The NEA Foundation established the Rodolfo “Rudy” Careaga Memorial Scholarship in February to memorialize our colleague who passed away, Rudy Careaga.
We are pleased to announce that the inaugural scholarship has been awarded to Brianna Vargas, a high school student from Florida. We first met Brianna when she accepted a lead role in the musical opening to our 2017 Salute to Excellence in Education Gala. Her spirited and engaging rendition of “It’s a Teacher’s Life” to the tune of “It’s a Hard Knock Life” with a pop-up chorus charmed the entire audience. Brianna was chosen for her role at the Gala by one of her teachers, Mr. Joe Underwood, who also performed that night. Joe saw her potential and jumped at the chance to watch her soar. He has high hopes for her future, and so do we.
This memorial scholarship will support Brianna and other students who demonstrate excellence in their academic pursuits, talent, leadership, and a spirit of service to their communities as they seek to further their education. We can think of no tribute more fitting to carry Rudy’s legacy forward. The NEA Foundation will award two remaining $1,000 scholarships in Rudy’s name over the next two years, which will be used by the awardees to offset college expenses.
Rudy served on the NEA Foundation’s program team for eight years, and his unwavering kindness and thoughtfulness as a colleague will never be forgotten. We are pleased to honor Rudy’s memory in this way.