Four Chelsea Students Receive Full Scholarships to Bunker Hill Community College

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

FUEL students Camilo Camacho of Northeast Metro Tech High School, and Hector Mendoza, Alvaro Pleitez-Martinez and Thalia Pliego of Chelsea High School, are the recipients of four full in-state tuition scholarships to Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC). They are enrolled for classes this fall.

The scholarships were awarded through the unique Chelsea Compact program, in partnership with Bunker Hill Community College and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. FUEL launched the Compact in 2010 to allow more low-income students to affordably attend college. Families are notified of the scholarship opportunity as soon as they join the FUEL program, at the beginning of their children’s high school careers, rather than at the end. UMass Amherst offers up to 20 full scholarships to qualifying students every year, while Bunker Hill Community College offers up to five.

“Aspirational scholarships like the Compact are key factors in keeping high school students and families motivated to stay on the path to a college career,” said Bob Hildreth, founder and executive director of FUEL, and a member of the BHCC Foundation Board. “These families have seen exactly how their hard work contributed to sending their children to college for the first time, and hopefully this ambition will inspire generations to come.”

The four students and their families each saved $1,500 for college, which was then matched dollar for dollar by FUEL, creating a total of $3,000 for each family. They also attended monthly Savings Circle meetings and after-school programs in Chelsea.

In order to maintain their BHCC scholarships, each student must be accepted into a degree or certificate program, maintain satisfactory academic progress, according to the College’s policy, and earn a 2.5 GPA or higher.

“The end of high school doesn’t mark the end of education; it just marks a new era in our lives and in our education,” scholarship winner Alvaro Pleitez-Martinez said. “My educational goal is to keep my grades as strong as they were in high school. I know it’s going to be hard, but I can do it.”

Camilo, Hector, Alvaro and Thalia all aim to eventually achieve four-year degrees. Camilo, Hector, Alvaro and Thalia plan to study physics, paralegal studies, computer forensics and graphic design respectively. If they graduate successfully from BHCC and maintain the necessary academic standards, the Compact program will assist them in a smooth transfer to UMass Amherst to continue their higher education.

About Families United in Educational Leadership (FUEL) 
Families United in Educational Leadership (FUEL) is a nonprofit organization that offers to match the savings of low-income families for their children’s college education. FUEL was founded by Robert Hildreth, a banker and social entrepreneur, in January 2009. FUEL is currently running successfully in Lynn, Chelsea, Boston, and the Boston neighborhoods of Chinatown, Dorchester, and Roxbury. The program is set to launch at other sites in 2011-2012. More information is available at:  www.fuelaccounts.org.

Media Contact:
Karen M. Norton, Executive Director of Integrated Marketing and Communications
Bunker Hill Community College, Boston, MA 02129
Phone: (617) 228-2177; Email: kmnorton@bhcc.mass.edu