There were many very high quality candidates for the 2016-2017 Michael Cordova Annual Scholarship this year which made the decision to pick one out of so many one of the toughest choices to-date. The name that ultimately emerged from the many deserving candidates was Michael Kolodziej. To be considered for the scholarship, the scholarship recipient would demonstrate a great desire to pursue higher education as demonstrated through their academic achievements, great leadership skills, and altruistic endeavors in the local community.
Michael left a lasting mark, academically, during his four years at Desert Vista High School. In addition to maintaining an unweighted 4.0 grade point average throughout his tenure as a high school student, Michael earned the distinction of being invited to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama as part of the Honeywell Leadership Challenge Academy (HCLA). The HCLA is a week-long program that focuses on cultivating the leadership and teamwork qualities of students who have demonstrated exceptional academic prowess. The time Michael spent in Huntsville was spent delving into a challenging curriculum of math, science and technology. He was also named a Commended Student in the National Merit Scholarship program in September of 2015. He earned this honor with the National Merit Scholarship program by having his Preliminary SAT score stand out among his over 34,000 peers who also took the test. Michael’s exceptional efforts in the subject of Social Studies earned him a place in the Rho Kappa Honors society. Rho Kappa is an honors society that recognizes students that excel in the subject of Social Studies and focuses its efforts in stressing the importance of grasping the lessons of history and being of service to the community.
The concept of being of service to the community is a concept that is not lost on Michael. When he was a summer volunteer at Pecos Community Center, he was instrumental in helping the counselors supervise the children that participated in the Center’s summer program and organized program activities. Michael’s dedication to community service does not stop there; he serves as a member for the Squires of Columbus, a faith-based organization that dedicates itself to serving the less fortunate in the community. The National Honors Society, an entity dedicated to volunteer service and academic excellence, recognized Michael’s diligence to academics and community and made him a member of their organization. Given the importance of faith in Michael’s life, he has made time to serve as an Altar Server for Corpus Christi Catholic Church since 2008 and was given the honor of being named an Altar Captain in 2011 for his dedication to Altar duties.
Michael understands the importance of physical fitness to maintaining a sharp mind. When Michael was part of the Desert Vista Track and Field team, he took part in the high jump and short distance running. He also made a point of competing in as many local track meets as he could, when they took place.
The value of a dollar is not lost on Michael; in order to start paying his own way and to save for college, he started working in part-time jobs when he turned 16 years old. Amazingly, when Michael is not focusing on studies, giving back to community, or challenging himself physically, he spends 20 hours a week towards his part-time employment, whether enduring the rigors of the fast food industry at Taco Bell or his current job helping customers at his local Safeway.
Besides being accepted into the Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University, we are also impressed with Michael’s ambitious plans for his life after college. He wants to pursue a career in mechanical engineering and to earn a law degree. As a mechanical engineer, he wants to have a legacy of creating life-changing devices. He also wants to pursue a law degree because he recognizes there is a sizeable portion of our community that does not have the ability to speak for themselves and stand up for their rights; he believes a juris doctorate degree would enable him to do that.
The Law Offices of Michael Cordova wishes Michael Kolodziej all the success in the world at Arizona State University and a heartfelt congratulations on being named 2016-2017 Michael Cordova Annual Scholarship winner! We look forward to hearing the good things to come from Michael in the future!