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With Michael having left our physical presence eight years ago, Michael Starks Scholarship awardees continue to flourish, living their lives in ways befitting our son's focus on Friendship, Brotherhood, sheer joy of life. This accompanies a spirit of happiness, family, self-achievement, and forgiveness.  The following individuals continue to display the remarkable personal attributes with which we credited our own son in making their presence notable, rewarding, honorably interacting with those important in their own lives. Were Michael to have a physical presence in our lives, he would undoubtedly be in the bleachers cheering them on in their individual pursuit of values most important to him - friendship, family commitment, personal goals, love of life, and brotherhood.


I asked Orlando, Trevor, Nick, and Yahya to submit a brief update on what they've been up to as they all maintain a constant presence in our hearts and minds in their own personal and professional endeavors. In the near future we will hear from other scholarship winners Jackie Sliwinski, Josh Anderson, and Melissa Aguilar as they bring us current on their own lives since accepting awards that honor us all. We look greatly forward to this opportunity.


Orlando Avila, 2009

I am graduating in August with a Bachelors in Social Work. I am currently doing an internship with the Oxbow Jail where I am doing group work with people suffering from addiction. On the weekends I work with kids at the Christmas Box House.  Recently I left St. Ann's, where I served as Youth Minister for three years because I felt that I needed to focus on school since it was my final year. I still attend Mass weekly. I feel that God and my family have really guided me on this journey, living my life the way God wants me to.


Trevor Bonn, 2011 

Receiving the Michael Starks Scholarship has helped guide me on the current path I'm on. I've devoted my time to serving others and bringing joy into their lives in any way I can. I am a certified Advanced EMT, recently involved in Cardiovascular Health research, Physical Therapy in a cerebral vascular accident clinic, with most patients suffering from stroke or severe brain trauma. Most recently I am a senior at the U and currently applying to various Physical Therapy schools. I've also spent time volunteering with Special Olympics and UFIT (I hope that I have stayed true to honoring Michael. I hope one day to add to the scholarship amount because it has had a profound impact on my life. I hope to do the same for other students in the future')


Nick Markham, 2012

I received the Michael Starks Scholarship at the end of my sophomore year, and I must say that was the very fortunate beginning of success for me at Judge Memorial High School. Since, I starred in Sweeney Todd and Elephant Man in the lead roles while in the Theater Department, won several poetry accolades, designed an award-winning literary magazine, and then went on to Chapman University for Film. It was nice of you to reach out, and I want you know that the scholarship on your son's name tremendously change my life.'


Yahya Yusef, 2014

Happy to hear from you and again thanking you for the scholarship awarded me in my Junior year. I've had a very successful four years at Judge and graduated with honors. I've held student council positions since my Freshman year, served as Chairman of our school's blood drive for two years, and Chairman of the Keys to Success Program. As well, I created Green Solutions - an organization that creates greenhouses at JMHS, making our campus green with the the goal of self-sufficiency in the future. I was also editor of the school paper, completed over 200 hours of service helping the Somali refugee community and was awarded the Presidential Award silver medal and the 2016 Youth of the Year award (SLC Exchange Club.

I also volunteered with the Peer Court for youth offenders, mentoring many youth offenders. I was honored to be a role model serving in this capacity. I graduated with a GPA of 3.71, admitted to the U of U Honors College, U of So. California, Santa Clara College, and Boston College, where I will be majoring this year in the Carol School of Management - one step closer to my dream of becoming a Hedge Fund Manager.


While all recipients have profoundly thanked the foundation for helping to jump-start their lives, it is we as a family who remains grateful to each of you for so willingly keeping Michaels presence alive. As well, a heartfelt thanks to all who have so generously made tax-deductible contributions to

Michael's scholarship in past years.


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