholarship Recipient
Last year, the Foundation established the Beth Longwell Foundation Scholarship with the primary goal of assisting a local high school senior with college expenses. Our first scholarship recipient was Elizabeth Garcia, a 2012 graduate of Palo Alto High School and now a full-time student at the University of California Riverside. Elizabeth's story made her a perfect fit to receive the scholarship.
Growing up, Elizabeth and her family originally lived in East Palo Alto. Elizabeth explained that she "attended a small school in East Palo Alto, where uniforms were required to erase allegiances to any gang, and where a huge percentage of students dropped out and lost their passion for learning, and desire to strive for a better future."
Mid-way through Elizabeth's fourth grade year, her parents moved to the neighboring city of Palo Alto. "My parents felt the burden to move because they wanted us to receive the best education we could." Although this was only a move of 2.7 miles, Elizabeth felt she had entered "a whole new world." Her school experience completely changed. She participated in music class, had pen pals, longer lunches and no uniforms. She was the only minority in her class and one of only a few in the school. Elizabeth felt that coming from East Palo Alto and being Hispanic, teachers assumed she needed extra help or was struggling. She found her high school experience similar. "The pressure to prove myself all the time pushed me to always be my best, and to have more faith in myself because I knew that I had the same potential as any other student."
During Elizabeth's high school years, she was a member of the Christian Club, served as summer teachers, assistant Soccer Coach and Captain of her Soccer Team. She also participated in the Church Choir.
Elizabeth's parents are both Spanish speaking and she stated that her parents weren’t given the opportunity to complete their educational goals due to the lack of importance given to education in their native country and their family.
Elizabeth has two sisters. Her younger sister is a student at Palo Alto High School and her older sister is currently a senior at UC Fullerton. Elizabeth explained that it was very difficult for her parents both emotionally and economically to have two daughters in college. Given this situation, Elizabeth welcomed the opportunity to apply for the Beth Longwell Foundation Scholarship.
The Board is delighted and proud to have Elizabeth as its first Scholarship recipient, and we look forward to her success at UC Riverside.