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Visiting with the three Peninsula College Fund scholarship recipients who are M-A grads

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on June 18, 2014

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This year the Peninsula College Fund, founded by Menlo Park resident Charles Schmuck, awarded scholarships to 20 high school students. The non-profit organization focuses on helping low-income, first-generation college students attend and finish college by providing four-year scholarships, one-to-one adult mentors, college and career success training, and summer internship placements and stipends. An award ceremony, open to the public, will be held at Sacred Heart Prep on Thursday, June 19, beginning at 5:30 pm. We visited with the three students who recently graduated from Menlo-Atherton High School.

Xochilt Silva (far left) is headed to Chico State where she plans to major in psychology. “I love helping others, and I think I can relate to other people’s experiences,” she says. She got into all 15 schools she applied to and while going out of state was something she seriously considered, she chose Chico to “save money for my family.”

Always a good student, Xochilt participated in M-A’s leadership program. “My leadership teacher, Mr. Amoroso, is like my second Dad – I love him so much.”

Kevin Maravilla is planning to attend Notre Dame de Namur where he’ll major in biology with the hopes of one day becoming a pediatrician. He has high praise for the teaching staff at M-A who he says, “kept me determined, motivated, and on task.”

He ran track at M-A – the mile and two mile – and plans to continue running cross country when he’s at college.

Taimai Soto Abarca is going to attend Dominican College and study nursing. “I know I want to be a RN,” she says, “but I don’t know yet what I want to specialize in.”

Taimia was born in Costa Rica and came to the U.S.when she was in sixth grade, moving to Menlo Park two weeks before she started at M-A. This summer she’s going to be attending a number of big church events; her father is pastor at Casa De Dios in Palo Alto.

“I’m an only child and I’ve always been with my parents,” she says. “I don’t know what it feels like be without them, but I’m looking forward to the new experience.”

Photo by Irene Searles

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