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Lower Valley students earn full-ride Heritage scholarships

TOPPENISH – Two Lower Yakima Valley high school students are among nine receiving full-tuition, four-year scholarships to Heritage University.

The university recently announced it is presenting the Act Six Scholarships to Kayli Berk of Bickleton High School and Thalia Borja of Sunnyside High School.

The other seven recipients are Cassandra Garcia, Dwight D Eisenhower High School of Yakima; Jeremy Garcia, Yakama Nation Tribal School; Atzimba Martinez, A.C. Davis Senior High School in Yakima; Jesus Mendez, A.C. Davis Senior High School; Emiliano Orozco, Toppenish High School; José Ortiz-Garcia, A.C. Davis Senior High School; and Irene Paz, West Valley High School.

The nine were selected by Heritage’s Act Six Leadership and Scholarship Initiative, recognizing the students as “emerging community leaders across the Yakima Valley.”

The nine new Act Six recipients join 36 Act Six scholars already on Heritage’s campus. To date, 100 percent of Act Six scholars chosen since 2011 are still enrolled at Heritage.

The newest Act Six scholars were recognized during a community celebration in Toppenish.

Act Six seeks to develop urban and community leaders to be agents of change on campus and in their hometowns. Since Act Six began, 53 students of ethnically diverse and mostly first-generation, low-income scholars from Tacoma, Seattle, Portland, Spokane and the Yakima Valley have enrolled at eight northwest colleges and universities.

There were more than 100 applicants for this year’s award, and hopefuls had to complete a rigorous, three-month competition prior to the selection.

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