2017 minority scholarships

Forum Enterprises CEO Kevin Columbus, back left, poses with this year's minority scholarship recipients and Forum Enterprises Executive Director T.C. Webb Jr., back right. The recipients are, back row from left, Ryan Dang and KeShawn Joseph, and front row from left, Elizabeth Guerrero, Arianna Williams and Chavon Garrett. Not pictured is Eva Vivanco-Valdivia.

Contributed by Forum Enterprises

Now in the third year of its minority scholarship program, a Lompoc organization was able to once again double the number of scholarships, as well as the value of each scholarship, it awarded this summer.

Forum Enterprises, an entertainment and sports management group headed by CEO Kevin Columbus, recently awarded the $2,000 scholarships to six 2017 graduates from Lompoc and Cabrillo high schools. Those numbers represent an increase from 2016 when the organization awarded four $1,000 scholarships, and from 2015 when it gave out a pair of $1,000 awards.

This year’s scholarship recipients were Cabrillo High School graduates Arianna Williams, Ryan Dang and Eva Vivanco-Valdivia, and Lompoc High School alumni Chavon Garrett, KeShawn Joseph and Elizabeth Guerrero.

“Overall, this year's recipients are all hardworking and amazing students with bright futures,” read a statement from Forum Enterprises.

Williams graduated from Cabrillo High with a 4.02 GPA and is attending the University of California, Davis, this fall with plans to specialize in plastic surgery, according to Forum Enterprises, which reported that she hopes to one day start her own practice.

Dang, who graduated from Cabrillo High with a 3.68 GPA, is attending California State University, Channel Islands, with plans to major in nursing. Dang’s high school senior project required him to volunteer a significant amount of his time shadowing nurses at the Comprehensive Care Center in Lompoc and at Dignity Health's Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria.

Vivanco-Valdivia graduated from Cabrillo High with a 4.29 GPA and ranked No. 4 in her graduating class, according to Forum Enterprises. Vivanco-Valdivia is also attending UC Davis with plans to major in chemistry and forensic anthropology. She hopes to investigate criminal cases for the federal government, Forum Enterprises reported.

Garrett graduated from Lompoc High with a 3.83 GPA. She is attending San Diego State University with plans to major in biology in preparation to become a pediatric cardiologist. While attending Lompoc High, Garrett was in the school’s Health and Wellness Careers (HAWC) Academy, which helps students to prepare for careers in the medical and science fields.

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Joseph, who graduated from Lompoc High with a 3.41 GPA, is attending Fresno State University with plans to major in pre-physical therapy or kinesiology. Joseph was also in Lompoc High’s HAWC Academy, in which he was named student of the year as a junior.

Guerrero graduated from Lompoc High with a 4.28 GPA and ranked No. 6 in her graduating class, according to Forum Enterprises. Guerrero is attending the University of California, San Diego, with plans to major in microbiology and work in the medical field.

“(Guerrero) has a strong passion for science,” read a statement from Forum Enterprises. “When she found out that LHS did not offer an AP Biology course, she was able to gather signatures to petition to have this course, and the course was made available.”

Forum Enterprises is based out of Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Columbus, the organization's CEO, is from Lompoc and has said that he was inspired to start the scholarship program as a way to give back to his home community.

Willis Jacobson covers the city of Lompoc for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @WJacobsonLR.

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