The West High Alumni Association (WHAA) announced that Matthew Long (WHS Class of 2009) and Ernesto Alexander Robles (WHS Class of 2017) are the recipients of the 2019 West High Alumni Association Union Scholarship.
In partnership with the A. Ray Olpin Union at the University of Utah, the WHAA awarded both Long and Robles with a scholarship of $5,000 for the upcoming school year.
“We congratulate the West High alumni who were awarded this scholarship,” said Bryce Williams, president of the West High Alumni Association. “Matthew and Ernesto both demonstrate strong academic achievement and a commitment to giving back to our community. We look forward to seeing them continue to succeed in their academic and career goals.”
Matthew Long is currently pursuing his Master of Social Work and is expected to graduate in May 2020.
He is a passionate advocate for youth in crisis. Currently, Long is a case manager for the Salt Lake County Division of Youth Services, which aims to provide children, youth and families in crisis with immediate safety, shelter and support. Long assists homeless young adults in a transitional living program, where he assists clients in removing barriers to self-sufficiency, such as completing their education or enrolling in a drug treatment program.
In previous roles, Long has worked to assist adolescents with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or other mental and behavioral disorders.
“This scholarship is the difference between me being able to afford to finish school or not,” said Long. “I find it almost poetic that I was raised in our community, have dedicated my life to helping the underserved in our community, and now when I need support, my community was there.
Meanwhile, Ernesto Alexander Robles is a first-generation college student and is pursuing his Bachelor of Science in civil and environmental engineering. Consistently on the Dean’s List, Robles is also an active leader on campus, serving as a Beacon Scholar Mentor with the Office of Engagement.
As a Beacon Scholar Mentor, Robles mentors and works with other first-generation students to empower students to thrive in the university setting. The program is by invitation only; mentors are chosen based on their academic performance, community involvement, service-related experience and a demonstrated commitment to improving the world around them.
Robles was also the recipient of the West High Alumni Association Senior Scholarship in 2017, which is awarded annually to graduating seniors from underrepresented backgrounds and a commitment to pursue a college degree.
For both Long and Robles, the West High Alumni Association Union Scholarship will enable them to pursue their academic goals.
“I understand that with all the things you can spend your money on, investing in someone else’s higher education might not be high on the list. I can tell you, however, that investing in someone’s education is priceless in changing their future,” said Long “I will be forever grateful for the West High Alumni Association, and look forward to contributing myself so others might be given this same opportunity.”
This is the second year WHAA has partnered with the A. Ray Olpin Union at the University of Utah to award the West High Alumni Association Union Scholarship which is open to West High alumni who are either undergraduate or graduate students at the University of Utah.
Each year, the West High Alumni Association also awards scholarships to approximately 40 West High graduating seniors who demonstrate financial need.
The WHAA scholarship fund is supported through the generous contributions of West High alumni, friends and community members. To learn more about how to give to the scholarship program, visit https://westalumni.org/donate.