2020 grad chosen for JMU’s Centennial Scholars Program

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2020 Laurel Ridge grad Carlos Yanez is transferring to James Madison University this year, and his tuition, room and board will all be covered thanks to his selection into the university’s Centennial Scholars Program.

“I was so excited,” Yanez said of finding out he had been chosen for the program designed to offer financial and academic support to ensure under-represented students could still attend the university. “My parents can’t afford to pay for any of my college. I’ve always paid for almost everything by myself since I was 14. Just to be able to be in this program is just wonderful. My mother was really excited, she almost started crying.”

The third of four children, Yanez grew up in Mt. Jackson. He has been working at Shenandoah Caverns since he was 14, and was a work-study student at Laurel Ridge.

A 2019 graduate of Stonewall Jackson High School, Yanez took enough dual-enrollment classes while still in high school that he was able to attain his associate degree in general studies after just one year at Laurel Ridge.

At JMU, he plans to major in health sciences with the goal of becoming an occupational therapist.

Laurel Ridge’s low cost was a major factor in Yanez deciding to come to the college. He was also influenced by outreach and alumni coordinator Kelli Williams’ visit to Stonewall Jackson High School.

“When Kelli came and talked to us and once I got a tour of campus, it felt right,” Yanez said. “I felt at home at Laurel Ridge.

“I had a blast this past year at Lord Fairfax. I met so many great people. Being able to meet everyone and have the different opportunities I had in just one year was more than I could imagine.”

In addition to serving as a Student Ambassador, Yanez took part in the Fairfax Follies show. Academically, he especially enjoyed Sarah Pangle’s public speaking class and Professor Jeff Hollar’s anatomy and physiology course.

While at Laurel Ridge, Yanez benefitted from a couple of scholarships, including the Michael Boaz Memorial Endowed Scholarship and a cultural diversity scholarship.

Are you inspired by Yanez’s story? Would you like to help other students like him? Please consider making a gift to the Laurel Ridge Educational Foundation at laurelridge.edu/donate.