ABC7 Star Scholar: John Oberholzer

Dan Ashley Image
Monday, July 6, 2015
ABC7 Star Scholar: John Oberholzer
An amazing teen from Oakland has overcome adversity to do great things in the community, making him an ABC7 Star Scholar.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- This marks the 10th year ABC7 has celebrated student achievement with the "Star Scholars" program. Every year, we reward seven high school seniors with a $1,000 scholarship each toward his or her college education.

We met one teen who earned an associate degree from Merritt College in Oakland at the age of 14.

John Oberholzer identifies himself as a musician, athlete and dancer. He is also a hard-working student who has overcome adversity, growing up poor and gay in Oakland.

"Given both this background and my love of the Bay Area, I personally feel driven to give back to people in my same situation," Oberholzer said.

This straight-A student, who dedicates many hours giving back to his community, is headed to Stanford University in the fall to study chemistry.

"I'm interested in studying the science of addiction because that's a little something close to home for me so hopefully I could create some solutions there," Oberholzer said.

Dan Ashley: "Obviously, you're a very smart guy, very ambitious guy, but there's something about you that just wants to see how good you can get at everything right?"

Oberholzer: "Yah. You know one of the things I say is 'never settle.' I never want to not go for 100 percent."

"He amazes me almost every day because I find out something new about what he's done for the community," Natalie Mann, Oberholzer's math teacher, said.

Oberholzer has organized volunteer service projects for Oakland's homeless shelters and revived Oakland Tech's queer-straight alliance group to help connect students and teachers with the LGBTQ community.

Ashley: "How meaningful has it been?"

Oberholzer: "It's been a great experience and it's definitely, I've been able to see my capacities expand as a leader, logistically and emotionally too."

Ashley: "Congratulations on being one of our Star Scholars. We are really proud of you."

"To be a Star Scholar is a great opportunity, I think, to show somebody who is able to work past some of the problems that happen in Oakland and to show that if you take the opportunities, and you go the right way, and put the work in, you really can go somewhere," Oberholzer said.

And make no mistake, he is going somewhere.

This is the tenth year for ABC7's Star Scholars program, where ABC7 gives recognition to seven outstanding students, each of whom receives a $1,000 scholarship toward his or her college education. Watch Sunday, July 12 at 6:30 p.m. to learn more about all of our Star Scholars!