MEMORIAL DAY: United Community is closed on May 30th, 2022

Community Spotlight

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2022 Valencourt Scholarship Recipients

United Community’s Progreso Literacy and Citizenship Center is pleased to announce this year’s Valencourt Scholarship recipients.

The Valencourt Scholarship was created in 2014 at the bequest of Ms. Lois Valencourt to enable students graduating from Mount Vernon, West Potomac, and Bryant High Schools to pursue vocational training or a traditional college education. Recipients receive $2,000 to help with tuition and other school expenses. Ms. Valencourt stipulated the scholarship benefit first generation students, children of migrants, and anyone with a desire to succeed despite present or past circumstances. 22 students have received this scholarship and we are pleased to help provide additional resources for these young adults as they begin their next chapters

Jennyfer Guzman Alvarez
West Potomac High School
Institution they will attend: Northern Virginia Community College, Alexandria Campus

Jennyfer Guzman Alvarez is a well-rounded and driven student looking to pursue an associates degree in biology and later transfer to a 4-year university. She is passionate about biology and became very inspired to learn more about medical assistance in a course she took her junior year. She had “the chance to learn medical procedures on patients, and how to provide a sanitary yet welcoming environment for all.” She especially understands the importance of a safe and welcoming environment as someone with high blood pressure who has “been constantly going in and out of hospitals.” Outside of her passion for biology she is also very involved with her community, including volunteering for Cancer Kids First where she meets with children with cancer online to help brighten their day.

Paola Morales Espinoza
Mount Vernon High School
Institution they will attend: Virginia Commonwealth University

Paola Morales Espinoza is already taking large strides towards pharmaceutical studies as she graduates from Mount Vernon High School and looks to Virginia Commonwealth University and a degree in chemistry with a concentration in chemical modeling. Recognizing her passion for math and science, she has become fascinated with pharmaceutical manufacturing and hopes to go to university to gain a better understanding of how the uses of medications are affected by chemical composition. She is also a known leader in her community with a leading role in her school’s basketball team and a STEM mentor at a Edu-Futuro Center.

Lia Matios
Mount Vernon High School
Institution they will attend: Virginia Commonwealth University

Lia Matios is looking to pursue a degree in business marketing at Virginia Commonwealth University and will be graduating from high school with a well-rounded academic background. Although she has struggled with self-confidence and “rewarding herself whenever she achieves something great,” she is very deserving of this scholarship due to her academic and extracurricular achievements. She is a member of a local Rotary club and has worked as a tutor in Math, English, and Science

Fariba Shehzad
Bryant High School
Institution they will attend: Pending

Fariba Shehzad is a driven and community-minded individual looking to pursue a degree in biology as a stepping stone towards a career in medicine, specifically heart surgery. She is an excellent advocate for herself and her community through volunteering as a translator for fellow immigrants from Afghanistan and spoke with FCPS Superintendent Dr. Braband to present dietary options for Halal students in the county. She has worked hard to continue her education from Afghanistan, to Turkey, to the United States all while overcoming language and cultural barriers.

Brisdini Roxana Rodriguez
Mount Vernon High School
Institution they will attend: Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale Campus

Brisdini Roxana Rodriguez is a compassionate and driven student pursuing a degree in education. She has faced a lot of challenges due to her immigrant background in the United States but has been able to grow with nonprofit organizations United Community and Progreso. In return, she has volunteered at Progreso Literacy and Citizenship Center to help teach English classes and left her mark on her community. For her, the Valencourt Scholarship solidifies her ability to pursue higher education in the United States. She has been able to grow into the person she is today due to the assistance of the local community, and she has thanked them by giving back twofold.

Briana Esparza
Mount Vernon High School
Institution they will attend: Trinity Washington University

Briana has balanced school while working part time at Burton’s Bar and Grill as a hostess. She has worked very hard to stay on track to achieve her dream of joining the medical profession. Briana will be attending Trinity Washington University, where she will be pursuing a degree in nursing. 



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