Santa Paula Rotary helped to ensure the future of outstanding Santa Paula High School graduates when they awarded a record $18,000 in scholarships at a recent banquet.

$18K in Rotary Scholarships given to Cardinals

May 25, 2011
Santa Paula News

Santa Paula Rotary helped to ensure the future of outstanding Santa Paula High School graduates when they awarded a record $18,000 in scholarships at the recent banquet where a mighty red Cardinal, the school’s mascot, proudly stood atop each table.

Held at Logsdon’s at the Airport, the Scholarship Awards Dinner drew a full house of Rotarians, recipients, guests, school officials and proud family members. And that included those Moms who ranked highest when applicants were asked who had the most influence on them.

Donna Nelson & Up A Creek provided entertainment for the event that featured remarks from Santa Paula Union High School District Superintendent and Rotarian Dr. David Gomez and keynote speaker Steven Jump, also a member of the Rotary Club. President Paul Skeels offered the welcome and introduced Rotarian Elias Valdes, who commented on the proceedings and acted as master of ceremonies.

Skeels said Dr. Mike Tushla and Dr. Chris Bartelson have co-chaired the Scholarship Committee “year after year,” and David Stegman is known for being the “conscience of the program.”

Valdes said the award dinner represented a “celebration of your hard work, your teachers’ hard work and your parents’ hard work... and we just get to ride along!” Those who discover their passion, said Valdes, will also find their destiny; and he urged the students to pursue what they are passionate about.

Gomez said Rotary does much good for the community and the world and such service is an important component of personal success.

Featured speaker Jump, a 1987 SPHS graduate, is now an attorney who told students it’s not “what you did yesterday,” but “what you will do tomorrow” that expectations are based upon. He told of his own experiences growing up on Limoneira Ranch, being a high school scholar and then struggling to deal with life and his studies at UCLA. “Failing to plan is planning to fail,” and Jump said he took to heart the words by the legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden and “I started to get serious about my studies.”

But still not enough: although Jump graduated at the top of his class, then entered a prestigious law school, he equated taking the bar exam with hanging out at a bar to party with friends. That is until a professor wrote a stinging note that Jump soon viewed as a wakeup call, and once and for all concentrated on his studies and the investment others had made in his future.

A Rotary scholarship, Jump noted, is an investment in the future. “Although you might stumble and fall, I expect you to get back up” to reach the success scholarship recipients have already exhibited.

Tushla said the program, started in 1981, “has gotten bigger each year,” both with the number of applicants and the scholarship awards.

Skeels and Rotarian Maria Bombara helped with the award ceremony, including the first year a rose has also been given to recipients to pass on to their parent(s).

$500 Scholarships were awarded to Megan Munoz (Biology), Hailey McCarthy (Zoology) and Yvonne Guzman (Nursing).

$1,000 Scholarships were awarded to Fernando Ramirez (UCSB/History, 4.43 GPA0, Jolene Magana (UCLA, Pre-Med, 4.48 GPA), Yuliana Garcia (Chico State, Nursing), Emma Ruiz (UCLA, Psychology, 3.96 GPA), Jorge Navarro (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Political Science/Law, 4.27 GPA), Melissa Gwynn (UCSB, Psychology) and Jeremy Welch (Wilmington College, Animal Science).

$1,500 Scholarships were awarded to Jaymee McInerney (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Ag Science, 4.21 GPA), Humberto Diego (VCC-Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Environmental Engineering, 4.20 GPA) and Adrianna Nunez (UCSB, Physical Therapy/Sports Management, 4.45 GPA - she is also a noted athlete who played soccer on the Mexico National Team).

Two graduating seniors were awarded $2,500 Scholarships.

Talon Smith will be attending UC Berkeley studying Environmental/Civil Engineering. Ranked #4 in his class, Talon played varsity football and was involved in the Ag Academy and is interested in renewal energy.

Patricia Gomez will be attending the University of California Santa Barbara studying Mechanical Engineering. Involved in the Rotary Interact Club, Patricia ranks #1 in the Santa Paula High School Class of 2011 with a 4.59 GPA.

“I can’t tell you,” Skeels said following the awards ceremony, “how proud we are of each and everyone of you... and we’re also very proud of your parents who spent time grooming their kids for success.”

Ending the evening was the singing of the Santa Paula High School Alma Mater. And whether they had attended SPHS or not, everyone in the room was a proud Cardinal.

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