Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

Feb. 4, 2009

First Spokane Scholars in Seventh Cadre of Student Leaders
to Receive Full Act Six Scholarships to Attend Whitworth

In the midst of a steady stream of dismal economic news, eight urban student leaders from Spokane have fresh reason for hope and celebration this week. 

The Act Six Leadership and Scholarship Initiative announced today the first cadre of eight Spokane students who will join 35 students from the Puget Sound region to receive full-tuition, full-need scholarships to five Washington colleges. Whitworth University, the first college to join the program in 2002, will welcome its seventh cadre. Other participating Washington colleges include Gonzaga University, Pacific Lutheran University, Northwest University and Trinity Lutheran College. Collectively, the scholarships will provide nearly $5.5 million in financial aid over four years.

The newest Act Six scholars will be recognized in community celebrations in Spokane on Tuesday, Feb. 10, at 7 p.m. at Lewis and Clark High School, and in Seattle on Thursday, Feb. 12, at 6:30 p.m. at Cleveland High School. The press and public are invited with RSVP.

"The Act Six program has brought to Whitworth an extraordinary group of students who have enriched our campus through their leadership and service, even as we have taught and mentored them," says Whitworth President Bill Robinson. "The program requires big investments, but it also delivers big rewards. So, it would be irresponsible and morally unacceptable if we didn't explore ways to expand Act Six to other schools."

Launched in 2002 by the Northwest Leadership Foundation (NLF) in Tacoma, Act Six seeks to develop urban leaders to be agents of transformation on campus and in their home communities. Since the program's inception, six cadres of ethnically diverse and mostly first-generation, low-income Act Six scholars from urban Tacoma and Seattle have enrolled at Whitworth. Today's announcement is the culmination of this year's Act Six expansion that added three new partner colleges, a Spokane office, and a new track to a four-year degree. 

Act Six develops leaders through a simple, but powerful, four-step strategy:

  • Recruit and select diverse, multicultural cadres of Washington's most promising emerging urban leaders.
  • Train and prepare these groups of students in the year prior to college, equipping them to support each other, succeed academically, and grow as service-minded leaders and agents of transformation.
  • Send and fund the teams together to select faith-based colleges in Washington on four year, full-tuition, full-need scholarships.
  • Support and inspire by providing strong campus support and ongoing leadership development to nurture these young people as they find their vocation and grow into the next generation of community leaders.

To date, 91 percent of the scholars in the first two cadres have graduated. Overall, 90 percent of the 67 scholars originally selected for the program have graduated or are still enrolled – reflecting graduation and retention rates that far exceed national averages. Act Six scholars have been elected student-body presidents two of the past three years at Whitworth and have been involved in numerous other leadership roles on and off campus.

"Our scholars are having a profound impact through their leadership on campus, and as they begin to graduate we look forward to their impact in the community," says Tim Herron, founder and national director of Act Six. "This is what we envisioned when we launched Act Six and what we are now seeing replicated around the state and nation."

Nationally, Act Six affiliates also have been established at Crichton College, in Memphis, Tenn., and George Fox University, in Newberg, Ore.

The following is a list of this year's Whitworth Act Six scholars:

Whitworth University (Cadre Seven)
Joseph Lawyer, III, Life Christian Academy
Jessica Pearson, Lincoln High School
Marisol Rosado, Highline High School
Meklit Kalebessa, Lewis and Clark High School
Darrien Mack, Rogers High School (Spokane)
Taylor Powell, Shadle Park High School
Jaime Rebuelta, Riverside High School

Following next week's celebrations, scholars begin an intensive seven-month training program that involves weekly meetings with Act Six staff, retreats and campus visits. Whitworth, Gonzaga, PLU and Northwest scholars are participating in the traditional Direct-Four Year Track and will enroll at those colleges in fall 2009.

Trinity Lutheran College scholars were selected as part of the new Act Six Urban Service Track. They will undertake two years of street-level urban service experience with local non-profits in Tacoma while earning an associate's degree at Tacoma Community College before transferring to Trinity Lutheran College in fall 2011 to earn their bachelor's degree.

Learn more about Act Six online at www.actsix.org.

Those wishing to attend next week's community celebrations should RSVP with Crystal Viken, Act Six assistant director, at (253) 272-0771 ext. 111 or cviken@northwestleaderhip.org.

The Northwest Leadership Foundation is a faith-based non-profit headquartered in Tacoma, Wash. Since 1989, the foundation has worked to move individuals and organizations from good intentions to effective outcomes in its effort to encourage, strengthen and develop leadership for the spiritual and social renewal of the city.


Tim Herron, Act Six national director, Northwest Leadership Foundation,
(253) 272-0771 ext.109 or therron@northwestleadership.org.

Rodney McAuley, Act Six Spokane director, Northwest Leadership Foundation,
(509) 953-8003 or rmcauley@northwestleadership.org.

Esther Louie, assistant dean for intercultural student affairs, Whitworth University,
(509) 777-4572 or elouie@whitworth.edu

Related Links:

Whitworth Press Release Index