Ford Honors Chicago Students and Delivers Nearly $200,000 in Local Initiatives to Accelerate Education

  • Ford Motor Company Fund honors45Chicago and Indiana students for their vision, resilience and academic excellence. Students receive $75,000 in scholarships and prizes.
  • Students share their dreams through the “What Drives Your Dream?” contest, part of the Ford Driving Dreams Tour. Top winner receives $5,000 scholarship.
  • Ford Fund partners with U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute and ASPIRA, IL to promote on-time high school graduation and college enrollment.

CHICAGO,Feb.13, 2015 – Today,Ford Motor Company Fund rewarded 45 students from seven Chicago-area high schools with $75,000 in scholarships and technology prizes as part of the Ford Driving Dreams (FDD) Tour initiative launched in Chicago last fall. This is part of more than $200,000 in local education initiatives launched at the beginning of the school year benefiting more than 3,500 students.

Delisa Santana, a junior at Roberto Clemente Community Academy, was selected as the grand prize $5,000 college scholarship winner of the “What Drives Your Dream” essay contest which is part of the FDDTour. The students were announced at a ceremony and breakfast with their family, teachers, and classmates at the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI) Conference at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Chicago.

“Writing this essay helped me realize that Ijust haveto keep up thepositive attitudethatI’ve adapted this schoolyearand keep myself going,” said Santana. “I am very grateful to my teachers and the judges who selected me. I know that this scholarship will help me achieve my dream of going to college and becoming a child psychologist.”

Other Ford Driving Dreams essay winners are:

  • ASPIRA Early College High School: Diana Dominguez and AshleyPerez
  • ASPIRA Antonia Pantoja High School: AnnaRocha and Christian Vazquez
  • ASPIRA Mirta Ramirez Computer Science High School: Hernan Marcelo
  • Curie Metropolitan High School: Erving Jimenez, Xiuting Wu, Jazmin Gutierrez, Jennifer Flores and Maria Serrano
  • East Chicago Central High School: Asia Cadenhead, Dave Medina, Sade K. Talley, Derrick Robinson and Miqueas Rios
  • George Washington High School: Monserrat Velasco, Araceli Reyes, Anthony Juarez, Jazmin Salcedo and Angel Martinez
  • Roberto Clemente Community Academy: Tarique Williams, Laqueena Walker, Romeo Davila and Izabel Segura

Other Ford Driving Dreams scholarship winners are:

  • ASPIRA Mirta Ramirez Computer Science High School: Jessica Sanchez and Brenda Rosa
  • ASPIRA Early College High School: Rogelio Rodríguez
  • ASPIRA Antonia Pantoja High School: Felipe Romero Jr.
  • Curie Metropolitan High School: Alejandra Ochoa, Jorge Armando Moreno, Xiuting Wu and Ahmmad Khalil
  • East Chicago Central High School: Capri Ellison, Mario Alberto Gomez Jr., Jasmine Elizabeth Palacios and Karel Pérez
  • George Washington High School: Michelle Mildred Davis, Kassandra Pérez, Luis Fernando Ortega and Emily Keni Rodríguez
  • Roberto Clemente Community Academy: Niambi Niceal Smith, Jasmine Canales, Katrina J. Cadle and Matthew Ryan Young

“Congratulations to all of the essay and scholarship winners,” said Joe Avila, community relations manager, Ford Motor Company Fund. “Empowering students to plan and develop a road map for their college future puts them in charge of their academic future. Today demonstrates how education has been a top priority at Ford Fund from our earliest days more than 60 years ago.”

Ford’s educational investment is part of the FDD Tour which launched in Chicago last November. Thousands of students from the above seven Chicago high schools participated and attended empowerment pep rallies where they heard inspiring messages about achieving educational excellence and giving back to the community. More than 1,600 students participated in the essay contest anddescribed what drives their dreams. The essays were evaluated by an external panel of judges comprised of educators and community leaders.

Launched in 2012, the program targets schools with significant Latino student populations. It has visited 26high schools in Chicago, Indiana, Florida and Texas, reaching more than30,000 students. Ford Driving Dreams initiatives, including the Tour, are designed to help Latino youth graduate on time and pursue higher education. These efforts have provided nearly $1,400,000 in direct educational resources such as college preparedness, tutoring programs, parental engagement, scholarships, and motivational activities.

Ford has been investing in Chicago programs and initiatives through Operation Better World which is designed to increase Ford's philanthropic and community-related commitment in select communities around the world. In Chicago national programs include the Henry Ford Academy: Power House High, Ford Driving Skills for Life, Feeding America (formerly America's Second Harvest), Ford Calumet Environmental Center and Ford Next Generation Learning (Ford NGL), Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk to Cure Diabetes. Local Chicago Initiatives include: After School Matters, Midtown Education Foundation, Friends of the Parks, John G. Shedd Aquarium, and the Youth Enrichment Program at El Valor.

For more information visit Follow us on Twitter at #forddrivingdreams.

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About Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services

Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services works with community partners to advance driving safety, education and community life. Ford Motor Company Fund has operated for more than 60 years with ongoing funding from Ford Motor Company. Ford Driving Skills for Life teaches new drivers through a variety of hands-on and interactive methods. Innovation in education is encouraged through programs that enhance high school learning and provide college scholarships and university grants. Through Ford Volunteer Corps, more than 25,000 Ford employees and retirees each year work on projects that better their communities in 30 countries. For more information, visit .

Contact:Maria Ibañez, Comunicad for Ford Fund

; O: 703-807-0500 / C: 703-980-9258


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