2015 SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS
Beginning in 2015 JGFS began also awarding scholarships to students at Madera High School in Madera, CA.
REEDLEY HIGH SCHOOL
JESUS AYALA is the youngest of 5 children, all of whom have worked with their parents as farm workers. Jesus is an outstanding student (3.94 GPA) and is also involved in extracurricular activities – he plays the saxophone, placed 5th in cross country and placed high in a Sports Medicine competition. Jesus plans to major in Biology at UCSB with a goal of becoming a medical doctor. He says, “I hope to return to my hometown and use my expertise as a doctor to provide medical services to the underprivileged. I hope to one day give back to my community that gave me so much.”
GUADALUPE CARRILLO is a high achieving student who wants to become a doctor. She says of her parents, “They are like my motor that keeps me going. I am more than proud to call them my parents.” She has always wanted to be a doctor, and strongly believes that people’s lives are defined by the way they serve others. She is a role model to her classmates and has earned the admiration of her teachers for her outstanding work and personal attributes. She will begin college with a major in Biology at California State University, Fresno and then apply to medical school.
JOEL CEDENO is one of 7 children and will be the first in the family to attend college. Joel was born in Mexico and due to extreme conditions in his town, the family moved to the U.S. Early adversity granted Joel maturity and appreciation for the opportunities he now has to change his life. At California State University, San Diego, Joel will be majoring in Computer Science and Business. He says, “Helping others through the development of new forms of technology and communication, along with leading an innovative technological market are things I aspire to accomplish in the future”.
JONATHAN CERVANTES has been very busy in school earning excellent grades, competing in sports (wrestling captain, and tennis), playing in the marching band, and holding leadership positions in clubs. Jonathon appreciates the sacrifice his parents have made working in the fields and is determined to make them proud. He says, “I want to give back to my parents a college degree.” For now, his goal is to apply for a computer science internship in the Silicon Valley while attending California State University, San Jose. His father is not able to pay for his college expenses because his wages barely pay for food and housing.
MARYLEE GORDILLO was born in Mexico and is the 2nd oldest of 5 children. After struggling to learn English, Marylee became an excellent student. Her math teacher says, “She performs at the top of her class in understanding concepts and applying them.” Marylee credits her farm worker parents for her motivation to succeed. She says, “They’ve taught me that nothing is impossible in life and that the only person that can stop you from not reaching your goals is you.” She will enroll at California State University, Fresno in the fall. With her older sister in college, Marylee will use the scholarship funds to help buy books and other supplies.
FRANCISCO HERNANDEZ is motivated to go to college and become a teacher after watching his father get home exhausted from working long days outside in the freezing cold or scorching sun. Francisco is reminded daily how hard it is to work in the fields. He says, “I am amazed at what [my father] has to go through every day.” This experience has not only motivated Francisco to earn good grades for himself, but also to help others succeed. He will be the first in his family to go to college and will enroll in Reedley College in the fall. Francisco will use the scholarship to buy books.
ALEXIS MENDOZA is in honor roll, marching band, and has won many awards in various extracurricular activities. He is focused on his career goal of becoming a Registered Nurse. His ultimate goal is to become a Doctor of Nursing Practice. Besides taking rigorous classes and loving reading and music, Alexis enjoys helping others and giving of himself without anything in return. He says, “I know I will love my job as an RN even though the road might be bumpy financially. That just gives me more strength to keep trying to put myself ahead of the game.” He will enroll at California State University, Fresno in the fall.
ERICA MUNOZ comes from a family of 5 and her parents are farm workers. In addition to focusing on school, she volunteers with three groups: Residents at a retirement home, special needs children, and with her church. Her passion is to work with babies and children, and she plans to go to a community college and pursue the field of education. Because her parents do not earn enough money to pay for college tuition, books, and other expenses, she does not want to burden them with added costs. She fears they will go into debt just to help her out. She plans to use the scholarship money to pay for books and tuition.
ALEJANDRO PANIAGUE is motivated to succeed in school because his parents did not have the opportunity to get an education. He says “They have given me the knowledge of life, to learn how to take the right paths for a successful life with the sweat of your forehead.” He joins his father in the fields working for long hours in the summer and on weekends. He is persistent and continually pushes himself by taking classes that will challenge him. He will be the second in his family to go to college and will enroll at Reedley College. With 6 siblings, Alejandro is going to need all the financial assistance he can get.
REBECA SALAS is a compassionate and exceptional young lady. As the oldest child in the family she cares for her siblings while both her parents work in the fields. She says, “Field work is tiring and exhausting, and seeing [my parents] come home every day ignites a spark in me to study hard and give them what they deserve.” Little money, house chores, and a rigorous academic program have made her resilient and more eager to realize her dreams. And, she will not give up her dreams until she becomes a psychologist so she can help others. She will enroll at California State University, Fresno in the fall.
MADERA HIGH SCHOOL
ROSARIO TINAJERO As a family member of six, Rosario understands the sacrifices her parents have made for the betterment of their family. Rosario’s two older sisters attend college and have been wonderful role models for her. Her goal is to study nursing and attend UC Irvine. Rosario currently volunteers at the ROP Nursing Careers program at Madera Rehab and Nursing Center. She is also involved with the Madera High School Fashion Club, which focuses on giving back to the community at various local events.
VANESSSA RAMOS-LEON As the child of farmworkers, Vanessa spent many days with relatives while her parents toiled in the fields. Through this experience, Vanessa realized the many sacrifices her family made for her betterment. She also became more mature due to her many responsibilities at home. All of this fueled Vanessa to pursue an education in administration. Vanessa hopes to achieve a successful career in Database administration.
ALEJANDRA DURAN-MEDINA Alejandra is a first-generation Mexican-American. She has observed first-hand the many sacrifices her parents made for her and her sisters when they came to this country. Alejandra will pursue a career in the medical field and one day, achieve her dream of becoming an ophthalmologist. She currently volunteers at the ROP Nursing Careers program at Madera Rehab and Nursing Center. Alejandra will attend Fresno State University in the fall and plans to work part-time to pay for college expenses.
CARMELITA AGUILAR Carmelita understand the difficulties farm laborers face first hand. As a child she worked with her father picking various crops such as grapes and strawberries. Many of her weekends and vacations were spent helping her family earn money. Through this experience she realized the opportunities available to her in this country. Carmelita’s goal is to pursue a career in law enforcement. She currently volunteers with the Madera County Sheriff Explorer Program. Carmelita is active in her community, as a volunteer with many faith-based organizations. She is also a member of the Madera Academic Youth Alliance. Carmelita will attend Fresno State University in the fall.
DANIEL GARCIA Daniel is one of four children, raised by a hard-working single mother. Although his upbringing was not easy, Daniel learned he could better his life if he too worked hard. He has positioned himself as a leader at Madera High School, becoming part of the Associated Student Body (ASB). Daniel has volunteered at various events through ASB and has witnessed the powerful impact of community involvement upon youth. Daniel aspires to be a businessman, where he can utilize his leadership skills. Daniel hopes to attend University of California in the fall.
FRANCISCO ABENDANO As a family member of seven, Francisco has observed the many difficulties faced by farmworkers. Francisco will be the first to attend college in his family and credits his passion to his supportive parents and teachers. His goal is to pursue an education in the medical field, and one day, become a pediatrician. Francisco has completed many Advanced Preparation courses at Madera High School and is a member of the Madera Academic Youth Alliance club. He has volunteered at various events through his affiliations and also works part-time to help his family.
JOSE F. JIMENEZ Jose came to the United States before the age of one and has developed an intense desire to succeed. His mother is a seasonal farmworker and his father is disabled. Through their financial difficulties, Jose has realized his dream of competing in the world of Computer Science as a possible Software Developer. He has won two Cyber Security awards through the Future Business Leaders of America club at Madera High School. Jose is also active in Track and Field and is enrolled in the MCCAP program through Madera Center Community College.
MAYRA GRISEL HUERTA-PLAZA Mayra will be the first in her family to attend college. She is one of seven children, born to farm working parents. Mayra’s dad is now disabled and struggling with health issues related to his work. The challenges her family has faced are the reason she is motivated to pursue higher education in business administration. Mayra is a member of the Madera Academic Youth Alliance, where she has volunteered at various community events. She has also participated in an event through Latinas Unidas. Mayra has been an honor roll student for three years and hopes to complete her senior year with a 4.0 GPA.
LUIS AGUIRRE Luis is the son of a very hardworking mother from Sinaloa, Mexico. Due to economic challenges, Luis and his mother moved back and forth from the United States to Mexico in the hopes of finding stability. Through their journey, Luis witnessed many struggles within his family. However, he overcame these experiences and now has a step-father who has been a mentor to him. Luis aspires to obtain a degree in Computer Science, possibly teaching at the high school or college levels. Luis also has a desire to help people and wishes to incorporate his love of computers in the fight against cybercrime.