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Scholarship Program Aims To Develop Leaders In Puget Sound Region

Joe Mabel
Pacific Lutheran University is one of four Christian institutions in the Pacific Northwest that offers scholarships through the Act Six program.

This is a nail-biting time for high school seniors as they wait for college acceptance letters and financial aid. Twenty-two high schoolers from around the Puget Sound region already have that figured out after being selected for a scholarship program called Act Six.

The students have won scholarships for four years of study, and some of them will also get money for room and board. The universities they’ll attend are Christian institutions: Whitworth and Gonzaga universities in Spokane, Northwest University in Kirkland, and Pacific Lutheran University in Parkland.

Act Six is run by a faith-based nonprofit called Degrees of Change in Tacoma. Taylor Tibbs is director of the Tacoma/Seattle program. She said the scholarship program includes about seven months of training for the students before they arrive on campus.

“We focus on leadership development,” Tibbs said. “We focus on college preparation – so the difference between high school studying skills and college studying skills.”

She said Act Six provides mentoring to the students once they get to campus and develops cohorts of students at each university who will support each other.  

Most of the students who receive the scholarships are the first in their family to go to college or come from low-income backgrounds. It’s a very competitive program – the 22 students were selected from more than 375 applicants.

Joseph Gomez De La Mora is from Tacoma and a senior at Lincoln High School. He’ll attend Northwest University in Kirkland. He said he cried when he found out he had been chosen for the scholarship and said he’s grateful for the mentoring he’ll receive.

“I don’t know what to expect,” he said. “None of my family has been to a university. They’ve been to college but never to a stay-in university, and I honestly don’t know what to expect.”

Gomez De La Mora said he wants to double major in pre-med biology and theology.

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.