Past Award Winners

2018 LIVE YOUR DREAM AWARD WINNER – JE’NIQUA L. MORRIS

Je’Niqua has had many obstacles in her life, which she has overcome with patience, determination, and faith, and is working towards making a successful life for herself and her 3 year old daughter. She was raised by her disabled grandmother, and while life was not easy, she persevered, and has worked hard to overcome her circumstances by focusing on education and career goals. Je’Niqua did not have any financial help, and worked endlessly to be the first in her immediate family to receive an Associates Degree. She earned an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Early Childhood Development, Summa Cum Laude, and aims to receive a bachelors degree as well. She has achieved all of this on her own while raising a young child and working. Her mentor and co-worker describe her as motivated, hardworking, and compassionate. She is someone who desires to make a difference in the lives of others, especially those who come from backgrounds such as hers. Je’Niqua would like to expand her knowledge and education in pursuing a career in Psychology so she can work with and help youths or criminals, or own a Culinary Arts Business focusing on children from ages 7-12 yrs. She is currently a student at Germanna Community College and will be transferring after Spring 2018 to a 4 year BA degree. One mentor has said of Je’Niqua that “she has a strength and resiliency that flows from grit and determination, and this is what propels her to not just set lofty goals, but to actually attain them.”

2018 LIVE YOUR DREAM AWARD WINNER – ALICIA VANN

Alicia has had a number of set-backs over the past several years. After 11 years of marriage, she is now the sole supporter of her family. She knew that to protect, and provide for her four children she needed to get her own place to live in, and get a high enough paying job for all of them to live comfortably. So 10 years later after graduating from high school (with some college studies), she decided to complete her degree. Alicia has attended Northern Virginia community College, and will be graduating from Ferrum College in late 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Pre-Professional Health Sciences. She is highly motivated to finish her Nursing Degree, and has proven her dedication to this field by working at Kaiser Permanente. One of the nurses who works with her says that “Alicia, has an amazing work ethic and drive to be the best worker she can be. She is committed to do whatever is needed to accomplish her goal. She is a strong team player and works well with others to get the job done.” Another mentor notes that while Alicia has had some set-backs, “she comes in with a positive attitude, smile, and a laugh that would brighten anyone’s day. She is extremely intelligent, I can see her going beyond her nursing degree.” Alicia is the proud mother of four children ages eleven, ten, nine, and five. She wants to serve as a positive example to her children, and show them that education will enable securing their future and her own.

2018 PATTIE FOLKS MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP WINNER – ALEXA MARIE STEELE

At a young age, Alexa experienced grief, loss, and trauma. Though feeling lost, she sought guidance from teachers, peers, and extended family members. Her experiences at a young age only emboldened her to strive for excellence. She wants to be the first person in her family to go to college, and has worked diligently towards this goal. Since 2014 she has participated in the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA), an organization preparing emerging leaders and entrepreneurs to be college and career ready. She has won 1st and 2nd place awards in the various DECA competitions, and was a State Competition finalist in 2015. As a high school senior, she is currently enrolled in a college level English class, and is an honor roll student. Alexa spends time with friends, works a job, and balances academics with extracurricular activities. She is interested in helping others, and has volunteered at a preschool summer camp and thrift store, as well as participated in her Church’s mission trip. To paraphrase one of her mentors, “Alexa is determined, compassionate, strong, and courageous. She is a remarkable young woman.

2018 VIOLET RICHARDSON AWARD WINNER – EVA KEMAL

Soroptomist International of Woodbridge is proud to honor Eva Kemal as the 2018 Violet Richardson Award winner. Eva is a Senior at Woodbridge High School and describes herself as a happy individual, a zealous humanitarian, and a confident leader. Eva has an impressive list of achievements and contributions she has made to Society. She is the President of the National Junior Honor Society and the School Softball club. Eva is the recipient of the “Saluting the Stars” County Level Academic Achievement Award and was inducted into the County’s Youth Salute Council for exceptional Student Leaders. She was also a Student Presenter at the County’s 2017 Equality and Excellence in Education Conference. Eva joined the Student Activities Leadership Council (SALC) at the end of her freshman year at school. Due to her impressive application and interview, she was appointed as the “Bridge Projects Captain” in her Junior Year and was in charge of all school related philanthropy and volunteer activities. For her senior year, she was selected to be the Philanthropy Executive Chairperson. Eva and her committee started the canned goods drive in conjunction with the annual “Screen with Green Event” and collected over 700 canned goods that were shipped with toiletry items to a Texas High School following the hurricane. The committee also hosted the Annual Homecoming Coin Competition and raised $2000 that was donated to three local organizations. In addition, Eva helped organize a Dressember team with fellow peers, and raised $6000 to end human trafficking and modern day slavery. Eva was also involved in projects such as the Prom Dress Drive , Autism Wristband Fundraiser and Annual State Outreach Project. In the past Two and a half years, Eva has helped raise over $13,000 for local and national charities.

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From left to right: Je’Niqua Morris, Alexa Steele, Alicia Vann