Junior League, Ryan Foundation Award $40,000 in Scholarships

The Junior League of Dallas recently awarded $40,000 in collegiate scholarships to 10 college-bound women from Dallas ISD during the ninth annual Women LEAD speech competition and awards ceremony.

​​The 10 finalists were selected from a highly competitive set of 17 applicants from Emmett J. Conrad High School, Thomas Jefferson High School, and South Oak Cliff High School. Founded in 2013 by the JLD, the Women LEAD (Learn. Excel. Achieve. Dream.) scholarship program was created to help female high school students pursue higher education and to create opportunities for future women leaders. Since the program began, the league has awarded 62 scholarships totaling $305,000 to female seniors from these three area high schools.

“We know how hard each of the finalists worked on their applications and speeches, and we are so happy to recognize their individual efforts and talents,” said JLD president Christa Sanford. “We have been incredibly honored to work with these impressive young ladies and hope these scholarships will help them further their education to become future leaders in their careers and communities. We are excited to see their success in the coming years as they continue their journeys in college and beyond.”

In October, Women LEAD chair Ileana Barrientez, Signature Projects vice president Leslie Mba, and their committee held workshops at the three high schools to review the application and scholarship program. After the finalists were selected in early February, JLD members re-visited the schools to hold public speaking workshops. The committee scored applications based on the criteria of academic performance, resume, letters of recommendation, transcript, and an essay.

The top 10 ranked applicants were invited to present their speeches in front of judges including: Christa Sanford, JLD president; Amy Kendrick Lee, manager, community outreach, Ryan LLC and executive director, The Ryan Foundation; and Karla Garcia, senior associate, Dallas County Promise and Dallas ISD Board of Trustees member. 

​​Additionally, they spoke about their passions and how receiving a Women LEAD scholarship will help them achieve their dreams, which included becoming an accountant, an athletic trainer in the NFL, a career in technology, and more.​​After the speeches concluded and votes were tallied, the judges determined the winners and awarded a total of $40,000 in collegiate scholarship funds to the students based on the merits of their scholarship application and speech presentation. Honorable mention winners Rayven Foreman, Jennifer Sanchez, Elizabeth Oyinwola, Tha Iang, and Jonteria Jackson each received a $1,000 scholarship. Fifth place winner Imzadi Diaz won a $2,000 scholarship; fourth place winner Rosa Tejada won a $3,000 scholarship; third-place winner Karah Johnson won a $5,000 scholarship, and second place winner Lesley Martinez won a $10,000 scholarship. The winner of the $15,000 Women LEAD Scholarship program was Jessica Ramirez.

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