Each year, CPE high school seniors have an opportunity to apply for the Henry D. Owen scholarship. This scholarship was named by CPE in honor of Henry D. Owen, a creative, compassionate, talented and diligent public servant who played a pivotal role in creating Capital Partners for Education. Mr. Owen was a distinguished diplomat and leader who served his country. The Henry D. Owen Scholarship was established in 2012 and is designed to assist a CPE senior who demonstrates a dedication to the program values.
First place for the 2019 scholarship was awarded to Moises Alvarez. His essay conveyed how he demonstrated the values of excellence, integrity, and service during his time in high school. He also shared how his mentor inspired him to continue to pursue these values.
For CPE, the value of Excellence is the foundation of our work. It is a commitment to executing CPE’s mission to the highest standard, to set challenging goals and work diligently to reach them, and to inspire others—especially our students—to intentionally focus on achieving their best.
Integrity reflects CPE’s promises in action. It serves as a commitment to hold yourself accountable to say and do the right thing and follow through with your promises to build trust with and among our stakeholders.
Finally, Service reflects the power of giving back. It’s a commitment to use your work, platform, and voice to demonstrate what can be achieved with the power of service and community. We focus on instilling the culture of giving back in our youth so they may also help others thrive.
Moises’s submission can be read below:
When I submitted my Capital Partners for Education (CPE) application at the end of my 8th grade year, I had no idea that the program would have such a strong impact on my life. I will admit that, at least initially, my focus was on the financial aid aspects of CPE. I was oblivious to its mentor-mentee relationships, workshops, and events.
Sooner or later, though, I experienced the full extent of the CPE program, and it made me a better person for it. Reflecting on my time during high school and CPE, I am humbly grateful that CPE and my mentor have guided me to strive as much as I can for excellence, integrity, and service.
Along the way, CPE has encouraged me to learn from my mistakes. I remember that I failed a test for AP Biology. I got a 58 percent on it. I was upset not at the failing score but at the fact that I did not study hard enough. Mr. Reeves had said it would be the hardest test of the year, but I took it for granted and studied minimally. This became a lesson to not be overconfident and to strive to be a better student. And being surrounded with the structure provided by CPE helped make that lesson stick.
When I started CPE, I wanted to ensure that I made my parents proud for all of their hard work and that I made myself proud in carrying my name and their last name. I quickly realized, however, that focusing just on myself was not true excellence. I would also need to focus on others.
Throughout my time in high school, DeMatha Catholic High School emphasized charity. I did volunteer work at soup kitchens such as So Others May East (SOME), DC Central Kitchen, and Shepherd’s Table. Though initially service seemed to my teenage-self like a chore or just another task on the to-do list, it touched me to get first-hand experience of the problems that impoverished people face daily. Seeing that, and seeing the efforts made by those in the CPE program for myself and others, inspires me to try to make an impact on the world myself.
Behind the scenes, my mentor inspires me to continue to pursue these values of excellence, integrity, and service. Though initially a tall and unknown man to me, Stephen Gripkey became a very important person in my life. As a hard-working federal DC prosecutor, it is safe to say that he expects me to do great things. During the college application season, he helped me in numerous ways. He gave me general advice, SAT and college prep books, and he connected me with a personal SAT tutor. My mentor played a pivotal role during the college process, and I am grateful for that. That’s not to say that all of our conversations are based on school. After we watched Avengers: Endgame, for example, we nerd-ly discussed the crucial role that Robert Downey Junior’s Iron Man had on the entire Avengers franchise. Sometimes we might just catch up and talk about what’s going on in each other’s lives, after enjoying our typical lunch at our favorite Thai food restaurant.
I am truly grateful for all that Capital Partners for Education has provided me with to succeed in high school. This fall, I’ll be attending Georgetown University to study international affairs. Hopefully on a day off at Georgetown, I can head down to Chinatown with my mentor to that Thai food restaurant, and later walk down 14th street to drop by the CPE office to catch up.
We are grateful to Moises for sharing his story with us, as well as the entire CPE community for demonstrating the values of excellence, service, and integrity.