DHS Scholarship Recipient Embodies Spirit of Late DPIE Board Member Edy Coleman

Michael Utsumi, Funding & Programs Coordinator
November 6, 2019

Ms Edy Coleman

Late 2017 brought the passing of Edra Orias Coleman, or Edy, as she was affectionately known.  Raised on a farm in Montana, she married and settled in Dublin in 1977. Here, she raised five children and was blessed with 10 grandchildren in her 55 years of marriage. Equally important, she was known as an active leader and a community servant. One of her many roles was to fulfill the role of Dublin Partners in Education board member and ultimately, it’s board president role. For those that knew her, Edy understood that not all lessons are taught in the classroom. Her most consistent quality was her selfless dedication to serving the community at large. 

In 2018, DPIE established the Edy Coleman Service Scholarship in her honor. The intent was to honor two graduating seniors in the Dublin Unified School District per year with a $2,500 scholarship each. The principal criteria for consideration include: Community Service & Involvement, School Participation, 2.5 GPA or Higher, Financial Need and Likelihood of Future Success in Academics or Vocational Pursuits. 

We are spotlighting one of the two 2019 scholarship recipients, Bailey Morita. In May, Ms. Morita received her diploma from Valley High School with a Cumulative Weighted GPA of 3.48.  Valley is the continuation high school in DUSD that serves anywhere between 80-110 students in any given year. This school site serves as an alternative platform that emphasizes a smaller learning environment and focuses on individual student needs. Bailey’s journey was unlike most experienced by most young people. While enrolled as a seventh grader at Fallon Middle School, she began to bear the effects of multiple health challenges. Ultimately, she was diagnosed with End Stage 5 Renal Failure. After multiple tests and surgeries, she began Hemodialysis. This process then became a complete lifestyle change with the primary emphasis on her regaining her health. At the time, her prospects of attending a “conventional” high school were quite dim. However, her internal drive made her pledge to graduate with her Class of 2019.

Switching to in-home Peritoneal Dialysis (PD) was definitely a game-changer. Ultimately, it allowed her to attend school daily and to participate in student body activities. The family determined that the Valley High environment would best suit her goals and individual needs.  As she began to flourish in classroom and was collecting various recognitions, she was encouraged to apply for the Edy Coleman Service Scholarship. Recently, we caught up with her on the Las Positas College campus. She is currently maintaining a full academic load while continuing her job at Whole Foods in Dublin. She shared some her reflections on life and school. 

Los Positas College

DPIE: As you reflect upon your academic career balanced with the medical challenges that you’ve had to overcome, what do you suppose is the source of your inner drive to continually beat the odds?

Bailey Morita: “I believe I am lucky to still be able to attend school. There are many kids out there who have it worse than I do. They can't go to school, go out with friends or work. In fact, when I was diagnosed, I was told I would probably not finish school. The reason was because the treatments were so tiring you wouldn't have the time or the energy to go to school too. For these reasons, I am extremely grateful and feel I can work around my medical issues to have the opportunity to work and go to school. I should take advantage of it because one day I could wake up, and not have that privilege.”

DPIE: You have now matriculated at Las Positas College, please describe the principal differences of environment and self-management as a college student vs. high school.

Morita: “I think the biggest differences between high school and college would be the amount of freedom you have as a student. You have the ability to make your own schedule and choose your classes. However, with this freedom comes responsibility. Unlike High School, teachers won't remind you to “get things done, so you can graduate". Everyone is on their own schedule in college and no one will be there to inch you along.” 

DPIE: One of the elements of the Edy Coleman Scholarship is demonstrating community service. Explain how serving as the VHS Student Representative helped you to grow/mature.

Morita: “Serving as the Valley High School Student Representative placed me in a professional environment. Because of this experience, I gained very valuable insight into the workings of Robert's Rules of Order and public speaking. Not only did it teach me about these important skills, but it allowed me to work on being professional with my mindset, how I dressed and presented myself at meetings or events.”

DPIE: Please articulate to your fellow students that may view life as a pile of obstacles – what is your message of encouragement to them?

Morita: “In a way, it's true. Life is full of ups and downs, and you have to get through dark times before you find the light at the end of the tunnel. Life isn't made out to be easy, but every challenge you face makes you stronger. My message of encouragement would be to face one goal at a time, so you're always moving forward. Even if it's taking it day by day, you are still taking steps forward, closer to the end of that dark tunnel.”

We would like to thank Bailey Morita for sharing her time and insights. Somehow, we feel confident that Edy would be proud to know that her sense of service and perseverance lives on in a recent Valley High School graduate. Congratulations, Bailey.