2016 JA Inspiration Scholars

JA Inspiration Scholarships are awarded to JA students who embody the JA spirit and show great promise in their futures. Read more about the outstanding students who received JA Inspiration Scholarships in 2016.

photos by Evan Semón
Peter Leonard, Jacques Boeke and Aspen Marie Fabrizio

Jacques Boeke, Boulder High School
Jacques Boeke was launched into adulthood much sooner than expected. In 2013, Jacques’ life was changed forever by a devastating Colorado flood that stole homes and took lives. Jacques witnessed his mother’s fear for her children, his little brother’s terror of the rushing water, and his father’s dismay at having nowhere to call home for his family.

Despite the chaos, Jacques relied on his amazing talents to motivate his family and his community. He was the glue that held a small community together and kept their spirits high – and he was only 16 years old.  “The flood took away a lot from me, but it also gave me the knowledge and courage to know that in trying times, I would strive to do the right thing, have the right attitude, and help others before helping myself,” said Jacques.

In addition to being a “teacher’s dream,” Jacques’ natural leadership abilities have earned him the respect of his peers. He was named team captain for the school’s varsity tennis team and earned the team’s MVP award in 2014 and the most collegial award in 2013. For two years in a row Jacques was selected to be a Panther Ambassador to help with school’s charity auction. This year, he was elected as the best officer for the Model United Nations and was elected by his teachers to help incoming freshman integrate into high school. During high school, Jacques also found time to help run a camp at the Boulder Humane Society and clean up hiking trails for Boulder County. Currently, he serves as the director of marketing for the creative design start-up, Anim Boulder.

Jacques does not have one person who helped shape his vision of his future, but many. “My parents have been an inspiration to me because they both love what they do for a living and model the joy of work,” said Jacques.  He also credits his Junior Achievement mentor for helping him discover a passion for working in business. “When I think about my future work life, I get excited to be able to do something I love every day,” said Jacques.

Jacques will attend Colorado State University to study business and management. After obtaining his degree, Jacques plans to work for one of the big four accounting firms, hopefully KPMG, and work his way up.

“The world would be a much better place with more young men like Jacques Boeke and I can assure you, he will make us all very proud,” Boulder High School Teacher Donna Tuttle.

Aspen Maria Fabrizio, Monarch High School
Aspen Maria Fabrizio is best described as a positive force. Whether she’s at school, home, work or at the gym, Aspen gives 100 percent and maintains positivity in all situations.  Her resolve has been tested many times throughout middle and high school; however, the difficult times have only made her grow stronger, into a positive young lady who sees a challenge and tackles it head-on.

Aspen leads by example. She has been elected to serve as the president of DECA and the Class Senate, while maintaining her memberships in the National Honor Society and the Spanish Honor Society. Her talent is not restricted to academics, she is also talented athletically. Aspen has earned her way onto the top-level team for the Cheer Central Suns and has competed at the World Championships several times. “She demonstrates leadership, a strong worth ethic, initiative and leadership in her everyday life,” said Wendy Ayer owner of Cheer Central Suns. “Aspen is an incredibly positive force in our gym, and although I am sad to see her graduate, I know she is MORE than ready for the next chapter of her life.”

Aspen is fortunate to have many amazing role models cheering for her success. “Although achieving success comes from one’s own passion and willingness, I know that I could not do it without amazing mentors and family guidance,” said Aspen. Aspen credits her Junior Achievement (JA) volunteer for giving her the opportunity to hone her leadership skills. Through the JA Company Program, Aspen and her team were awarded the opportunity to travel to the JA Summit in Washington D.C. where they had the chance to meet and share ideas with other outstanding student leaders.

For her next chapter, Aspen will attend the University of Washington to study Pre-Health Sciences and Management: however, that is just the beginning.  Aspen has always been a caring person, but had never thought about using that in her professional career until her parents were deployed overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan in the medical unit. “I saw so many lives be changed by them,” said Aspen. “Their absence taught me not to take things for granted and has inspired me to put others before myself.” She has always had a passion for business so combining both of them would make her ideal job.

After graduating, Aspen wants to attend a top grad school and then pursue her career working for a hospital, hopefully one day being an executive of a major hospital.

Peter Leonard, Mountain Vista High School
Peter Leonard has a passion for learning and a heart for service. “School, for Peter, is not all about the grades, but rather it’s about the knowledge, the thinking, the gained perspective, and the experience,” said Katie Price, social studies teacher at Mountain Vista High School.

In addition to achieving a perfect 4.0 grade point average, Peter ranks as one of the most dedicated, respectful and self-assured students at Mountain Vista High School. Along with being vice president of the National Honor Society, he has proven to be a gifted communicator who has exceled as the captain of the Debate Team. In his role as leader of the College Club, he personally oversaw a group of 10 high school seniors who worked together to apply to more than 50 colleges. Every one of his team members successfully completed the applications and is planning to attend one of their colleges of choice in the fall.

Beyond the classroom, Peter is an engaged community member who is able to balance his academic career with outside activities. In addition to working 25 hours per week, he has put in more than 100 hours of community service time in the past four years through the Douglas County Library. He is responsible for creating the Kids’ Zone, an after-school program that encourages kids to learn through different activities.  His hard work paid off: Kids’ Zone is one of the most popular programs in the district. “Peter had proven multiple times, in multiple avenues, not only his ability to lead, but also his passion and drive for life,” said Price. “It is qualities like these that make future young adults successful citizens of the twenty-first century.”

Participating in the Junior Achievement Stock Market Challenge gave him a glimpse into the career he will undoubtedly excel in someday. Peter will attend the College of William and Mary to study public policy and government. “My dream is to start a movement to lower the poverty rate through increased access to education and financial planning,” said Peter. “More people being able to achieve their dreams would mean absolute success to me.”

Mustafa Mobarez, Denver School of Science and Technology: Green Valley Ranch
Mustafa Mobarez has lived most of his life in fear of war and violence. Before transitioning to his new life in the United States in 2011, Mustafa was living as an Afghani refugee in Pakistan. The horrendous circumstances of Mustafa’s childhood do not hold him back; in fact, his experiences have sparked a determined pursuit to create a more equitable and just society. “I have been fortunate to see, feel and experience two very different lifestyles,” said Mustafa. “It is based on these experiences that I have chosen to pursue a lifestyle that maximizes my positive impact on my family, friends, and my broader community,” said Mustafa.

To say that Mustafa is active in his community is an understatement. In addition to holding a part-time job, he is active in student government and volunteers to teach Farsi and Arabic. This past summer, Mustafa served as an intern for Senator Michael Johnson where his tremendous strengths and passion for helping others were not limited to the benefit of the Senator’s office. For example, Mustafa helped coordinate a weekend-long event where he and fellow students generated proposals to some of the local community’s most pressing issues. “This level of determination, creation of impactful experiences for others, and consistent pursuit of his goals demonstrates a dedication unparalleled by others Mustafa’s age,” said State Senator Michael Johnson.

Mustafa is grateful to have the support of a strong network of peers, teachers and community members who can attest to his intelligence, determination and incredible character. He credits his Junior Achievement mentors for helping him discover his full potential. “JA Business Week taught me that I can be a role model who motivates over students,” said Mustafa. “Above all, it has taught me that I can bring change, even on a small scale, and it is very satisfying.”

“It is unquestionable that he will make a significant, lasting impact on the word,” said State Senator Michael Johnson.

“At the end of the day, it is not about how much money I gain or how much material wealth I accumulate; rather, it is about how I use my expertise, knowledge and wealth to make a positive impact on the people and communities around me,” said Mustafa. “It is only then, that I can truly have a peaceful mind and soul.”

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