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March 3, 2010 PRESS RELEASE For Immediate Release March 3, 2010

Contact: Vicky Waters, CCSA (415) 505-7575 vickyw@charterassociation.org

Five Students Overcoming Adversity are Awarded Susan Steelman Bragato Scholarships by the California Charter Schools Association

Winners include AB540 student, Oakland Children's Hospital Volunteer, children of immigrants

SACRAMENTO, California -- "The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man without trials", the ancient thinker Confucius once wrote of adversity. Perhaps the same can be said of this year's winners of the California Charter Schools Association's Susan Steelman Bragato Scholarships.

All five winners--three from San Diego and two from Oakland--are minorities, come from low-income families, and have fought through difficulties with bravery and resolve, even at their young age.

"These students exemplify the true accomplishments of the charter movement in California over the past 18 years, which is to reach out to students on an individual basis, educate them, nurture them, and give them the tools and resources to prepare them for the challenges of the future," said Jed Wallace, President and CEO of CCSA. "These young ladies are an inspiration not only to other charter school students, but to educators and leaders alike."

Brittany Jenkins, from Helix Charter High School in San Diego, grew up in the inner-city, watching family members fight with drug addiction and teen pregnancy. She earned a 4.1 GPA at her school, and plans to attend USC's Marshall School of Business in the Fall.

Hazel Rodriguez, from Lighthouse Community Charter High School in Oakland, is an AB 540 student who hopes to attend Santa Clara University and major in political science. Jennifer Lopez, also of Lighthouse Community Charter High School, volunteers at the Children's Hospital in Oakland, and hopes to become a nurse.

Maryam Shamlow of The Preuss School UCSD in San Diego has fought through stereotypes as a young Muslim woman, and hopes to attend UCLA to become a psychologist.

Chieu Voung Nguyen immigrated to the United States in 1998 not knowing even a word of English. She has seen her parents struggle and sacrifice through low-paying jobs, and now hopes to attend Duke University to major in Engineering and Economics. They all attribute their charter schools as helping them through the hard times, and preparing them for a bright future.

"My teachers and counselors opened my eyes to a world of possibilities for my education, and my life," said Jenkins.

All five students will receive $1,500 scholarships upon proof of their enrollment to an accredited four-year or two-year public or private university or college. The 2010 Susan Steelman Bragato College Scholarship winners, selected from charter schools across the state, had to meet certain criteria to qualify, including academic excellence and community leadership.

The California Charter Schools Association selected the scholarship recipients by measuring their academic success as well as their leadership within their charter community.

The scholarship is named in honor and memory 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). Bragato was one of the first in the charter school movement to recognize the importance of building a strong network of support among school leaders statewide.

For more information, visit www.charterconference.org.

About the California Charter Schools Association

The California Charter Schools Association is the membership and professional organization serving 809 charter public schools that educate more than 341,000 charter school students in the state of California. The mission of the California Charter Schools Association is to lead the charter public school movement in California in order to increase the number of students attending high-quality charter schools. www.myschool.org.

Note to Media: We invite you to pursue the story and interview members of the California Charter Schools Association. CCSA will fully support your needs for resources pertaining to the story.

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