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Students dream their way to awards

Six from Forest Grove and Cornelius earn kudos for leadership inside and outside school
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It's a continuous challenge for students in the Forest Grove 'I Have A Dream' program to strive to be leaders from third-grade all the way through high school.

And it's nearly as big a commitment for their adult sponsors, who track their progress those nine years.

'These special mentors agree to stick with the kids from the third-grade on,' said Karen Hill, executive director of Oregon's I Have A Dream Foundation. 'They fundraise and they provide connections to the community for the students in their classes.'

Six students who exemplify the kind of leadership shown by assassinated civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were honored at the end of May with 2006 Faith Gabelnick leadership awards.

The 'dreamers' all demonstrated outstanding leadership in their schools and communities, Hill said.

Gabelnick, the former Pacific University president who died in 2004, helped establish the local IHAD program during her tenure. Since that time, Pacific leaders have partnered with the Forest Grove School District to administrate the program, which has helped dozens of students reach new heights in the area of leadership.

Some have been class presidents and have led their peers academically. Others have been tutors, youth summit leaders and activity coordinators on their respective campuses.

IHAD program representatives 'believe the best way to lift a community up is by helping its children reach for their dreams,' Hill noted. 'We do this by providing long-term mentoring, tutoring, academic enrichment and positive adult role models.'

This year's award winners - two each from Class 6, Class 7 and Class 8 - included Danny Martinez, who will be a junior at Forest Grove High School next fall; Lynsey Martinez, who also will be a junior at FGHS; Mayra Manriquez, an incoming sophomore at FGHS; Jorge Mandujano, another sophomore; Robbie Boles, who will be in eighth-grade at Neil Armstrong Middle School; and Griselda Diego, an incoming NAMS eighth-grader.

Adult sponsors for Class 6 included Ralph and Carol Brown, George and Ruth Burlingham, Molly Saunders and Howard Rosenbaum. For Class 7 the sponsors were Sam Niles and Victor Rodriguez. For Class 8, they included Dave Johnson, Corrinne Oishi and Peggy Harris.