Rotary Scholars! Top Santa Paula High School students who were lauded (and rewarded!) at the May 12 Rotary Club Scholarship Dinner were (front, l to r) Jeffery Lopez, Elizabeth Fernandez, (middle, l to right) Juliana Navarro, Lauren Shield, Conor Kruse, John Garza, (top, l to r) Anais Olivares and Aaron Buenrostro. Jose Tapia was unable to attend the event.

Rotary: Nine students share $20,000 for
scholastic achievement

May 28, 2014
Santa Paula News

Santa Paula Rotary rewarded the scholastic achievement of nine graduating Santa Paula High School students at the May 12 Scholarship Dinner.

Many of the Rotarians proudly called out the year of their graduation when asked if any alumni were in the crowd gathered at the historic Glen Tavern Inn.

“Seeing this tonight puts me back when I graduated from High School,” Rotary President Santa Paula’s Fire Chief Rick Araiza told the gathering.

He noted the years of success the graduates enjoyed in high school would now be followed with four years of accomplishment at the school of their choice.

Araiza said he has never forgotten his own college days: “I was enticed by sports at UCLA... and riding the bench really was an experience!”  

Those being rewarded with scholarships “Are the best of the best in Santa Paula... and your journey will never be ended.

“Please leave,” he joked, “but then come back... I did and even changed careers. Always remember that old saying: love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life. Come back, help the community... that’s our goal as Rotarians - service above self.”

Scholarship Committee Co-Chairs Dr. Michael Tushla and Steven Jump presented the scholarships to the students: John Garza is enrolling at UC Irvine to study biology for his eventual career as a physician; with a 4.53 weighted GPA and many extra-curricular activities Garza received a $2,000 Rotary Scholarship to add to the $12,000 Cal Grant he has been awarded. A member of the National Honor Society, Garza has been President of the Key Club and the Gay-Straight Alliance. 

Jose Tapia will study psychology and business at UCSB; with a 4.31 GPA and 1820 SAT score he has shown varied interests and wants to become an entrepreneur; he received a $2,000 Rotary Scholarship to add to an Alexander Hamilton Scholarship he received last year in spite of working 20 hours a week in two area businesses and volunteering at school and in the community.

Aaron Buenrostro, a former Santa Paula Police Intern and Explorer will attend Fresno State to study criminal justice with the goal of becoming a local police officer. He also works part-time, plays trumpet in the SPHS Jazz Band and has been involved with various school groups. He has a 4.1 GPA and was selected as a junior to attend Rotary Youth Camp where he gained experience in leadership. He also received a $2,000 scholarship.

Conor Kruse will be attending CSU Chico where he will study civil engineering. He has earned a 3.87 GPA and has been active with both the Ag Academy and Future Farmers of America. He also likes art and his drawings have been exhibited at the Ventura County Fair and SPHS Art Show where his works have won awards. He has taken part in various SPHS athletic programs and works part-time. Conor also received a $2,000 scholarship.

Elizabeth Fernandez has a 4.44 GPA and 1880 SAT score. She was awarded the$2,000 Jeannette Cole Memorial Scholarship for Agriculture. 

She will attend UC Berkeley to study economics with the goal of having a career in the ag industry. She continues to be active in the Girl Scouts of America, and participates in Briggs 4-H and has raised numerous animals for the Ventura County Fair. She is also athletic and has participated in wresting, golf and cross-country. 

Juliana Navarro received a $2,000 Rotary Scholarship for her studies at Oxnard College in becoming a dental hygienist, a career that has led her to intern for Dr. Dick Yamamoto and study at the Human Services Academy. She has been involved in the National Honor Society, participated in numerous SPHS activities, played soccer for four years and served as a Link Crew mentor. With Rotary Interact she has been a volunteer at the Pumpkin Patch and Christmas Basket Program.

Also receiving $2,000 was Jeffrey Lopez who will attend UCLA to study biology and pre-med; he hopes to become a cardiologist. He ranked second in his class with a 4.63 GPA and 1940 SAT. He has volunteered at St. Sebastian School and the Faulkner Farm Pumpkin Patch. He has been active with Youth Soccer both as a player and as a coach for the Santa Paula Barcelona Club Team. He received a Ventura County Star Scholar Award and a $10,000 UCLA Scholarship. 

Lauren Shield was chosen for a $3,000 Rotary Scholarship and will attend Colorado State University to major in pre-veterinary studies with the hopes of becoming an equine veterinarian. With a 4.45 GPA and 1770 SAT, she has earned a California Women in Agriculture Scholarship and a merit-based $9,200 scholarship as well. Active in the Ag Academy and FFA, she has also volunteered 350 hours at Community Memorial Hospital.

Anais Olivares also received a $3,000 Rotary Scholarship and will be attending UC Merced to study biology with future plans to become a pediatric dentist, a career inspired by her father, a registered nurse. She has a 4.4 GPA, a 1640 SAT and has been a very active volunteer at SPHS. She is President of the California Scholarship Federation Club and has been very active with Key Club. 

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