Local students awarded scholarships worth up to $20,000 each for future education
SMITHFIELD – Smithfield Middle School AVID student, Diego Moran Acevedo and Natalie Silva Deras are two of several promising North Carolina seventh graders who have been named as recipients of the Victor E. Bell, Jr. Scholarship. College Foundation, Inc. (CFI) is thrilled to recognize these students for their hard work, leadership, and dedication to school.
Diego is the son of Norma Acevedo Villeda and Esquiel Moran Palafox. Diego sees a medical career in his future. When asked about what it means to be awarded this scholarship Diego replied, “To be awarded the Victor Bell Scholarship is very significant for me and my family. It will help me get through my studies without having to worry about the financial load.”
Diego was nominated as the AVID Program, college access representative for Smithfield Middle. He is a second-year AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) student. The AVID program is a college access program that supports students who would be first-generation college students work to meet their goals throughout middle and high school.
“Diego is a well-rounded student, and has an outstanding work ethic in all that he pursues. I am so pleased he will have this opportunity to help him meet his goals.” stated Sarah W. Anderson, Diego’s AVID teacher. Amy Leach, Diego’s sixth grade Language Arts teacher, says that “Diego was always an active participant in class and added great insight to our class discussions. Diego is a well-rounded student and a natural leader. Diego will be a positive asset to his peers and teachers in the future. Diego is a great nominee and very deserving of the Victor Bell Scholarship award.”
Natalie is the daughter of Alicia Deras and Julio Silva. Natalie was the nominee for the school representative for Smithfield Middle School. Natalie has set goals for college and is considering pursuing veterinary medicine. After hearing of her award she stated, “This scholarship is an incredible opportunity for me.”
Kay Boyd, Natalie’s math teacher says, “Natalie is willing to learn new things in different ways. She is very motivated, hard working and always willing to help others.” Amy Leach shared, “I was able to get to know Natalie in the classroom as well as coach her for volleyball. She is a hard worker and always respectful. Natalie was very supportive and inclusive of others. I always enjoy speaking to Natalie, she has a great sense of humor and carries herself well. She is a wonderful nominee and quite deserving of the Victor Bell Scholarship award.”
The scholarship is named in honor of the chairman of the CFI Board of Trustees, Victor E. Bell, Jr., who served on the Board for 30 years and left a strong legacy of service to higher education in North Carolina.
Each Bell Scholar is eligible to receive up to $20,000, as long as they meet annual renewal criteria. Starting in seventh grade, eligible students will receive $2,000 per year, through four years of college. The funds are contributed to an account in the NC 529 Plan, with the student named as the beneficiary.
Every fall, middle school counselors and college access groups from across North Carolina are invited to nominate students whose names will be randomly selected for the scholarship.