Oct 10, 2014
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Two juniors from Richmond’s Leadership Public School have been selected to the inaugural class of Buck Fellows, which means they’ll be advised for the final two years of high school by highly regarded mentors.

Sergio Garcia Becerra and Manuel Rosales are among five high school juniors in Northern California selected as Fellows by the Buck Scholars Association (BSA) following a competitive application process. Fellows boast high academic and leadership potential but lack the resources and connections to fully realize that potential, according to BSA.

Becerra ranks near the top of his class academically, is the high school football team’s captain, and was chosen to give a leadership speech as a sophomore. He hopes to become a business leader.

Rosales has excelled academically despite coming to the U.S. from El Salvador at age 8.  He helps out in various programs at his local elementary school and intends to study electrical or computer engineering in college.

The teens will partner with highly respected professionals and academics in the Buck Scholar network, which includes a Harvard-trained heart surgeon, a Columbia-trained corporate attorney and a Stanford-trained engineer at Ford Motor Company.

The mentors will offer individualized guidance on academic and leadership development and the college application process, according to BSA.  The students will also receive a “generous stipend” to be used for academic enrichment and development programs.

“Our Fellows come from financially modest backgrounds and don’t have parents who graduated from college,” said Rei Onishi, the president of BSA and co-founder of Buck Fellows Program.  “Yet, in the face of various challenges, they are determined to go as far as they can with the opportunities available to them.”

The Buck Fellows Program “helps open doors for them,” Onishi added.

Buck Fellows were chosen based upon their grades, course rigor, teacher recommendations, extracurricular activities, and personal essays.

This year’s three other Fellows include Kiera Alexander of Del Campo High School in Fair Oaks, who founded her school’s Black Students Union; Madelynne Reichmann of Galt High School, an award-winning debater and leader in Future Farmers of America; and Marina Zambrano of Cristo Rey High School in Sacramento, who is not only an editor of the school’s literary magazine but also works part time to cover school costs and helps care for her younger siblings.

To learn more about the Buck Scholars Association, visit here.


About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.