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Triumphing Over Adversity; Local Students Honored at Winners Breakfast

Original post made by Katherine Chouteau on Mar 2, 2007

Two local students were honored on March 1st at the Family Service Agency of San Mateo County and Oracle's 12th Annual Winners Breakfast. Held at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport, and co-hosted by CBS-5 TV's Sydnie Kohara and ABC-7 TV's Don Sanchez, the breakfast honored Matthew Boyd of Menlo-Atherton High School and Nadia Nothelfer of Woodside High School along with 23 other local students for overcoming extreme adversity to graduate. The special honor came with a $500 award for the students.

As recipient of the Borel Private Bank and Trust Company Award, Boyd's honor came on the heels of facing severe family issues growing up, including his mother's drug problems. She frequently left him alone as a young boy and eventually abandoned him. His father remarried and finally gained custody of Boyd in court. Boyd's self-esteem was adversely impacted by his upbringing and he frequently felt like an outsider among his school peers. But he made significant strides by sharing his issues with others, and has succeeded academically despite a challenging course-load. His favorite subject is math and his career interests include law and psychology. Boyd's greatest inspiration is his father, who has overcome a troubled past to become a reliable parent. One of Boyd's greatest wishes is to help in the fight to eradicate AIDS.

For her part, Nothelfer—an Oracle Award recipient—has triumphed over cultural barriers and extensive family obligations since moving to the U.S. from Uruguay at age 13. Her parents do not speak English, limiting their job prospects and forcing Nothelfer to serve as a translator with their work. Her efforts never wavering, Nothelfer excelled in an ESL Program, and moved into mainstream English this year to earn an A in that course. Her teachers at Woodside High School report that she has improved her study skills, is outgoing, and is always on the lookout to help other students. After graduating, Nothelfer plans to attend community college and eventually study pediatric nursing or medicine at San Francisco State University. Nothelfer's greatest inspiration is her mother who cut short her own education to raise a family. If she could have one wish granted, Nothelfer would like to become a singer and a successful nurse.

Supported by partner sponsor Oracle, Family Service hosts the Winners Breakfast annually, in addition to providing an array of vital services aimed at helping struggling people in the community improve their lives. The non-profit serves over 18,000 children, families and seniors each year. To donate to Family Service in honor of Boyd or Nothelfer, please call 650-403-4300 or visit www.familyserviceagency.org.



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