2011 CCA Scholarship Student Speeches

Scholarship recipients Renata Maria Araujo (in black dress, with a friend) and Lionel Ramazzini

The following speeches were delivered by CCA scholarship recipients at the annual Scholarship Dinner in fall 2011.

Learn more about the availability of CCA-funded scholarships »

Renata Maria Araujo

My name is Renata Maria Araujo. I am a fourth-year Architecture student, and I would not be here without the Lloyd H. Oliver Memorial Scholarship. It is the reason I attend CCA. I share your understanding that education is the most transcendent gift one can be given, and it allows us to have a foot in the door of the future.

Knowing I have been awarded this scholarship makes me feel proud, and, at the same time, obliged. No artist is an island, and I am very aware of the community I aspire to be part of. More than anything, though, every time I present my work I am thankful for the trust and encouragement this award represents.

I lived abroad almost all my life, so arriving at CCA was a dramatic change. I was even unsure about pursuing architecture. Now, I am in my fourth year, and it is my future career. I've met new housemates, work buddies, and the city of San Francisco.

I've learned how to take a design from my mind, to paper, to physical reality. This knowledge has changed the way I see the world. Sometimes I'll look at a building today and think now I understand, or, sometimes, ignorance is bliss.

I love my school and I've tried to get involved with my community as much as possible. I joined Alpha Rho Chi, and I am currently vice president of NOMAS, the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students. I am excited for what the next two years of school will bring to my life.

After that, the practice of this flexible career will be my next adventure. Of course, architecture is not where I will stop. It is my dream to keep learning and obtaining an even higher education. Cosmology, biology, music, and philosophy are all subjects I am passionate about. And one day I will be in your position, inviting a future generation to change our minds.

This projection is clear to me, standing here, because I am confident I have the tools I need to make it come true. My grandfather used to say, "When the communists take over, they'll take everything from you except your travels and your studies." So, once again, thank you.

Lionel Ramazzini

My name is Lionel Ramazzini, a Bay Area native and a dreamer.

Dreams for me were always just that, dreams. My mother had to leave school at nine years of age to work in Guatemala, and my father not much later in Mexico. Their dreams would stay just that: dreams. My older brother was 13 years too late for the recently passed DREAM act, so even though he was raised in America, college for him was just that: a dream. Uncles and aunts, cousins and grandparents were dreamers, but reality had a way of pushing dreams by the wayside.

To the Reuben and Muriel Savin Foundation, the Bernard Osher Foundation, all the scholarship donors: Thank you! Thank you for allowing my dreams to come to fruition, thank you for allowing thousands of others to follow their dreams.

CCA is in Oakland and San Francisco, we all know that. But for me, during my childhood in Oakland and San Francisco, there wasn't college, design, or art. Oakland and San Francisco represented a broken home, for a long time. Constant moving, the experience of court dates as a toddler, not knowing if my parents would come home, not knowing if my friends would even be alive by the end of the summer.

Yet, for some reason, I always dreamed. And ever since I first arrived at CCA, the Oakland campus -- full of trees, full of paint, full of charcoal, figure drawing, Exacto knives, and a dozen ceramic cups later, it felt like home. And for someone who hadn't had the option of saying that before, it's a feeling beyond words.

Talks with my classmates-turned-colleagues, professors-turned-mentors . . . Even President Beal became a person I could talk to. Believe me, I have friends who haven't ever seen their college president, whereas I can boast of a couple preclass conversations with mine, while standing in line for a cup of much-needed coffee.

CCA is teaching me not just industrial design, but that dreaming can lead to better realities.

Between now and finals, it will be fairly difficult to think of a future other than sleep. But every once in a while I get a big smile on my face, knowing not only that am I realizing my dreams and the dreams of my family, but also that I'm going to leave CCA and make art that matters, create designs that shape the world around us. I'll have the skills to go out into the world and tackle the hard questions.

After taking a class with Claudia Bernardi, I know I have a duty to go to El Salvador and design with people who have had 20 years of civil war and help them build a better tomorrow. After taking Aaron Gach's Intro to Community Arts class, I know I can smile while thinking of the tough issues our world has to offer. While I work on my project for Design Methods and Research, it's exciting to know I'm designing around local food sources.

CCA is teaching me that dreams are a reality. I'd like to thank all of you tonight. My family thanks all of you, from the bottom of our hearts. Thank you for allowing me to live my dreams.