2018 SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS
REEDLEY HIGH SCHOOL
MARIA CINTHIA ACOSTA
“I come from a low-income family of farm workers. Currently, the only one who is working is my mother because my father is no longer able to work due to stage 3 kidney cancer. I have learned from my mother that with hard work and determination everything is possible, that I should never quit, and to keep my goal in mind. I have been a teacher assistant, and it makes my heart feel warm whenever I help others. I am majoring in Special Education and will pursue a Master’s degree at Fresno State.”
“It wasn’t easy growing up with parents working in the fields. I vividly remember Parent’s Day at school with everyone’s mom and dad at school except for mine and seeing empty chairs in the spots for my parents. As I got older I understood their jobs more and began to see that it was harder than I thought. I remember every day that my dad would ask me to bring his sandals. I changed his shoes for him as a kind gesture to show my appreciation for every day that he wears himself out to maintain his family. Seeing my parents so worn out took a toll on me and I prayed to God to give them the strength and relief they deserve.” Cynthia has been accepted to UC, Santa Cruz and will major in Biology.
SAMUEL JR. ESCARENO
“My dad has worked unbelievably hard to allow me and my siblings to have a shelter over our heads, clothes on our body, and a place to call home. My dad is a farm worker and works in a packing house. When he leaves for work in the morning, it is usually 4:00 AM. Some nights he stays at work for overtime and we won’t see him for two to three days. My mom works just as hard as my dad. Like my dad she inspires me to be kind, caring, hardworking, and respectful. They are the reason I strive to have good grades.” Samuel earned a 3.92 GPA and will major in Business Administration at Hibert College in New York.
Leydy yasmin garcia
“I understand what it is like to be raised with two amazing hard working parents. They wake up at 4:00 in the morning and work in the scorching sun in the summer and in icy cold weather in the winter until five in the afternoon six days a week. I see how they come home in need of rest and very hungry. Working in the fields is dangerous because the farmers use chemicals that put laborers at risk. I will be a first generation student to attend college in my family.” Leydy will attend Reedley Community College and major in Child Development.
IGNACIO GORDILLO HERREJON
“My mom and dad had to go through hardships in order to maintain our family. My dad got a job as a field worker to earn enough money to support a family of seven. As a child, I would sometimes hear my parents’ conversation that the money that my dad earned from working barely gave him enough money to maintain us and to pay the rent. My mom worked in a packing house where she had a night shift and came home tired, slept 4 hours, then woke up to take us to school." Ignacio will enroll at Cal State Fresno. Ignacio earned a 3.90 GPA in high school and is pursuing a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, and then a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential.
Although I come from a low income family, my parents always provided my siblings and me the basic necessities in life- shelter and food. My father has incredible determination and a will power that continues to inspire me as I grow into adulthood. However, it’s hard to strengthen our relationship because he is not always around due to his job. During the cherry season I only see my dad once a week. He has to work long hours and even weekends sometimes, which means sacrificing the time with his family. As I’ve gotten older I understand and appreciate his hard work.” Elidet earned a 3.92 GPA in high school and will pursue Business at California State University, Fresno.
“Seeing how hard my parents work in the fields every day to make sure my siblings and me have all the necessities is truly inspiring. My parents have to wake up super early and go to work, even when it’s very hot. When I was younger my mom would work for long hours in a packing house and I would hardly see her. Realizing how hard they work to give me and my siblings all we need is amazing. Their hard work and dedication is admirable and has influenced me to always push myself and challenge myself in school.” Jasmine earned a 4.0 GPA. She applied at UC’s and is majoring in Biology.
“My father currently works in the fields and has been working since he was 15 years old. I have always admired my parents for working so hard. Most summers I work picking grapes to help my parents with money and have realized that it is not any easy job; work starts at dawn and ends almost in the evening. It was always tough being the oldest sibling because my parents did not speak English, so helping me with homework was impossible. The truth is that many people believe that I will just continue the cycle by dropping out of college and going to work, but I am determined to make my parents proud and finish college.” Geselle will attend California State University, Sacramento and major in Criminal Justice.
“Finances have been one of my family’s biggest struggles. Fancy toys and cell phones were the least of our worries. Having a food on the table and a roof over our heads was most important; and I am eternally grateful to have never suffered in those areas. Another challenge my parents had to face was sacrificing their medical needs. Farm work does not come with paid time off or any meaningful benefits, meaning their health was never put first. After leaving farm work my mom had to have brain surgery. My dad would have to take her to constant appointments out of town which meant they both missed work. Also, she currently suffers with a skin condition she will live with the rest of her life from exposure to harsh chemicals on her skin. Over the years, the exposure to fertilizers and farming chemicals has also affected my dad’s lungs and breathing. He has undergone three surgeries which have failed, but he continues to push through in order to provide for us and make a better future than they had.“ Julissa will attend California State University, Fresno and major in Management Construction.
“My dad says he will help pay for me to attend college, but it really saddens me since he works as a farm worker and hardly gets money. He has other children he needs to care after, and adding a portion of my college tuition will only worsen our financial status. I know it will hurt my family financially since we barely get by now. However, I hope in the future I’ll have my own classroom and teach students that they can accomplish their dreams.” Rosa will attend California State University, Fresno and major in Liberal Arts to pursue education.
ROSA HERREJON PEREZ
“My siblings and I have seen the sacrifices that our parents have done for us. I know what it feels like to see your parents struggle. They come from work exhausted and sometimes dripping with sweat, and most of the time their clothes are dirty from working in the land. I know what it is like to see your parents without energy, while they are still trying to give you the best of them because they want the best of you. When I see how tired my parents come from work, I realize that I want a better future not only for me, but for them too. I want to give back to them what they have given me. They are examples of hard work, determination, and perseverance. I want to follow their example.” Rosa will be attending Reedley Community College and majoring in Kinesiology.
“My parents had a car accident while coming to the United States looking for a better future. Since then my father has been disabled. I have seen my mother struggle to bring home the money necessary for a stable life. At the beginning my mother worked in the field which is a really hard job. Because farm workers labor in extreme heat she started getting really bad headaches so the doctor gave her migraine pills. Then she decided to work in a packing house. Even then, when the weather was extremely hot, she would come home sick vomiting and with headaches. I hope to accomplish a lot in the next years of my college career and become an Ultrasound Technician.” Cindy will pursue her career at Reedley Community college.
MIREYA LOPEZ ZAVALA
“My father has been a farm worker since he was 18 years old. He had to support a family of five members working in the field while we were in Mexico. Although my parents have not been physically with me all the time, they have supported and motivated me. I have been working in the fields, in restaurants, and other places of work to save for college. That way I could help my father with my school because he is the only one who works and supports the family. This scholarship will help to continue my education and realize my dreams. ” Mireya will attend Reedley Community College and major in Natural Resources, Agriculture.
MADERA HIGH SCHOOL
JOSELIN GOMEZ-DE LEON
“My dad has had to work in the fields his whole life since he was nine because my grandfather passed away. Since he was the oldest, he had to work in order to provide for his siblings. My mom has not been able to work for a few years due to health problems. With my mom not being able to work and my dad being a farm worker, money is very limited. My oldest sister dropped out of high school her senior year and my other sister went to a community college for one semester but dropped out to help pay bills. Due to these reasons I want to make sure I graduate from high school and go to college.” Joselin plans to attend Fresno Pacific University and become an elementary teacher.
“Growing up I remember seeing my parents wake up very early to go to work. The kitchen lights would be turned on and my mom would be cooking. Then, around five in the morning I’d hear a car beeping and instantly know that my dad’s raitero (ride) is here. After eight long hours of work, my dad usually eats, showers, and goes straight to bed groaning in pain. Even though I know it won’t help much, I’d still offer to massage his back and legs. I see the way they have to suffer in the fields through extreme hot or cold weathers, with short lunch breaks, bathroom breaks, and the hustle they put in every surco (row). I understand our financial problems so I try not to ask for things. Seeing how my parents struggle every month to pay the rent and bills motivates me to pursue higher education.” Yulisa dreams of being a nurse and will attend California State University, Fresno.
Maribel Herrera Franco
“Throughout my life money has always been a big factor. My father has always worked in the fields and my mom in a food company to be able to maintain and just put food on the table for my siblings and me. My father found he has heart issues and my mother diabetes. However, later in life my father found a better job as a tractor driver. Even though my father is very hard working, always putting in more hours than others, his income isn’t good. Due to her illness my mom stays home to cook and clean the house. This is my motivation.” Maribel’s major is Fashion Merchandising and hopes to attend Academy of Art University.
“I am a first generation, the oldest of three siblings, and we’re being raised by a single parent, my mother. My mother is a field worker and always tries to give us what we need. During my days off from school I go to work in the fields to be able to buy myself items I need and help with house bills. We are a low income family so it can be tough sometimes to afford items we need on a regular bases. To be able to live in these conditions is very tough and brings many challenges. Even though my life has had suffering and challenges, it has molded me to become a better person and take responsibilities to reach higher education so I can help my siblings and other students.” Jose aspires to be a Civil Engineer and attend Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.
“At the age of 12 I began picking grapes. Unfortunately, working in the fields is no longer an option for me. Instead, it is something I will have to endure because I no longer have either of my parents with me. My dad passed away and my mom is in Mexico unable to come back. My sister had to give up her dream of attending college to take care of me and my young siblings. I know if I want to go to college I will have to cover all the expenses. For that reason I will continue to work in the fields until I earn enough money to attend college. It is very difficult, but I will not stop because I am very dedicated and passionate about going to college. The struggles I have faced have only pushed me harder to reach my dreams. I also want to make my mom proud of the person I have become and if I could see her one more time I would thank her for all her sacrifices. I just want to say that I still have so much more to offer and hopefully with your help I can make my dreams a reality.” Griselda earned a 4.17 GPA and has been accepted at UC, Merced and is majoring in Chemistry or History.
“I am the oldest of five children. Growing up my parents put a great emphasis on doing well in school. They have always wanted to make sure I understood that an education is not something to be taken for granted. My father attended elementary and my mom some high school. Because of this my father has had to work in the fields his whole life. Since my father is the only one that works, at times it is hard to make enough money. My parents are the reason why I have always done well in school and have always pushed myself to get the best grades.” Karla has a 4.06 and will be majoring in Liberal Arts at California State University, Fresno.
RUTH MEJIA MARTINEZ
“My earliest memories as a child are of me seating in the living room in front of the TV watching cartoons. In those memories I can still picture my dad walking in from work, looking very tired, and with his clothes covered in dirt. Today he still comes home very late, but his hair shows streaks of silver and wrinkles are appearing in his face. Ever since he was 16 years old he began working in the fields to provide for his brothers and sisters since his own father died when he was only 12. Now he supports his six daughters. As the youngest, I have seen him work hard always making sure we had food on the table and a roof over our heads. In school, I have always tried my best to make my parents proud.” Ruth has earned a 3.83 while taking Honors and AP classes. Ruth will attend California State University, Chico and major in Accounting.
Veronica Mendez Garcia
“I began working in the fields at the age of 12 picking blueberries with my mother and all my siblings. That summer my mother said I may not go back to school if they allowed me to work. That broke my heart because school was and is very important to me. Ever since that summer I’ve been working every day that there is no school. The experience of working in the fields has taught me many lessons. I understand the hard work it takes; it’s a heavy job that requires not only strength, but the will to stand it. I experienced the want to drink water, but not drinking because it will take away money from my paycheck. I’ve seen my mom under a scourging sun not take her breaks so she could earn a little more. I’ve seen my brother work seven days a week to make ends meet.” Veronica’s major is History or Psychology at Fresno Pacific University.
“My experience growing up in a farm working family was being left with a babysitter while my parents were working in the fields twelve hours every day to provide for us. To this day my father still works in the fields to pay bills and put food on the table. I saw my parents working in the fields and coming home tired, sunburned, and in pain, but that never stopped them from providing for my sister and me. This persuades me to work harder in school.” Edwin will be attending Madera Center Community College.
SANTA TERESA MORALES
“The first job opportunity my dad came across in the fields was picking peaches all day. I remember hearing a loud van beeping over and over at 4:00am; it was my dad’s ride to work. That day I sat on the steps of a house in which we only rented one room. I was patiently waiting for him to come home, it was late, and I did not want to eat without him. The clock turned 7:00pm and I started to worry, then he finally came. He looked exhausted and dirty, his face burned from the sun, and his boots were completely covered in dirt, but I was just happy that he came home safe, so I ran to him. Every day after that, he came home looking the same, sometimes even worse, so I would get his clothes ready so that when he went to take a shower his clean clothes would already be there. No matter how tired he was, he always smiled and I would ask, ‘?Como le fue hoy, pa?’ (How was your day, Dad) and he would answer, ‘Muy bien princesa.’, even if it really wasn’t.” Teresa has a 4.36 GPA and will major in Business either at California University, Merced.
“The career I want to go into is either law enforcement or business. In business I want to produce pistachios. My parents and I work in the fields and I know a lot about the product. The other reason, I want to be a different kind of boss. I know most bosses in the fields do not have compassion and do not care about the workers. I want to be different. I want to give the employees lunch breaks; I also want to be open to listening to my workers and making it more of a team effort. I also want to make sure that my workers earn a good salary for their hard work tending the crops in the fields. This scholarship will help me attend college and pursue my goals and dreams.” Almaneli will attend Fresno Community College.
“I am from Mexico and both of my parents are Mixtecos. Mixteco is my first language and I learned Spanish when I started school. At age 16 my grandmother passed away and I no longer had anyone to take care of me, so my mother decided to bring me to the United States. My mother works in the fields to support us, and I work with her during the summer and weekends. My mother only finished third grade and left school to work. I want to attend college because I see education as an opportunity to find a good paying job. Because my family does not have the resources to support my education, any scholarships that I receive would be of great help.” Josefa wants to be a Spanish teacher and will attend Madera Center Community College.
“With my parents encouraging words and stories of them sacrificing everything they had to give up to help improve not only their family really means a lot to me. To give up your family and go to another country you do not know, not even the language, takes a lot of courage. Even though my parents aren’t anything close to the jobs most parents have, I’m still proud of them. Because I know that being a farm worker is an important part of keeping the economy going. Farm workers are hardworking people who without them we wouldn’t be able to have our fresh fruit and vegetables in our local supermarkets.” Nancy will major in Sociology at UC, Merced.
“By pursuing higher education I will be able to end my dad’s endless cycle of work and give my family and myself a better life. My dad left school at 7 years of age to work, then later came to America to give his children a better life, only to be stuck in the same job for 30 years. A job others look down on without realizing there’s very few jobs for him and other farm workers. The biggest thank you I can give him is a better life so that in the end of all his tiresome days spent doing aching work – from 4 in the morning to late in the afternoon, six days a week - there will be worth something more than a shattered dream. He can finally see the dream he had for a better life come true through the children he sacrificed everything for then and now.” Galilea earned a 4.2 and will major in English at California State University, Fresno or UC, Merced.
“I remember the sadness I felt every time my mom left me with a babysitter. It would be around four in the morning when she would get ready to go to work in the fields. And I remember many times when my mom would barely have enough money to feed us both. Seeing how hard my mom works has inspired me to work even harder, and her work is my motivation to achieve a higher education. I am using the opportunities I’m given like applying to scholarships and working in the fields in the blazing summers with my mom. I want to be able to get my mom out of the place where we live where in the winter the water is as cold as ice and the there’s no heater during the winter nights. Instead of thinking that I’m unfortunate, I see everything I’ve been through as a push. A push closer to the world I dream of living in, where I can stand up and be prouder of where I have come from.” Yulissa earned a 4.13 GPA and will major in History at UC, Berkeley.