Friday, November 30, 2018

Grossmont College, Osher scholarship open the world to student

Describing Grossmont College scholar Violette Challe as passionate about social justice would be more than a little bit of an understatement. Challe, who speaks several languages, wants to help change the world.

But first she’s set on transferring to UC San Diego and its Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Master of International Affairs.

Her passion – and her academic excellence – are among the reasons Challe, 22, recently earned an Osher scholarship from the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges. The money is helping to cover the cost of attending Grossmont College this year, and it comes in addition to a scholarship she earned last summer that allowed her to study in Germany and serve an internship with the Abgeordnetenhaus, or parliament.

Challe with German instructor Astrid Ronke
 
Challe, 22, grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, including San Francisco, Pacifica, Petaluma, and Santa Rosa. When she turned 18, Challe ventured abroad to work as an au pair in Italy, a move that changed her life. Living in Europe during the refugee crisis, she saw the suffering of so many as so much of Europe turned its back to the problem. Immersing herself in books such as "The Other Hand," "The Kite Runner" and "A Thousand Splendid Suns" furthered her resolve.



“The injustices of the world have always weighed on my heart and mind, specifically the fact that the West has caused so much of this unnecessary suffering in its pursuits of capitalism, colonialism and global imperialism,” Challe said. “The current refugee crisis is a prime example of this unfairness. Over the years the West has continuously exploited the Middle East for their oil and poppy fields, leaving millions of refugees displaced from their homes. And now Western powers want to vote to close their borders but refuse to vote on a subject as taboo as refrain from selling tanks, guns and other militant weapons to the Middle East.”

Challe returned to the United States a changed woman. She moved to San Diego (more affordable than the Bay Area) and enrolled at Grossmont College.

“Grossmont College is special to me because here I was given the opportunity to achieve a degree,” Challe said. “I understand that being able to get a higher education is a huge privilege. If you’re not someone lucky enough to live with or be supported by your parents, school is almost next to impossible. Trying to balance a full-time job, classes and finding the time for homework, not to mention finding room in your budget for tuition, fees and books. If it wasn’t for the financial aid I receive through Grossmont as well as the scholarships I’ve accepted from the Osher Foundation, I would not have the privilege to pursue my degree. This is why I’m so grateful for Grossmont as well as the California community college system in general and I’ve made it one of my career goals to try to extend the same opportunities that Grossmont has provided me to others who don’t have the privilege to be able to pursue a degree.”

Challe tutors German, Italian and French for Grade Potential, and she serves as president of the Grossmont College German Club. She’s also fluent in Spanish.

“Violette has clearly proven herself to be a serious student and very passionate about learning the French language and culture,” said French Professor Linda Krause, who noted that Challe served as a teaching assistant last spring. “She always has a positive and caring attitude and is well liked by the other students. She is always driven to work at the best of her ability, and I am convinced that she will accomplish the goals that she already has set for herself.”


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