What does a rising star look like? Just take a look at Ms. Geraldine Mande’s stellar academic achievements and community involvement and you will begin to get a good idea. Born in the war torn Democratic Republic of the Congo and despite being physically attacked at a very young age, Ms. Mande managed to overcome all odds to become a recipient of the much coveted "Rising Stars" award from The Pepsi Bottling Group (PBG).
Geraldine ranks in the top 10% of her class and is a member of the African-American Scholars of her school. She was one of 50 students chosen out of 10,000 to appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show with author Elie Wiesel after submitting an essay relating her personal experience to his book "Night". She is a member of the school choir, the International Students Club, and Powder Puff Football team. The Pepsi Bottling Group Foundation (The PBG Foundation) is saluting Geraldine Mande – by helping her attend the college of her choice.
The PBG Foundation Rising Stars Scholarships award goes to Ms. Mande and four other Boston area teenagers. The winners will each receive a $2,500 award, renewable for up to three additional years for a total of $10,000, or until they earn a bachelor’s degree.
"It was the best thing that could have happened to me," said Geraldine Mande. "I knew my parents could not afford to pay college tuition or buy my books, so when I heard that I was awarded a Pepsi scholarship I was elated. This means the world to me."
The PBG Foundation will present the scholarships to the Boston winners on Monday, June 25 at 6 p.m. during a ceremony at BonCaldo Restaurant in Norwood, MA. The other Rising Stars winners from the Boston region are: Elijah Evans of Dorchester; Fuad Conteh of Brookline, Rozina Kiflom of Brighton and Priscilla Santana of Roxbury.
The Rising Stars Program is designed to provide an opportunity for urban youth who have the potential and desire to succeed in college, but who may have been overlooked for traditional scholarships because their grade point averages were not high enough. The PBG Foundation selected 18 Rising Stars winners from four metro areas: Boston, Baltimore, Atlanta and Phoenix.
"PBG proudly supports students who strive for excellence and desire to have successful careers," said Ed Rodriguez, VP-Organizational Capability and Diversity. "Having overcome various obstacles, these young people are on track to becoming winners and leaders in their respective communities."
Applicants had to maintain a grade point average between 2.5 and 3.5, show evidence of leadership and participation in school and community, submit recommendations and answer several questions about their educational aspirations. A committee of PBG employees reviewed the applications and chose the winners.