Jan. 19th, 2018

High School Students Honored with 2018 Education Awards from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition

SMC Students
(Left to right) Jeffery Prince, Assistant Vice Chair of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition with the five recipients of the coalition’s 2018 Education Awards: Malaysia Long of Lawndale High School; Andrew Rodriguez of Susan Miller Dorsey High School Public and Service Magnet; May Kono of Santa Monica High School; Emma Fabros of Culver City High School; and Isabel Cortes of Culver City High School. (Photo Credit: Fabian Lewkowicz)

SANTA MONICA, CA—Five seniors from area high schools were presented the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition 2018 Education Awards at a ceremony held January 15 to commemorate Dr. King’s birthday at the SGI-USA World Peace Ikeda Auditorium in Santa Monica. Olympic gold medalist Dr. Tommie C. Smith was the event’s keynote speaker.

This year’s awards recipients are:

  • Culver City High School student Isabel Cortes received the 2018 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Award. A lifetime member of the Girl Scouts, she has an interest in history and government, and is a strong believer in the power of open dialogue and communication to solve problems. Ms. Cortes has focused on raising awareness in the community about an endocrine syndrome called PCOS. Her goals include expanding awareness in her school community about students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs), and creating solid friendships that will last a lifetime.

  • Culver City High School student Emma Fabros received the 2017 Saul Morrison Award. She is an academic scholar and an active member of the CCHS Student Government, and also Captain of the CCHS Dance Team. Ms. Fabros is thankful for getting to grow up in a family that has raised her with nothing but love and support, and hopes she can give back to others by doing the same. She plans to attend Biola University and study Public Relations, and hopes to follow her passion for fashion and media by pursuing a career in the fashion industry. The award for an essay that ‘demonstrates a passion for bridge-building, community, and leadership’ is presented to honor the memory and efforts of social activist Saul Morrison to secure equal opportunities for everyone.

  • Lawndale High School student Malaysia Long received the 2018 Lillie Bell Blakley Award for her entry, “The Birth of Nonviolence.” The four-year Honor Roll student aims to major in English and Pre-Law, and has been accepted at several universities. Ms. Long, a member of the Black Student Union and Class President, also dedicates time to volunteer in youth and outreach programs in the community. The award for a work that ‘demonstrates an awareness of tradition, legacy, and history’ is given in honor of Lillie Bell Blakley, whose passion to “keep moving forward” is apparent in her family’s multigenerational commitment to education and service, which includes son and former Mayor of Santa Monica Nathaniel Trives, as well as granddaughter Dr. Toni Trives, chair of the SMC Modern Languages and Cultures Department.

  • Susan Miller Dorsey High School Public and Service Magnet student Andrew Rodriguez received the 2018 Clyde Smith Award for ‘artistic effort and service to making our world a better place.’ Mr. Rodriguez, who is applying to college as a Political Science major, has a passion for Law and plans to become to become a lawyer. The award is given to celebrate the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition co-founder, director of the former Neighborhood Development Corporation (NRDC), and revered community leader Clyde Smith.

Also, Santa Monica High School student May Kono received a 2018 Honorable Mention Award from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition. Her goal is to work in the film industry as a screenwriter who can inspire people to create change, especially in matters like Asian representation in American film, the environmental crisis, and nuclear weapons abolition. Ms. Kono also enjoys playing in her school’s Symphony Orchestra, and writing in her free time.

Each year, schools, churches, and youth groups invite college and high school students to submit an essay, poem, or other creative work that exemplifies the “Six Principles of Nonviolence” in Dr. King’s Stride Toward Freedom. The awards are supported by endowments established in memory of local community activists and managed by the Santa Monica College Foundation.

To find out more about the Education Awards or to help support the awards, please call the SMC Foundation at (310) 434-4215.

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