LOS ANGELES – Knight High School Class of 2015 graduate Jose Lopez was selected as a Point Foundation Scholar.
He was one of 36 high school graduates across the country awarded new scholarships this year for demonstrating “academic excellence and leadership in their communities, despite facing obstacles such as bullying and financial hardship,” according to Point Foundation, the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) students.
“Receiving this scholarship means so much to me, but to sum it all up, it means that I can achieve and excel during and beyond my years at the University of Pennsylvania without having to face the extreme financial hardships that otherwise would have kept me from receiving the higher level education that is now available to me,” Lopez stated.
According to a statement on the Point Foundation’s website:
Jose Lopez has a constant drive to bring about positive change in the world. After a terrible coming out experience in the summer of 2013, he dedicated himself toward making the lives of other youth like him as easy as possible. Since then Jose has gotten involved with various legislative advocacy and policy implementation programs for the LGBTQ community through the GSA Network of California. He has had the opportunity to visit the California state Capitol and advocate for bills that would create safer, more inclusive schools for LGBTQ youth.
After finishing his bachelor’s degree in political science, with a concentration in civil liberties and minority studies, Jose plans on becoming an advocate and an elected politician so that he can achieve his goal of bringing about change in not only this country, but the world.
Point received almost 2,000 applications for scholarships during the application period from November 2014 through January 2015. The rigorous selection process required candidates to demonstrate academic excellence, leadership skills, community involvement and financial need. Attention was also given to students who have lost the social support of their families and/or communities as a result of revealing their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
As Point Scholars, students agree to maintain a high level of academic performance and give back to the LGBTQ community through the completion of an individual community service project each year. The scholars also benefit from internship opportunities arranged by Point related to their fields of study. After graduating, Point Scholars become part of the organization’s growing alumni network, connecting them with caring individuals and professional contacts throughout the nation.
“Helping students stay in college is only part of our mission. Students also need support and encouragement to complete their degree programs,” said Jorge Valencia, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Point Foundation. “Point provides our scholars with guidance by pairing them with caring mentors, as well as helping our scholars develop their confidence and professional acumen through our leadership training program. We are helping LGBTQ young people build peer and intergenerational relationships that will be there for them even after they finish school and head out into the world.”
The new scholarship recipients join 47 current undergraduate and graduate students for a total of 83 Point Scholars who will receive financial assistance and programmatic support for the 2015 – 2016 academic year.
For more information on the Point Foundation and detailed biography information for the entire 2015 – 2016 Point Scholar class, visit http://www.pointfoundation.org.
[Information via Point Foundation, the national LGBTQ scholarship fund.]