LAS VEGAS, NEV. – Communities In Schools of Nevada (CIS), the fifth largest state office of the nation’s leading dropout prevention organization, with affiliate offices in the Clark, Elko, Humboldt and Washoe County school districts, has announced the inaugural recipient of the Elaine P. Wynn Stronger Together Scholarship, a new four-year scholarship created this year specifically for CIS case-managed high school seniors. The scholarship was created to award a student who has dug deep within themselves to successfully put their life and education on a positive path, doing whatever it takes to rise above obstacles or challenges, and to learn to believe in themselves and their future. The inaugural scholarship recipient and winner is Isaac Cuevas Ruelas, a high school senior from Elko High School.
Ruelas will be awarded up to a total of $10,000, paid out in increments of up to $2,500 each year for over four years, contingent upon meeting requirements annually. Ruelas has plans to attend Great Basin College in the fall to pursue an associate degree in psychology. As a child to immigrant parents who came to the United States from Mexico, Ruelas is the first in his family to go to college.
“I want to say thank you to Communities In Schools for this opportunity,” said Ruelas. “I know this privilege doesn’t come to many, and I promise that I will do my absolute best at Great Basin College to make the most of this scholarship. I plan to use the scholarship towards furthering my education in the field of psychology.”
CIS received nearly 100 applications for the inaugural Elaine P. Wynn Stronger Together Scholarship. Part of the application was to write a personal essay, in either English or Spanish, about how post-secondary school will contribute to the student’s academic and/or career goals and what drives them to pursue post-secondary education. The scholarship, paid directly to the educational institution, is renewed yearly and can be used towards full-time enrollment in an accredited college, university, community college or trade school. Renewal and yearly payments are contingent on meeting scholastic requirements including a 2.0 GPA and continued academic progress demonstrated in transcripts that are provided every semester. Earlier this year, CIS encouraged its case-managed students to apply for this new CIS scholarship along with its existing Achieve Beyond Caps Scholarship. Ruelas, along with CIS case-managed students across Nevada, work one on one with their CIS site coordinators on individual needs ranging from academic assistance to filling out college applications to weekend food bags.
“We wish a sincere congratulations to Isaac for tirelessly working towards achieving his educational goals and this achievement,” said Tami Hance-Lehr, CEO and state director, Communities In Schools of Nevada. “The judges believe Isaac’s resiliency and passion for making the world a better place, live in the same manner as our scholarship namesake. We hope that this four-year scholarship gives Isaac the fuel to pursue his degree in psychology. We will be cheering alongside of him every step of the way.”
The Elaine P. Wynn Stronger Together Scholarship is made possible by Elaine Wynn, the founding chairperson and current national chairperson for Communities In Schools. For nearly two decades, she has been actively engaged with CIS National, the organization that serves 1.7 million children in more than 2,900 schools in 26 states, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. A member of the national board since 1999, Wynn was elected chairperson in 2007, a position she proudly holds today. An indomitable crusader for children’s welfare and an influential philanthropist, her commitment to improving children’s lives through education has engaged her in numerous leadership roles at local, state, and national levels. More about the Elaine P. Wynn Stronger Together Scholarship can be found at cisnevada.org/strongertogether.
“I want to personally congratulate Isaac for being awarded the Elaine P. Wynn Stronger Together Scholarship, a huge accomplishment that will aid in his pursuit of completing a secondary education degree,” said Wynn. “Nothing is more important than a foundation in education, and Communities In Schools has dedicated over 40 years to making a high school diploma a reality for millions of students throughout the country and right here in Nevada. Scholarship programs like this celebrate and encourage students who have worked so hard to overcome the many obstacles in their path to successfully put their life and education on a positive path while also learning to believe in themselves and their future.”
Currently, CIS of Nevada operates in 81 high-needs schools across four rural and urban school districts throughout Nevada. The organization places full-time site coordinators in Title I and high-needs schools to support more than 80,000 students considered at high risk for dropout. CIS’ long-term vision is for every child enrolled in a Title I School to have access to a CIS site coordinator and Integrated Student Supports, otherwise known as wraparound services.
Since 2004, CIS of Nevada has demonstrated measurable success in student outcomes. For the 2020-2021 school year, the graduation rate for CIS case-managed high school seniors in Nevada was 92 percent, 13 points higher than the Nevada statewide graduation rate of 79 percent for students on free or reduced lunch, as released by the Nevada Department of Education.
About Communities In Schools of Nevada
Communities In Schools of Nevada (CIS) is the fifth-largest state office of the nation’s leading evidence-based dropout prevention organization that believes every child has potential – regardless of race, zip code or socioeconomic background – but may lack equal opportunity to succeed. CIS places caring, well-trained, full-time employees in high poverty schools to build trusting relationships with students and families, assess their needs and remove the barriers they face to learn and graduate. CIS taps into a network of more than 100 agencies and nonprofits to meet student needs – literally bringing the community into the schools it serves. CIS has innovated ways to collaborate with partners during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure continuity of care, meeting students online, at home, or in the community to provide supports. Included in CIS’ strategies and culture are principles and practices of diversity, equity, and inclusion. As a result, CIS breaks down immediate and systemic barriers to create and sustain equitable outcomes. CIS operates in over 81 rural and urban schools throughout four school districts statewide. In total, CIS serves more than 80,000 students, including 12 schools in Western Nevada; 12 schools in Northeastern Nevada and 57 schools in Southern Nevada. Nationally, Communities In Schools provides services in more than 2,300 schools in 26 states and the District of Columbia, serving 1.56 million young people and their families every year. For more information, visit http://www.cisnevada.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.