2013 Susan Steelman Bragato Scholarships Honor Five Outstanding High School Seniors

June 7, 2013

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The California Charter Schools Association is proud to award $1,500 college scholarships to five deserving charter high school graduates at Association member schools.

The scholarship is named in honor of Susan Steelman Bragato, the co-founder of the first charter school in California and the founder of the California Network of Educational Charters (which was renamed the California Charter Schools Association in 2003). Steelman Bragato was one of the first people to recognize the importance of building a strong network of support among charter school leaders statewide. She also organized the first California Charter Schools Conference. In honor of her unprecedented contribution to the charter school movement, the Association named this scholarship for her. Steelman Bragato died in 2005 at the age of 47.

Beatriz Arias

Oakland Unity High School, Oakland, California


Beatriz Arias' parents came from small pueblo and had to give up many opportunities to survive, including their education. "I want to go to college, get my degree as a broadcast journalist, and make my parents proud," proclaimed Arias. "Once I receive my degree, I plan to come back to my community and use my communication skills to break down stereotypes and change expectations of what becomes of students from my community. I would like to inspire others to also value education." She has earned awards in conceptual physics, English and journalism. Her leadership skills have been honed through work on a regional newspaper for students, student government offices, and in her four years' as captain of a soccer team.

Maryam Atty

Liberty Charter High School, Lemon Grove (San Diego area), California


As the daughter of Iraqi immigrants, Maryam Atty is accustomed to balancing her Chaldean heritage with an American lifestyle. "My world is bi-cultural and multilingual, something that I have learned to appreciate more and more as I grow older," described Atty. Fascination with language, culture and politics, and a passion to embrace opportunity has implanted her desire to one day work in international relations to make a positive difference, especially in the Middle East. Atty has won local, regional, Southern California and national awards for essays and poetry. Maryam was named captain of her volleyball team and "First Team" in the league.

Steven Colin

Camino Nuevo High School, Los Angeles, California


Beginning in middle school, Steven Colin suffered some tough consequences due to his refusal to join a gang. By 9th grade, he was a dedicated student athlete, finishing his first of three marathons and volunteering with ''A World Fit For Kids!," an afterschool program focusing on keeping kids off the gang-infested streets in his community. "Assisting students in their homework and in their physical education activities, I became part of something bigger than myself because I made a commitment to my community," remarked Colin. Colin's activities and achievements include student government treasurer; varsity basketball; co-founder of his school's historical society; Principal's Honor Roll; AP scholar; College Match, a program sponsored by Union Bank to introduce students to the world of banking and finance; and the Hispanic National Bar Foundation's Future Lawyers Camp.

Jackie Ho

Lighthouse Community Charter School, Oakland, California


A grandfather's health concern introduced Jackie Ho to the world of medicine. From there she found her own way to robotics, with her team winning the NorCal region and invited to compete among the world's best team in the Global robotics competition in Hawaii. The same focus drives her as a forward on her soccer team, an honored student scholar and a mentor to first through eighth grade students. She serves as secretary of "I'm For World Peace Foundation" and previously held an internship with a youth science program, Camp Galileo, in the business office. She participated as a young entrepreneur in the Network for Training Entrepreneurship (NFTE) Bay Area competition.

Brandon Khuu

The Preuss School UCSD, La Jolla (San Diego area), California


While Brandon Khuu earned straight A's from 8 - 11th grade, he was also racking up awards for studies in western civilizations, chemistry, physical education, science and Spanish and volunteering with a science center. Khuu credits his mother for instilling a motivation to succeed in school. "After escaping the Vietnam War with her family and surviving breast cancer, my mother knew life was too short to live without pursuing your passion and dreams," shared Khuu. "From my mother's struggles, I became motivated to succeed in school in order to attend college and study bioengineering." Brandon devoted 120 hours as a volunteer at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, served as lead builder all five years in Botball Robotics, and managed plant and merchandise sales to fund campus ecology programs.

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