Raiders Academic Honors Awardees for October

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The Oakland Raiders are proud to continue the Oakland Raiders Academic Honors Award, an award recognizing local students and educators for their academic achievements and positive impact within the community.

Here are October's honorees:

Daraja McDonald – 11th Grade Student – Berkeley High School

"Daraja McDonald has never been off the honor roll.  He has a 3.4 cumulative high school grade point average.  Daraja was a 3 sport athlete his freshman and sophomore years (football, basketball, track).  Daraja was recognized with a scholarship from the Berkeley Police Department in 2014 for being a scholar athlete.  His main sport is football and he has been a Raider fan his whole life.  Currently he is a junior wide receiver for the Berkeley High Yellow Jackets.  His dream is to one day play for the Raiders and then pursue a career in either sports management or criminal justice.  Daraja is the oldest of four brothers. His family is very important to him.  Besides football his passion is working out and eating!"* *

Yesenia Mendez – Teacher – Coliseum College Prep Academy

"Yesenia has been a fixture in the East Oakland community for almost a decade.  Originally an English teacher, she switched to Math in the 2014-2015 school year because she saw a need in a difficult to fill position.  She is a respected teacher and mentor to our middle school students. In addition to teaching full time, Yesenia took the initiative to start the volleyball program at our high school.  In only its second year, girls' volleyball has become a crucial part of our school culture and a valuable support system for the women of our campus.  Volleyball practice is a welcome space for both the girls that participate and the teachers who stop by for an extra workout.  Yesenia is actively building community through athletics on our campus."* *

Jasin Saunders – 8th Grade Student – Frick Middle School

"During Jasin's 7th grade year (2014-2015) he moved from a below 2.00 GPA in the 2nd marking period of the fall semester to end the school year with a 3.54 GPA (last marking period of the spring semester).  He made a strong commitment to self and his education.  From that low point in the year, he increased his GPA each marking period to end on the honor roll.  He has set a goal for attaining a 4.00 GPA this school year.  He currently plays for the Oakland Junior Raiders. Leadership is something not just owned and possessed by adults at our school site, our youth are leaders too.  Jasin's example in class created a positive shift in classroom culture that other students could imitate.  Setting a tone of students as academic leaders helps to improve school wide culture for students and staff.  It showed other students how they can be drivers in their own academic success."* *

Tovi Scruggs – Principal – San Lorenzo High School

"Since August 2012, Ms. Scruggs has been the Principal of San Lorenzo High School (SLzHS) with the San Lorenzo Unified School District.  She is centered and focused on supporting educational achievement amongst the entire student-body. Over the past two years, Ms. Scruggs has re-introduced the CA Scholarship Federation Club to show kids that "it is cool to be smart" and the PTSA so that parents can be more intentionally involved at school.  Additionally, the climate of the school's culture has risen with awareness to academics, by introducing "The Rebel Way."  This is a set of thirty school culture expectations and guidelines that support academic success, which helps reinforce for students how to "do school" and "school is where you lay the foundation to make your dreams come true."* *

Timothy Smith – 12th Grade Student – El Cerrito High School

"Tim Smith is a player and captain that any coach wishes they could have in their program. From his academic prowess to his contributions on the football field, his character and leadership make him the total scholar-athlete package. Tim managed to earn 'Specialty Player of the Year' honors last year in the Tri-County Athletic League Rock Division for his kicking on kickoff and field goal/PAT. What extraordinary about this accomplishment is that for the past two seasons Tim has had to improvise as our school's football field has been under construction without any goal posts for Tim to work with. I am extremely proud of his efforts, poise, and the support he provides his peers and coaching staff. He and his father Bruce built chutes and sleds for our program when we needed them most, and as the third sibling I have worked with at El Cerrito High School, I am sure Nicole and Kevin would agree Tim is a Gaucho through and through. Thank you Tim and the Smith family for everything you do to support our children, their learning environment, the field of play, and the community as a whole. You are terrific!"

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