scholarship spotlight: angel sanchez (2012-13 valencia foundation scholarship recipient)

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Angel Sanchez (right).

Angel Sanchez, presently a sophomore honors student with Valencia College, is a two-time 2012-13 Valencia Foundation scholarship recipient. Currently, Angel is a sophomore honors student in the Paralegal Studies program with Valencia and earning a 4.0 GPA.

Angel was raised in the tough neighborhoods of Miami and experienced a difficult upbringing. “My parents divorced when I was young. My mom battled a lifelong addiction with drugs while my dad raised me on his own. Although my dad did his best to raise me, the negative influences that surrounded me eventually took a hold of me. I began to get in trouble and dropped out of school in 9th grade. Nobody in my family had ever finished grade school, much less attended college; however, after getting my GED and developing a passion for law, I decided I wanted to go to college. Knowing that my hometown was not a healthy environment for me, I decided to move into a homeless shelter in Orlando and attend college.”

Putting his education and future first, Angel enrolled into the paralegal studies at Valencia College. “I began as a remedial student in math simply hoping I could make it through the paralegal program without failing. I did not know if I had what it took to be a college student, and I knew that my situation was going to be even harder as a homeless student; none the less, I intended to give it my all regardless of the circumstances.”

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Angel Sanchez (right) with Dr. Shugart (left).

With determination to better his life and accomplish his academic and future goals, Angel diligently continued on throughout the paralegal studies program as an honors student. Throughout his time with Valencia, he made the president’s list for consecutive semesters, became a member of Valencia’s Seneff Honors College, the International Honor’s Society, Phi Theta Kappa, the Black History Committee, Inceptia (a division of the national student loan program) and received the 2012 Incentive Awards Scholar for achieving academic success in the face of adversity. In addition to all of his outstanding accomplishments, Angel was made the Vice President of the West Campus’ chapter. Each achievement has given Angel the opportunity to continue pursuing his passion: giving back to the community. “I strongly believe in giving back and not forgetting where I came. Thanks to my achievements I am able to do just that. I have started a “Meet-n-Mentor” initiative to connect Valencia students with at-risk students in hopes of encouraging college enrollment and completion. The initiative has been primarily focused on mentoring homeless GED students at the Coalition for the Homeless. I am also leading the Honor Society West Campus chapter in starting a Book Scholarship for the highest achieving life strides (homeless) student each semester and working to organize a Karaoke fundraising event for it. Also, I have had the privilege of being a guest speaker on behalf of homeless students at the Coalition for the Homeless’ Annual Breakfast Banquet, which included the CEO of the Orlando Magic. I was presented with the opportunity to go on stage and shared my story with, our college president, Dr. Shugart in front the entire Academic Assembly; and I have even addressed the Second Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden, on behalf of homeless and at-risk students.”

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Angel Sanchez (right) with Jill Biden (left).

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Angel (left) presented the Gratitude and Appreciation for your time plaque from the Parramore Kiz Zone (PKZ).

He adds: “Personally, I enjoy being an inspiration and an advocate for others. I am currently pursuing dual degrees in Leadership and Paralegal Studies. My A.S. Paralegal Degree compliments my passion for law and will enable me to get some much needed entry level employment upon graduation; meanwhile, my Honors A.A. Degree in Leadership will enable me to transfer and compete for acceptance into very prestigious universities or programs. My academic goals include earning acceptance and academic scholarships into a selective university and then going on to law school. My life goals include advocating for the underprivileged and giving a voice to who have been silenced or written off. Also, I want to continue defying the odds and inspiring those who need hope! I want to promote and make education accessible to at-risk students and communities, because I know the transformative power it can have. Most importantly, I want to help others find their faith and belief to help them achieve the promising things of which they are capable. Hence, any career that would help me fight for and impact the lives of others is my career of choice!”

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F.L.I.R.T. The Financial Learning and Research Team

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F.L.I.R.T. The Financial Learning and Research Team

The Valencia Foundation partners with many generous donors who are excited to contribute to the education of the leaders of tomorrow, like Angel. If you haven’t already, there is still time to apply by visiting: http://valenciacollege.edu/finaid/Scholarship_bulletin.cfm and applying for the 2012-13 Valencia Foundation Scholarship Application

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