Over $80,000 in scholarships given out at Mesa

Emy Takada

Rodney Akins shows the scholarship award he received from The Raymond Farmer Memorial.

Emy Takada

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Mesa College and Mesa College Foundation awarded 96 students at the 13th Annual Scholarship Awards Banquet at Mission Bay Hilton Hotel, on April 28.

Over 400 people, among them scholarship recipients, families and scholars, entered the Mediterranean Ballroom of the hotel, and took their seats sharing tables to enjoy the special occasion.

The ceremony started at 5:30 p.m. with a welcome message by Jonathan Arevalo and Juwon Lim, President and Vice President of the Associated Students, followed by a welcome and congratulation remarks by Rita Cepeda-Mesa’s President, Ruth Kern-Mesa Foundation’s President, Marty Block-SDCCD Board of Trustees’ President, and Constance Carroll-SDCCD’s Chancellor.

Dinner was then served accompanied by the music of the James Romeo Jazz Quartet.

Damon Bell, Chair of the Scholarship Committee, announced the beginning of the awards presentation after dinner.

“Congratulation to all recipients,” he said. “Your hard work and dedication to your education was expressed in your applications and essays. Education is a life-long journey that should be both enjoyable and rewarding.”

One by one, scholarship donors were presented on the stage, followed by the announcement of the recipients. Long applause fulfilled the ballroom, while proud recipients posed for pictures and walked down the stage holding their certificates.

Rodney Akins, a sociology student, won the Raymond Framer Scholarship.

“I applied for several scholarships and they all had different requirements,” he said. “I got one out of seven–the Raymond Farmer Memorial for community service.”

Akins applied for the scholarships for the first time.

“I only had to write an essay and [had to get] a letter of recommendation from someone,” he said. “In my case, I got from an instructor.”

Among the 96 students who received the scholarships, 31 received more than one. Approximately $84,500 was awarded this year.

Akins was chosen to receive the scholarship for his outstanding volunteer services.

“I make a few bucks selling American flags to people in order to raise money for the Military Outreach Program,” he said. “They actually call me the flag-man.”

He has been raising money for charities since 2002.

“I started in Fargo North Dakota selling American flags to raise money to live on and for charities,” Akins said. “I gave over $2,000 to Churches United, a homeless shelter, and since then I have traveled through Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, California and Oregon selling flags for various charities, Salvation Army, but mainly rescue missions.”

For the last year and half, he has been raising money for Military Outreach, a California based charity that helps the families of troops that are in need.

“These guys are fighting for the country,” he said. “Their families have to eat while their husbands are fighting.”

He also volunteers his time at the Rake-A-Line project in La Jolla.

In the name of self-commitment and social awareness, Akins commutes every day from Tijuana to study and help others in different locations of San Diego.

Asked about a special moment of the ceremony, Akins gave a prompt response.

“The music was ok especially when Professor Romeo performed,” he said. “I’m a real big fan of this guy.”

The ceremony ended around 9 p.m., but the dance continued until 11:30 p.m.

Akins gave a positive feedback of the evening.

“I think the whole ceremony was done very well,” he said. “And it felt really good for a Troglodyte like myself to get some recognition or, should I say, positive recognition.”

As a last comment, he said, “Oh, by the way, I picked up the check yesterday.”

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