David, a 2016 graduate of Holland High School, attends Michigan State University this fall.

David says he was just six years old when he began noticing on the television shows he was watching that minorities weren’t often pictured as successful people. Ever since, he has had a goal to show that he and other minorities could succeed.

But how? David was smart enough to keep an eye on his sister who did very well in school. She became his role model for achieving and she set the academic bar very high. In fact it was the beginning of a friendly competition to do as well — or better — than she did!

David’s sister graduated 3rd in her class. David graduated 12th. But, as Stacy Timmerman, Director of Scholarships at the Community Foundation of Holland Zeeland noted, that was 12th out of a class of 286!.

David won’t be the first in his family to attend college. His sister received a full scholarship to Hope College. But he is still part of that first generation in the Mora family to attend — in his case — a major university.

A member of National Honor Society at Holland High, David also participated in Holland’s LAUP program. He credits LAUP with teaching him Stephen Covey’s well known “Seven Habits” — important strategies for achieving success. What stayed with him most were strategies for managing priorities, for being proactive and strategies for helping others along the way.

David’s high school counselor, Ben Gitler had this to say about David:

“Through LAUP David participated in a group that met to read and discuss The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. Reading this book and discussing it with other students who were in similar situations helped him see that he had control over his future. And showed him the importance of making choices which would lead him to his goals. David’s optimism and lack of pretentiousness set him apart from others and I am confident he will have a successful future.”

David’s Career goals?

  • David was recommended by both Holland High School and Careerline Tech Center where he took a class in Web and Game Development. He loved playing video games as a child, and then grew fascinated with the internet as he grew older. David said it opened up a wide new world for him where he could search and learn. He even figured out on his own how to “tweak” as he put it, websites and games. So it’s no surprise that David’s chosen major at MSU will be Computer Science.

What did receiving the Holland/Zeeland Promise mean for David?

“I remember when Stacy Timmerman, of the Community Foundation called my name at the honors assembly at Holland High. I stood up, but when I sat down I thought — Did she really call my name? Is this really happening? I really appreciate being able to receive this help from all the donors. I know that college would have been a lot tougher and more stressful for both me and my family if we had to worry about money along the way. I know I will be putting this money to good use to further my education and hopefully one day I will donate alongside the rest of you!”

David’s advice to students who dream of a college education and face financial or other challenges?

“Do everything in your power to minimize those challenges, like applying for as many scholarships as possible if it’s a financial problem or getting a tutor if it’s more of a learning challenge.”

To learn more about the Holland/Zeeland Promise Scholarship, visit www.cfhz.org/hzpromise