Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Mercedes-Benz Awards Scholarships

MONTVALE, N.J. - Mercedes-Benz USA will award $1 million in scholarship funding to 500 college-bound students who are the first in their families to attend college. Students representing each state, were selected based on financial need and exceptional achievement in the areas of academic performance, leadership and school and community activities.

Students selected in Nevada included: Garrett Burningham (Wendover), Lisa Doyle (Henderson), Bianca Gillespie (Gardnerville), Scott Grady (Las Vegas), Jean Lee (Sparks) Faviola Lopez (Las Vegas), Wesley Mitchell (West Wendover), and Bita Zahedi (Las Vegas).

These high school seniors are all recipients of the DRIVE YOUR FUTURE: The Mercedes-Benz USA Scholarship Program, which grants $2,000, one-time scholarships to help students offset tuition and school expenses. Nearly 2,000 high school seniors nationwide applied for the scholarships this year.

"It is extremely rewarding to have the opportunity to assist so many students across the country -- students who have demonstrated significant achievements despite financial hardship or personal obstacles," said Paul Halata, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA. "DRIVE YOUR FUTURE celebrates the accomplishments of these dedicated young people who will go on to shape our world through new inventions, the arts, technology, business and maybe even the automotive world. The principles of success - hard work, determination and a commitment to excellence - have served Mercedes-Benz well for over one hundred years and we hope to inspire the same ideals in our youth today."

"I feel very fortunate to be the first in my family to go to college and believe that this scholarship will help give me the opportunities I need to succeed in life," said Carolina Lopez of the Bronx, New York. "With the Mercedes-Benz scholarship, I hope to reduce my loans which will be of great help to my mother."

Now in its second year, the DRIVE YOUR FUTURE program was developed to respond to a critical need for scholarships to help students offset the costs of postsecondary education. DRIVE YOUR FUTURE was created in collaboration with Scholarship America and is part of MBUSA's broader philanthropic initiative aimed at educating and empowering future generations by helping young people reach their full potential and become the leaders of their generation. Through support from MBUSA and the fundraising activities of Mercedes-Benz dealers nationwide, DRIVE YOUR FUTURE scholarship awards have doubled for 2005.

"For these first generation college-bound students, particularly those from underserved communities, the availability of financial assistance for their first year of college may be a deciding factor in whether or not to continue their education," said Marilyn Rundell, vice president of Scholarship America. "Scholarships, such as the ones being awarded by Mercedes-Benz USA, help ease the financial burden placed on aspiring collegians and put a postsecondary degree closer within their reach."

A number of graduating high school seniors from each state will receive scholarships in addition to students from various youth organizations such as Automotive High School, Big Brothers Big Sisters, FIRST Robotics, Girls Inc., Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, Teach for America, Virtual Enterprises and The Young Women's Leadership School. DRIVE YOUR FUTURE award recipients will serve as ambassadors of Mercedes-Benz USA Philanthropy by getting involved in volunteer activities in their communities such as mentoring and tutoring younger students.

"My parents never got the opportunity to go to college and I always knew that the economic factor would be a problem for me, so I am thankful to be receiving this help from Mercedes-Benz," said Mary Sanchez of New York, N.Y. "I plan to major in International Relations which will help me learn about the needs of others and help them just like Mercedes-Benz has helped me."

DRIVE YOUR FUTURE: The Mercedes-Benz USA Scholarship Program is an initiative of MBUSA's philanthropic program which is aimed at educating and empowering future generations. Committed to the communities in which employees live and work, MBUSA has also built alliances with a number of youth organizations across the country. The company supports many of these efforts through employee volunteer activities. Philanthropic initiatives are reviewed and implemented through MBUSA corporate headquarters in Montvale, N.J. and through its six regional offices around the country. For more information, interested students may visit

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