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Houston Coca-Cola's $10,000 in scholarships to Houston students expands educational opportunities

 Special to USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston
USAfricaonline.com and The Black Business Journal


Corporate acts of educational support such as this one by the Coca Cola company should be commended. They form parts of the quest to expand the frontiers of opportunity and educational mobility for youths. Hopefully, other corporations will emulate, match or surpass them in this area of community outreach and development. To be sure, Coca Cola is not the only major corporation in this effort. They also need to look into the inner cities and especially at recent immigrants and youths who form a major part of the readership of USAfrica The Newspaper and our related award-winning business and financial interest Houston-based national newspaper The Black Business Journal.

The Houston Coca-Cola Bottling Company has given 23 Houston-area and east Texas high school students scholarships towards achieving their dreams of a college education. The April 19, 2002 event is a part of the corporation's 13th annual 'Coca-Cola Share the Dream Essay Contest' awards Banquet at the Astros Field. "We are proud to continue to offer this important scholarship program to our area youth,' said Dave French, division vice president and general manager for the Houston Coca-Cola Bottling Company. "As members of the local business community, we remain committed to helping deserving youth pursue their dreams of a college education."

According a statement from Vincent Communications sent to The Black Business Journal , USAfrica The Newspaper and USAfricaonline.com, since its inception in 1989, the Houston Coca-Cola Bottling Company has awarded 215 area students more than $130,000 in scholarship money. This year, there were 23 qualifying finalists, from which there was one grand prize, one first place and one second place winner selected. In addition to the finalists, Angelife Pardo, a senior at Elsik High School, was randomly chosen to receive a personal computer.



The finalists were chosen from more than 1,742 essay entries responding to the theme, 'It has been said that Education is the key to unlocking success. What keys did you make for yourself to move into the future?'

This year's grand prize winner is Steven Knight, a Dulles High School senior. He was awarded a $2500 college scholarship and a personal computer. Steven's teacher, Bill Duggan, will also receive a personal computer in recognition of the positive impact he has had on his students and for 'instilling the gift of knowledge.'

The first place winner was Pasadena High School senior Gina Vargas. She received a $1500 college scholarship and a personal computer. Second place went to Patricia Shaw, a freshman at Brenham Christian Academy. She earned a $1000 college scholarship and a personal computer.

Each of the following 20 finalists received a $250 college scholarship: Eleanor Gould, a junior at Clear Lake High School; Lily Banerjee, a freshman at Clear Lake High School; Ann Wang, a sophomore at Clements High School; Denise Arebalo, a junior at Colombus High School; Stephanie White, a junior at Columbus High School; Will Srubar III, a senior at East Bernard High School; Daniel DeJesus, a senior at Elsik High School; Gerald Wilson, a freshman at Robert E. Lee High School; Erin McDonald, a senior at Industrial High School; Jessica Ham, a senior at Industrial High School; Christine Tower, a junior at Klein Oak High School; Jennifer Gamber, a senior at Langham Creek High School; Tyrrell Burrus, a junior at Kelly Catholic High School; Kate MacLauchia, a freshman at Navasota High School; Carla Lawrence, a junior at Pearland High School; Jessica Lopez, a senior at Smiley High School; Jennifer Braden, a senior at Stafford High School; Heather Benoit, a freshman at Tomball High School; Emily Wilkinson at Westside High School; and Kristen Shaw, a junior at Westside High School.

Corporate acts of educational support such as this one by the Coca Cola company should be commended. Thye form parts of the quest to expand the frontiers of opportunity and educational mobility for youths. Hopefully, other corporations will emulate, match or surpass them in this area of community outreach and development. To be sure, Coca Cola is not the only major corporation in this effort. They also need to look into the inner cities and especially at recent immigrants and youths who form a major part of the readership of USAfrica The Newspaper and our related award-winning business and financial interest Houston-based national newspaper The Black Business Journal.


Chido Nwangwu, recipient of the Journalism Excellence award (1997), is Founder and Publisher of USAfricaonline.com (first African-owned U.S.-based professional newspaper to be published on the internet), USAfrica The Newspaper, NigeriaCentral.com and The Black Business Journal. He also serves as an adviser to the Mayor of Houston on international business (Africa) and appears as an analyst on CNN, VOA, NPR, CBS News, NBC and ABC news affiliates.

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These views were stated during an interview CNN's anchor Bernard Shaw and senior analyst Jeff Greenfield had with Mr. Nwangwu on Saturday November 18, 2000 during a special edition of 'Inside Politics 2000.'
Nwangwu, adviser to the Mayor of Houston (the 4th largest city in the U.S., and immigrant home to thousands of Africans) argued further that "the issues of the heritage interests of 35 million African-Americans in Africa, the volume and value of oil business between between the U.S and Nigeria and the horrendous AIDS crisis in Africa do not lend any basis for Governor Bush's ill-advised position which removes Africa from fair consideration" were he to be elected president.
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