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Hispanic Chamber honors local students with scholarships

“You are the future,” said Daisy Salgado to the nine students who were receiving scholarships from the Merced County Hispanic Chamber’s Scholarship Foundation (HCC-SF). Salgado is the Foundation President and owner of the Farmers Insurance Agency in Atwater. The scholarship ceremony was held May 31 at Treviños Mexican Restaurant.

Starting in 2015, MCHCC has awarded the $1,000 Linda Lopez Scholarship to a student that demonstrates community service each year. This year’s winner, Karen Godinez from El Capitan High School aspires to become a lawyer. She served as Associated Student Body President during her Senior year.

“When I took U.S. History in eighth grade it was like a fire inside of me that ignited an enthusiasm for understanding politics and law. From that point on, I knew my calling in life was to become a lawyer,” Godinez said. “I want to defend people and their rights, which come from documents that were written hundreds of years ago and still apply to our society today.”

Additional $500 scholarships are given to at least three deserving high school students each year. If fundraising efforts provide enough money, more scholarships are given. This year’s slate of 8 recipients is the most ever awarded. Applicants are evaluated on their level of academic achievement, financial need and educational goals.

The keynote speaker for the evening was Yamilet Valladolid of Golden Valley Health Centers. She encouraged the students to “treasure the support they have received from their parents and from people in the community. At the end of the day, it’s not about what you have or what you have accomplished – it’s about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better. Its about what you’ve given back.”

Esmeralda Miranda Gutierrez of Golden Valley High School plans to attend UC Fresno focusing on Agriculture Business. She has a dream of owning her own farming business and traveling the world to experience other cultures.

“I have been given many opportunities because my father works hard in the fields. I want to give these opportunities to others,” Gutierrez said.

Diosely Martinez Lopez just graduated from Livingston High School where she competed in Cross Country, Wrestling and Track. She also joined the CSF, HYLC and FFA organizations.

“I have given back to my community by helping organize a canned food drive with my local church in order to provide for those in need. I have helped in raising funds by holding car washes,” Lopez said. “I am a committed individual that stays motivated to work hard in school, keep a positive mindset and look for opportunities to make my goals a reality.”

Ricardo Drumond Medina of Livingston High School plans to earn a degree in Business Administration from UC Berkeley. He will be the first in his family to attend a four-year college.

“Getting myself into Sales and Marketing is what I am deeply passionate about. I enjoy developing marketing strategies and researching how to help one thing improve into another,” Medina said.

Medina put in extra effort to complete 24 transferrable college units while still in high school, earning a 3.9 GPA. “These classes have taught me how to better manage my time, to be disciplined, and to focus on priorities,” he said.

Alondra Zamora Mendoza of Golden Valley High School graduated at the top of her class. She has earned the Honor Roll, Pursuing Victory with Honor Pins, the Seal of Biliteracy, CIP All Academic Team, FFA Greenhand Degree, Varsity Cheerleading Captain, CSF Vice President and completed 80 hours of community service. She even held a bookkeeping job and ran her own part time art business.

Mendoza will be attending UC Berkeley majoring in Architecture and minoring in Fine Arts. “Although my top goals are to graduate from college and build my own custom home, my ultimate goal in life is to have a happy family and create loving memories,” she said.

Miguel Angel Prado-Nava of Golden Valley High School was born in Merced to parents who are both migrant farm workers. He credits the challenges of moving frequently and sometimes being without his parents for his independence and mental strength.

Prado-Nava will be majoring in Human Biology at UC San Diego. “I had aspirations of becoming a physician but shadowing Dr. Singh, and Emergency Physician at Mercy Hospital changed my mind. It looks cool in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ but it’s way different in real life,” he said. “I plan to switch my major to Finance and become a Stock Broker.”

Justine Quiralte-Reyes of Golden Valley High School loves music and plays many instruments including the Tuba and Drums. In his sophomore year he coached a Middle School Drumline.

“Teaching music is what I want to do for the rest of my life,” Quiralte-Reyes said. “I want to see a child’s eyes light up when they finally get a scale they’ve been working hard to master, or when they receive a new instrument. I’d like to inspire kids to conque whatever they put their minds to.”

Holester Galvan Sandoval of Livingston High School enjoys playing sports including soccer, cross country and track. He plans to attend UC Davis with a Business major.

“I have a strong interest and a passion for electronics. My dream is to start my own electronic supply company,” Sandoval said. He credits his parents for doing everything they could to make his life better.

Rogelio Velazquez of El Capitan High School has been involved with leadership activities, sports and clubs. He served as President of the Environment Science Academy Club and competed in cross country and track. He plans to attend UC Santa Cruz and major in Business.

“My goal is to be genuinely happy with the people I love, having a job I enjoy, and to start my own family,” Velazquez said.

For more information about the Merced County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce or its Scholarship Foundation call 384-9537 or email [email protected]

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