Committee Co-Chair Dr. Chris Bartleson (left), Rotary President Carlos Juarez (2nd from left) and Scholarship Committee Co-Chair Dr. Michael Tushla (right) congratulated the 11 Santa Paula High School graduating seniors that received $22,000 in scholarships.

Santa Paula Rotary awards $22,000 to 11 graduating SPHS seniors

June 09, 2017
Santa Paula News

Santa Paula Rotary awarded $22,000 to a variety of outstanding students at the recent Scholarship Banquet where Santa Paula High School graduate students were celebrated.

The May 8 Scholarship Banquet was held at the Aviation Museum of Santa Paula where “Joe Cardinal” decorated each table and Rotarians acted as hosts to graduates and family members.

Jessenia Montiel said “I’m really excited,” about attending Grand Canyon University where she will major in Business/Sports Management for a career in sports management or sports marketing.

Manuela Montiel noted her pride in her daughter whom it was easy to see has inspired her young brother Francisco, who said his favorite elementary school subject is math.

Deacon Al Guilin led the Invocation thanked the teachers “that inspired the students to blossom into who they are and the parents that nourished them.”

Club President Carlos Juarez noted the presence of Vice Mayor Ginger Gherardi, Councilman John Procter and Interim City Manager Rick Araiza, all Rotarians, before he introduced Elias Valdes. 

“You are here for two reasons, you’re good students and the sacrifices of your parents,” he noted.

The motto of Rotary is Service Above Self and Valdes told of the history of the club founded in 1905 as well as its present status of 1.2 million members in 35 counties. 

“The thing that brings us all together is service,” and Elias said he would hope that those students the Rotary Club supports will someday return to the community and perhaps even join the organization that has service projects throughout the world centered on health such as the PolioPlus program, well being through providing sources of clean water and promoting peace.

There is now an international emphasis of working with women: “They found out they don’t like wars,” said Valdes. “Women also are very entrepreneurial” and micro-loans from Rotary can save villages where women driven businesses create wages for others.

“Locally, each year we give 500 Christmas Baskets,” to Santa Paula’s pre-qualified needy, “We welcome new teachers each year with a barbecue” and of course give scholarships to SPHS students.

“We’re giving away $22,000 this year,” which noted Valdes, “makes me a very proud Rotarian and proud to serve with this finest group of men and women.”

Success, Valdes noted, is “when preparedness meets opportunity” and he wished the students that they always strive for success as well as happiness. 

Rotarian and Santa Paula Unified School District Superintendent Alfonso Gamino introduced Board President Kelsey Stewart, Vice President Michelle Kolbeck, Clerk Tina Urias and Board Members Derek Luna and Pam Thompson as well as various district administrators. 

“This is just a great experience for all of us,” Gamino noted. “Your success is our success,” and he urged them to return to their community.

Gherardi introduced Keynote Speaker Celina Zacarias, director of Community & Government Relations for CSUCI.

Zacarias spoke of her struggles and challenges and how those she met along the way helped her achieve her success. Her family was poor but made sure she attended a university and Zacarias found success as a banker. 

“Is this going to be an easy journey? No, it’s not. Is it worth it? Yes,” she noted. “Stay committed to your goal and your dreams — I did not get here on my own. I had people that pushed me along the way.”

Dr. Mike Tushla of the Scholarship Committee presented the awards and noted that co-committee member Dr. Chris Bartleson “does all the heavy lifting” for the program that this year awarded 11 students $2,000 each. 

“It was the best group of students we ever had,” said Tushla who introduced each recipient.

With a 4.56 GPA Daisy Candelas will attend UC Davis (Political Science). She passed AP tests including US History, English and Spanish and has had leadership roles in ASB, CSF, and the National Honor Society. A Rotary Junior Achievement award recipient, Daisy is involved with CAUSE, SESPEA and a volunteer at Blanchard Community Library. She plans on becoming an attorney. 

Yarelin Cantu is off to California Lutheran University (Sociology) with plans to become a social worker. Involved in the SPHS Human Services Academy, RYLA, tennis, Key Club, Fashion Club and the Future Leaders of America, Yarelin attended The Ronald Reagan Student Leadership Program. She also is a volunteer teacher’s assistant at St Sebastian School.

Yale University is the next stop for Jesus Contreras (Biomedical Engineering) who has a 4.79 GPA. Founder of the Robotics Club, into varsity soccer and a Junior Achievement Award winner, Jesus was a leader in the Upward Bound Math and Science Program. Tushla noted that Jesus “Works in the fields on school breaks,” and is also interested in motivational speaking. 

Rocio Hernandez, with a 4.0 GPA, will attend CSUCI (Biology). He is interested in becoming an ultrasound technician. Rocio played Varsity softball for four years, volleyball and served as a volunteer for the Briggs 4H Club. He was also a volunteer for the Rotary Christmas Basket Program, is a T-Ball umpire and a member of the National Honor Society. 

UC Davis will welcome Christopher Magana (Chemical Engineering)

With a 4.57 GPA he is considering petroleum engineering or a medical career. He passed AP exams including biology, English Literature and Calculus. A member of the Health and Human Service Academy Christopher co-founded the Robotics Club, participated in the Key Club, MESA, and CSF. He was also an ASB representative.  

Natasha Martinez, with a 4.57 GPA will attend UCLA (Biology); she is interested in becoming an Optometrist. Her AP classes included Biology, English, Psychology and Statistics while taking classes at Ventura College. The captain of Varsity soccer, Natasha participated in the Health and Human Services Academy and was involved in SESPEA, Key Club, Junior State and CSF.  

With a 4.63 GPA Estefany Mendoza will attend UC Davis (Biology)

Ranking 3rd in her class, Estefany hopes to become a Pediatric Surgeon. She attended the Human Service Academy and has participated in cross-country, track and basketball. She was ASB Treasurer, a member of the Key Club and has been involved in a youth choir since she was 8 years old.  

Jessenia Montiel will attend Grand Canyon University (Business/Sports Management) for a career in sports management or marketing. She attended the Health & Human Service Academy and played basketball and volleyball. CSF Vice President, National Honor Society and Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership Ambassador, she volunteers for JSA, Key Club, MESA and Big Brothers/Sisters. Winner of MESA competitions Jessenia is a Recreation Commission Youth Commissioner.

CSUCI is the destination of Araseli Navarro (Sociology) who has a 4.04 GPA and aspires to become an attorney specializing in civil rights or to enter politics. AP Psychology, honors courses and five courses at Ventura College have been completed by Araseli, who was also involved in the Ronald Reagan Leadership Program, Interact, CSF, Mock Trial, and the Human Services Academy.  

Nayhb Oseguera received the Jeanette Cole Memorial Scholarship; he will attend UC Berkeley (Bioengineering). In the FFA he raised market lambs, held leadership positions and participated in public speaking contests. He volunteered 300 hours while passing four AP exams; ranks in the top 10 of his class. Nayhb lived in Mexico during elementary school and returned in 9th grade; recipient of the Latino Town Hall Youth and two Rotary Junior Achievement awards. 

Stanford University will welcome Mireille Vargas (Environmental Systems Engineering) who is ranked #1 in her class with a 4.76 GPA. She is involved in multiple environmental activities including SESPEA and CAUSE. Involved in renewing SOAR. Mireille is interested in college research involving desalination/reverse osmosis and returning to Ventura County and a possible teaching career. Involved with Rotary Pumpkin Patch Mireille also served as a Recreation Commission Youth Commissioner. 

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