Some have lived through war. Some have left everything and come to a new country. Some have lost their parents to violence or incarceration and must care for themselves and their siblings. And somehow, through it all, these high school juniors have managed to excel in school and position themselves to enter college next year.
On June 1, The San Francisco Foundation honored nine of San Francisco’s most promising young leaders with the Koshland Young Leaders Awards, which come with $10,000 to help each recipient cover the cost of their education.
“This award is my first step to go to college, it’s my first form of help, because nobody else is helping me,” said Erica Coria, an awardee from Mission High School. Erica’s parents are incarcerated, so she cares for herself and her younger brothers.
Established by the late Dr. Daniel Koshland, Jr., this scholarship program provides financial assistance to college-bound San Francisco public high school students who demonstrate a commitment to strengthening their families and communities despite facing formidable life challenges. In the past 25 years, the Koshland Young Leaders Awards have granted nearly $800,000 to 120 students.
This year’s awards ceremony also celebrated the work of Yvonne Koshland, the late wife of Dr. Daniel Koshland, Jr., who served on the award selection committee for 15 years. The Koshland family announced on June 1 that they will be creating an additional award in Yvonne’s name which will place a special emphasis on public service, civic planning, and environmental preservation, in addition to academic achievement.
“My desire to succeed came from the hardship that I faced. When I was in Sudan and in Kenya, I didn’t have the opportunity to go to school. But when I came here, I have full opportunities to get an education,” said awardee Nadra Mohamed of Mission High School. “I’m pushing toward success because I’m working for other people who don’t have opportunities.”
The Koshland Young Leaders demonstrate one of the reasons why The San Francisco Foundation invests in leadership. We look forward to seeing how these incredible individuals continue to flourish in their education, careers and communities.