A pile of scholarship applications pays off for City College student

One of Tatiana Butte’s 30-plus scholarship applications earned her a major award

Tatiana Butte

Tatiana Butte holds up the note she wrote to herself the day she learned of the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. Zoom screenshot

Kathryn Gray, Multimedia Journalist

City Times, Spring 2021This story appeared in the latest print edition of City Times.

In September 2020, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship recipient Tatiana Butte was trying to get by during the pandemic, taking as many classes as possible and using every free moment to focus on scholarship applications, submitting more than 30.

Nine months later, her life has completely changed.

Butte is transferring to the University of California, Berkeley to study communications and political science, debt-free.

Since high school, Butte, a dedicated honors student, was determined to focus on higher education and vowed to never go into financial debt. Her JKC Scholarship combined with others will give Butte the freedom to focus on her studies without financial pressure.

Butte recalls when she first learned about the JKC scholarship and put her intentions in writing.

“I wrote this post-it, writing down that I will be a JKC scholar. I manifested it,” Butte said holding an orange square note up to the screen while smiling with immense pride.

A southeast San Diego native and a self-proclaimed foodie, Butte is eager to explore the communities, cultures and of course the cuisines of northern California. Butte’s excitement to explore her new home is tempered by the sadness of leaving the current one she shares with her mother and brother. Experiencing family hardship at a young age, her father struggling with addiction, Butte’s mother eventually left with both children to start over.

“My mother was able to get my brother and me to a place where we can grow and see a different version of life,” Butte said. “I owe it all to my mother and my past. I use my past as a motivation to succeed.”

Butte, who has a learning disability, credits her mother’s willpower, independence and fierce attitude for inspiring her to speak up and tackle any obstacle. At City, she has worked with professors and counselors to create an educational plan that meets her needs. She’ll do the same at Berkeley, with extra support from the JKC Foundation family to help her navigate the process.

“I’m immensely grateful for the JKC foundation to give me this opportunity,” Butte said.