The Peninsula College Fund (PCF), an organization dedicated to helping local minority students succeed in college, announced that it has awarded college scholarships to 15 high school senior students from East Palo Alto, East Menlo Park and Redwood City. Two of the students graduated from Menlo-Atherton High School – Erica Balderrama (pictured left, top), who will attend the University of California, Merced, and Liliana Guillen (pictured left, bottom) who is going to Foothill College.
In addition to the $12,000 scholarship, each student selected will be provided with an individual mentor, extensive training as well as assistance in securing summer jobs and internships throughout his or her college years.
“Our goal is to assist deserving minority students on the Midpeninsula who otherwise might not be able to attend college due to a lack of financial resources,” said Charles Schmuck, Peninsula College Fund founder. “These are first-generation college students who have strong academic performance, a record of community service and severe financial need, yet are often overlooked by other scholarship programs. Most impressively, they have succeeded in high school despite significant economic and personal challenges unknown to most of us in the affluent Bay Area.”
The 15 new PCF scholars join a group of 52 students who have received support since the organization was founded six years ago. Of this number, all but one are in school full time or have graduated – a testimony to the effectiveness of PCF’s unique combination of scholarship funds, dedicated mentors, and summer job opportunities and training.
An awards ceremony will be held Saturday, June 18, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., at the Sacred Heart Prep in Atherton to honor the 2011 PCF scholarship winners, along with five PCF scholars who have recently graduated from college. The featured speaker will be Dr. Francisco Jimenez, Santa Clara University literature professor and author whose stories have been published in over 50 textbooks and literary anthologies. His autobiographical short story collections, The Circuit, Breaking Through and Reaching Out, movingly describe his journey from the fields of California to the halls of Columbia University and are internationally recognized for their depiction of the migrant experience in America.
In addition to the two M-A grads, the other 2011 PCF scholarship winners are:
– East Palo Alto Academy – Dalia Angel (San Jose State University), Karina Lira (University of California, Santa Barbara)
– East Side College Preparatory – Bryan Duenas (Occidental College), Izamar Moya (Connecticut College), Roshana Smith (Mount Holyoke College), Ashley Washington (San Francisco State University)
– Sequoia High School – Jessica Esquivel (Santa Clara University), Sefora Rios (San Jose State University)
– Summit Prep – Nazareth Diaz (Cal Poly Pomona), Eric Ramirez (Cal State University, Northridge)
Woodside High School – Ruby Gonzales (Notre Dame de Namur), Patricia Peraza (College of San Mateo), Keneisha Perry (Cal State University, Chico)