CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Thousands of teenagers are getting ready to head off to college after graduating from high school this week.
One young lady will be going to Appalachian State University, thanks to a lot of support from Garinger High School alumni.
Emely Zayonara Guardado got her diploma from the school this week.
“It was a lot of pressure because my sister got a full ride to go to college,” Zayonara Guardado said. “So I had a lot of pressure on me to do the same.”
Zayonara Guardado received a number of scholarships, including a $1,000 renewable award from the Garinger Education Foundation.
“For me it’s a lot, a lot of help, because I come from a family that is low income,” she said.
The foundation is made up of alumni. It started with the class of 1963 wanting to give back.
“We can’t help every kid in the world, but we can help these because we feel a real kinship,” said Jane Suitt, who graduated from Garinger High in 1964.
She said, like them, many of today’s students come from working-class families and have overcome challenges.
“This year we gave 13 scholarships. They were valued about $18,000 and all of them are renewable for four years,” Suitt said.
Each award is sentimental. Some are named after alumni who worked for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department who were killed in the line of duty, and others who died serving in Vietnam.
Zayonara Guardado received an academic honor with a bracelet. Her name is on one side, and the name of a fallen soldier is on the other side.
“I will always keep it with me forever. The help the Garinger Foundation has done for me, and this is like, a way to remember,” Zayonara Guardado said.
This year the Garinger Foundation saw its first group of 11 students graduate from college. Thirty-six are still in college with an average unweighted GPA of 3.07.
To read more about the Garinger Foundation, click here.
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