True Potential Scholarships 6/22/15 06/22/15 12:41:14 AM
From left are: Luis Olivas, Scholarship Founder Ross Pesek, Liliana Martinez, Jackeline Lopez, Martin Hernandez and Karen Pesek, Ross’s wife. Not able to attend were award recipients Jose Flores, Salvador Morales and Priscilla Hernandez. – Photo by Michael Tran
True Potential Scholarships
Dreamers Closer to Realizing Their Dreams
By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record
Seven True Potential Scholar-ships were awarded at a fundraising dinner at Metro Community College’s Fort Omaha campus on June 11.
The True Potential Scholarship, founded by Ross Pesek of Pesek Law LLC and Matters on Tomorrow, seeks out deserving young immigrants who have been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status by the United States Department of Homeland Security. In addition, scholarship recipients must also meet the following criteria: They are attending or enrolling in classes at a Nebraska or Iowa community college, and have demonstrated a commitment to their continued education. They are often called “Dreamers” because of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.
As Ross Pesek said, “The ultimate goal of these scholarships is to allow these students to reach their ‘True Potential.’”
This year’s winners are: Liliana Martinez, Priscilla Hernandez, Luis Olivas, Jose Lopez, Martin Hernandez, Salvador Morales and Jackeline Lopez.
True Potential shared this about the seven recipients:
Liliana is ready to fulfill her dream of working with small children. After having to take a break from school to help with family health issues, she is pursuing the early childhood education program at Southeast Community College in Lincoln.
A Scottsbluff high school graduate, Priscilla’s passion for the medical field has flourished after significant volunteer work at the local senior center and hospital. She will attend Western Nebraska Community College with the intention of becoming a nurse.
With the ultimate goal of earning a law degree, Luis is currently attending Central Community College in Columbus, and will continue to obtain a bachelor’s degree in education at a four-year university before enrolling in law school.
Despite being called upon to contribute to his family’s financial situation at only 15 years old, Jose has an impressive resume with great grades and community involvement. Jose is now enrolled at Central Community College in the construction management program.
Martin’s goal is to obtain a certificate that makes official his long time passion for cars and mechanic work that he learned from his father. Martin will enroll in Metropolitan Community College’s auto tech program and hopes to start his own mechanic shop.
Salvador has been purposefully working two jobs to save money for his continued education. Passionate to protect, serve, and help his community, it is his goal to become a police detective by completing the criminal justice program at Iowa Western Community College.
Jackeline, who is currently pursuing her nursing degree at Central Community College, has been awarded the True Potential Scholarship for a second time. She has shown her persistence and hard work by maintaining a high GPA during the last school year.
This is the second year for the awarding of these scholarships. In 2014, True Potential awarded five full-tuition scholarships to immigrant students attending community colleges who are not otherwise eligible for financial aid based on their immigration status. True Potential maximizes scholarship funds by requesting that each receiving institution match the funds awarded.
Karen Pesek said that this year’s event “was a success. We had a full room, growing so much from last year’s event. We raised about $10,000 with expenses already taken out, and we were shooting to raise $5K, so we doubled our goal!”
Ross Pesek has an associate degree from Central Community College – Columbus, a bachelor of science degree from Wayne State College and a juris doctorate, with distinction, from the University Of Nebraska College of Law.
He has recently started his own firm, Pesek Law, LLC. As a private attorney, he focuses on criminal defense, immigration, and accident and injury cases. Ross has been lead counsel in federal and state criminal jury trials, argued before the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals and the Nebraska Court of Appeals as lead counsel, and has helped over 100 people achieve legal immigration status.
Ross also serves on the Matters on Tomorrow Board of Directors in addition to the Board of Directors for the Nebraska Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.