The Elva S. Riggins Scholarship Fund congratulates Ms. Masai Mendez one of this year's award recipients
MASAI MENDEZ Masai Mendez is a graduating senior from King/Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science and will attend UCLA with an undeclared major in the Life Sciences Department. She plans to use her education to pursue a career at the intersection of public health and medical technology to improve health outcomes for the Black community. Ms. Mendez names Dr. Ryan Osborne, Director of Head and Neck Surgery at the Osborne Head and Neck Institute, as a role model and inspiration. When not pursuing her studies, Ms. Mendez enjoys painting, thrifting, and spending time with friends and family. Ms. Mendez was recently awarded the Leadership Initiatives’ Global Fundraising Award for outstanding fundraising efforts through the International Internship Program for her work with the community of Bauchi, Nigeria in support of maternal health.
2022 Scholarship Award Recipient: Ms. Melanie Morales
The Elva S. Riggins Scholarship Fund congratulates Ms. Melanie Morales, one of this year's award recipients.
Ms. Melanie Morales will graduate this spring from Compton Early College High School. Her college plans include attending the University of California, Riverside with a major in Business Administration. After graduating from the university, she intends to give back to her community, where she will encourage other young people to set their sights on obtaining a college education. She especially wants to serve as a role model to her younger siblings so they can see that it is possible to acquire a higher education, despite financial obstacles. Melanie’s parents are her inspiration. From them she learned the value of hard work, resilience, diligence, and never giving up in the face of problems. Her parents have taught her to be goal-oriented. Her determination to be successful in life is one of the ways she hopes to show her gratitude for how hard they have worked.
The Elva S. Riggins Scholarship Fund awarded its first scholarship in 2009. The scholarship was named for Elva S. Riggins—wife, mother, and teacher--who taught secondary-level English in the Compton Unified School District for 35 years. She was among a handful of “Pioneer Black Teachers” who integrated the previously all-white district in the mid-1950s.
Elva possessed the gift of seeing what was special in others, encouraging them to develop and utilize their unique qualities and gifts. Her tutelage and mentoring helped many of her students set their sights higher, pursue higher education, and increase their value to the community.
Elva ensured that her own four children grew up with a deep appreciation for learning and education. Their home was filled with books. Getting a library card was almost a rite of passage. They were taught they could accomplish anything they set their minds to, even when society did not treat them as equals.
All of the siblings acquired college degrees. They also absorbed their mother’s values: honesty, hard work, kindness to others, tenacity, commitment to God and family, and a deep sense of social responsibility.
To honor her legacy, Elva’s children and grandchildren pooled the modest inheritance she had left them and established a scholarship in her name. Together with your contributions, scholarships are awarded annually.
The mission of the Elva S. Riggins Scholarship Fund is to support Black Students and Students of Color (SOC) from middle school through college to pursue educational goals that prepare them to use their talents in service to their communities.
Margaret L. Mitchell - Chair - Compton, CA
Aidsand F. Wright-Riggins - Vice-Chair - Collegeville, PA
Arlynn Page - Secretary - Pasadena, CA
Aidsand F. Riggins IV - Treasurer, Sherman Oaks, CA