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KYTESOL student Scholarship awardees

KYTESOL 2022 Scholarship Recipient Bless Lawson

Congratulations to our 2022 scholarship recipient Bless Lawson, who graduated from the ESL Newcomer Academy in Louisville. He is a native of Ghana and came to the US in 2021. His mother and other family members still reside in Ghana. In order to support her, Bless worked after school in addition to being enrolled in an accelerated learning program called Accelerate to Graduate, where he was able to take more than ten classes in one school year, maintaining honor roll status.

Bless plans to enroll at the JCTC, and his goal is to pursue a degree in Computer Engineering Technology. We congratulate this student for his accomplishments and endurance and wish him the best in his post-secondary plans and future endeavors.

KYTESOL 2021 Scholarship Recipient Esther Murebwa

Our 2021 scholarship recipient is Esther Murebwa, who graduated from Waggener High School in Louisville. She is a native of Burundi and has four brothers and sisters. Together with her family, she fled to and was raised in Kenya, but they also lived in the Congo for some time. Her native language is Kinyarwanda. Esther is currently attending Campbellsville University pursuing a major in business administration.

Because of war and violence, Esther witnessed atrocities, endured horrible events, and saw family members getting killed. Finally, a group of people helped the family apply as refugees to come to the US. However, it took about six years for them to arrive in North Dakota, where she attended high school as a freshman. Then they moved to Louisville, and Esther was enrolled at Eastern High School in her sophomore year. She finally completed her high school education at Waggener High School.

Esther worked closely with Southeast Christian Church throughout her high school years and helped take care of her younger siblings and cousins. She also found the time to tutor other young people from her community.

We congratulate Esther for her accomplishments and endurance and wish her the best and much success in her university studies and future endeavors.

KYTESOL 2020 Scholarship Recipient Nasra Sherif

Meet one of our two 2020 KYTESOL scholarship recipients, Nasra Sherif, from Somalia. Due to the war in that country, she and her family had to flee to Ethiopia where they lived for about ten years. With the help of the WRO (World Relief Organization), they were resettled to the United States.

In adapting to her new country, Nasra showed patience, discipline, the ability to learn new skills, and practiced her leadership skills as well as excelled in volunteering at many places such as the Kentucky Science Center, Bowman Field, the Islamic Center, Whitney Young Elementary, and homeless shelters.

Her diverse goals for her future include becoming a Physician’s Assistant or even a commercial pilot, since planes have fascinated her since her childhood. Nasra has been accepted by Eastern Kentucky University and we wish her much success in reaching her goals.

KYTESOL 2020 Scholarship Recipient Daylen Alberti Naranjo

Meet our 2020 KYTESOL scholarship winner Daylen Alberti Naranjo from Holguin, Cuba. Already during her elementary and middle school years she showed leadership skills by being classroom president every year. Like many other ESL students, she initially struggled to adapt to her new surroundings, the new culture, and the new language in the United States. The ESL Program at the Newcomer Academy in Louisville provided a transition for her to be successfully enrolled in a regular high school.

During her high school years, Daylen received many awards and remained on the honor roll with a perfect GPA.  This student also participated in community service activities, such as being part of the Adelante College Corps which prepares Hispanic teenagers for college.  In the classrooms settings, she assisted teachers and students alike and dedicated much of her time to peer tutoring.

Daylen’s goals for the future are to get a job to help support her family, to study Spanish, and to become a nurse. Bellarmine University has offered her an institutional award which will help her to fulfill her dreams.  We wish her much success in any of her endeavors.

KYTESOL 2019 Scholarship Recipient Tram Ngoc Bao Nguyen

We are pleased to announce our 2019 KYTESOL Scholarship recipient, Tram Ngoc Bao Nguyen. Tram is a graduating senior at Fairdale High School in Louisville and has already enrolled at the University of Louisville where she plans to explore different majors.

This student spent the first 16 years of her life in Vietnam and moved to the U.S. three years ago. Her first school in Louisville was the ESL Newcomer Academy from where she transferred to Fairdale HS. Through her hard work, determination  to succeed, and family support, she very quickly improved her English language skills, became an honor student, and maintained a high academic GPA. 

Tram's different volunteer activities helped her to grow personally and improve her social skills. She loves to fulfill the needs of her community, is interested in cultural events and diversity. One of her teachers describes her as "superbly disciplined, focused, goal-oriented, a very responsible person, who is determined to succeed in an academic field.

We extend our congratulations to this well-rounded young lady and wish her success and the best for her future.

KYTESOL Scholarship Recipient Mehwish Zaminkhan

Mehwish grew up in Pakistan where she lived with her grandmother for most of her young life. Her parents were not able to see her caused by restrictions imposed by the Taliban. Then in 2012, Taliban members came to her area to prohibit and prevent girls from attending schools and force them to get married. At that time in a school nearby, the Nobel Prize winner Malala was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman. Fearing for her life, Mehwish undertook a harrowing escape through a Taliban controlled area to gain freedom and the opportunity to continue her education.

In 2014, Mehwish and her family arrived in the US, where she attended Iroquois High School in Louisville. She was actively enrolled in different clubs and activities at school and became the president of the student council. Furthermore,  she was also elected to be the senior class president.

During the 2017-2018 school year, Mehwish was chosen to participate as a young author in the Louisville Story Program, in which she and a few other writers have been developing a book about their lives and their communities.

Being the oldest of four children, she assists her parents in taking care of them at home and as the only driver in the family, she also drives her parents and siblings to appointments, shopping, sports games, and other places.

Mehwesh is enrolled for the fall semester at the University of Louisville where she is starting her journey as a pre-med student. We wish this bright, courageous, and dedicated student the best for her future. 


 Steve Chen

Steve Chen, graduate of Elizabethtown High School, was awarded our 2017 KYTESOL Scholarship. While attending EHS, Steve was involved in the Student Council, Beta Club, Service Club, Future Business Leaders of America, Future Farmers of America, the Redhawk Rangers, and the Math Club. Furthermore, he completed many service hours at his school, at soup kitchens, homeless shelters, nursing homes, and animal shelters. In addition, this students was also enrolled in a co-op program. Furthermore, he spent many hours at his family’s restaurant assisting his immigrant parents from China.

Steve has received excellent recommendations because he is a dedicated, hard-working student and a well-rounded, ambitious, and enjoyable person. He is currently enrolled at Western Kentucky University where he plans on earning a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering with focus on public health. He would like to be involved in designing health policies and procedures which could help people from becoming sick or injured.

We are extending our congratulations to Steve Chen and wish him the best in his endeavors.


2016 ESL Student Scholarship Recipient

Dhan Rai

As a Bhutanese refugee, Dhan lived in a camp for many years under terrible circumstances. Her harsh experiences and the misery she witnessed inspired in her the desire to help others. Already before the arrived in the United States about three years ago she was involved in different volunteer activities to help refugees. Her long-term goal is to pursue a career in nursing and to eventually return to Nepal to help the people there. Dhan is very appreciative and feels very lucky having been able to come to the United States. We wish her the best in her efforts and a successful course of studies at the Jefferson County Community and Technical College where she plans to get her Associate degree before transferring to the University of Louisville to obtain a Bachelor of Science in nursing.

Ly Huynh

It has only been two years that Ly has moved with her family from Vietnam to the United States. Her parents did not have the opportunity to attend school and always had to work hard to help the family survive. Ly wants to fulfill her family's dream of getting a good education and also her own aspirations of assisting others by getting a BS in Nursing from the University of Louisville. She is a well-rounded and self-motivated student with many talents and is also involved in community activities. She will always try as hard as she can to succeed by following this Vietnamese saying: "Learning is like a boat sailing upstream; unless it is moving forward, it will move backward." We wish Ly the best in her efforts.

2015 ESL Student Scholarship Recipients

Loc Trung Pham

Loc moved to the U.S. from Vietnam about three years ago together with her mother and her sister. She was determined to learn English as fast as possible through different means. One of her previous high school teachers describes her as having “a loveliness about her that encompasses grace, a quick wit, and a sharp intellect.” Loc plans to become a licensed dental hygienist and has already volunteered as an intern at a dental office. She would like to help people and educate patients about taking care of their teeth. Loc is currently enrolled at a Community and Technical College and later plans to transfer to the University of Louisville.

Denis Thawng

As a refugee from Burma, Denis fled with his family to Malaysia to escape the persecution of their ethnic group and finally came to the U.S. in 2010.  At the high school level, he was involved in many clubs and participated in different activities. As a Governor’s Scholar, Denis had the opportunity to provide varied community service. He also enjoys translating for other Burmese refugees. His high school chose him as this year’s Salutatorian. Denis plans to study at the University of Louisville with a major in Biology and hopes to eventually become a doctor so he can continue to help others.

2014 ESLStudent Scholarship Recipient

Janice Valesco-Garcia

Congratulations to our 2014 scholarship recipient, Janice Valesco-Garcia. Janice is originally from Mexico and was enrolled in the American school system during her elementary school years, where she received ESL support for several years. She is the first one on both sides of her family to finish high school with plans to graduate from a college in order to pursue a stable career.

Janice has persevered through many hardships and adverse experiences. Already at the age of 13 she had to work to support her family. According to her teachers, she is full of potential, compassion, and motivation to succeed. She is a spiritual and unique person with a pleasant personality who is always smiling, giving great compliments, and ready to make someone laugh.

Currently, Janice remains enrolled at the Opportunity Middle College (OMC), which is a small program in the Fayette County School System, where students have the opportunity to take college classes while still enrolled in high school. This is the second year that this student is enrolled at the Bluegrass Community and Technical College.

2013 ESL Student Scholarship Recipient

Paw Wah

The ESL Student Scholarship Recipient for 2013 is Paw Wah, who graduated from Central High School in Louisville. She grew up in a small refugee camp in Thailand under challenging circumstances and with little education. After her family settled in Louisville, Paw, whose native language is Karen, enrolled in the ESL Newcomer Academy. Early on, she excelled in her studies and, after her transfer to Central H.S., Paw continued holding a very high GPA. While enrolled in the school's nursing magnet program, she was also a member of the National Honor Society, the BETA Club, the national HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America), and played in the school’s band. Paw’s goal is to become a nurse and is very involved with her church and their youth group.

2012 ESL Student Scholarship Recipient

Samuel Ramirez

This year's winner is Samuel Ramirez, JCPS student who graduated from Western High School and who came to Louisville from Honduras, Central America.  

2011 ESL Student Scholarship Recipient

Obieda Atiyani

Obieda Atiyani, the oldest of five children, immigrated to the United States
from Jordan with his mother and his brothers and sisters, for whom he has always been a great role model. He attended John Hardin High School in
Elizabethtown, KY where he graduated with honors in June 2011. He has been
actively involved in a variety of community service projects and worked
diligently as a co-op student in a local oncology and hematology center and
cancer care clinic. 

Currently, Obieda is enrolled as a full-time student at the University of
Louisville where he plans to receive a Bachelor's degree in biology. His
ultimate professional goal is to earn a medical degree and become a

Congratulations, Obieda, on being this year's winner of our scholarship!!!

2010 ESL Student Scholarship Recipient

Carla Crespo

Carla Crespo is from Henderson County High SchoolHendersonKY.


2009 ESL Student Scholarship Recipient

Flor Garcia

She is the winner of the 2009 ESL Student Scholarship award, a student at Waggener High School, Louisville, KY.


ESL Recognition Award 2007

We are proud to announce that Christel Broady is the recipient of the ESL Recognition Award for her project, Redefining the Role of ESL Professionals in Schools to Better Serve Immigrant Children and Families.  In the next five years, five cohorts of classroom teachers will be trained as teacher leaders in the area of ESL.  Their role is that of a role model for other classroom teachers.  The teachers will conduct training for colleagues.  They will also aid Georgetown College’s initial teacher program to infuse ESL content knowledge in all undergraduate training for all areas and disciplines.  Georgetown College’s professors teaching methods courses will receive training in ESL to implement into their syllabi.  Teacher Participants will accept undergraduate pre-service teachers for observations, practicum, and student teaching.  The teachers will also create video productions in their classroom of best practice.  The videos will then be published on the web for the entire state. 

ESL Recognition Award 2005

Janet Yaeger, the Warren County ESL Consultant, is the winner of our 2005 KYTESOL ESL Award for her project Language and Literacy Center for Students in Grades 4 - 12 in the Warren County Public Schools.  The main purpose of her project, which is in its third year, is to provide homework assistance to students. Two nights a week the center is open to families as well. Students' progress is monitored on an ongoing basis. A summer program is also offered.

ESL Recognition Award 2004

We congratulate the recipient of the ESL Award 2004, Rosie Maum, Adult ESL Resource Teacher, Jefferson County Public Schools. Rosie received her award during the KYTESOL Fall Conference in Lexington on Oct. 23 in recognition of her contribution to Project PRIDE: A Program for At-risk LEP Youth.

ESL Recognition Award 2003

Congratulations to the recipient of the ESL Award 2003: Maurice F. White, ESOL Professional Development Specialist at Morehead State University.  Maurice received this award during the KYTESOL business luncheon on Nov. 15th in Louisville for his outstanding adult ESL professional development training.

TESOL Grants & Awards

TESOL offers a variety of awards to its members. Click on TESOL to find out about this year's opportunities.

Do you need help with travel expenses to attend a TESOL Academy or the next TESOL convention? Click here to learn how to apply for TESOL funds. 


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