Oceanside CA— Juana Reyes has always believed the only way to improve and be successful in life is to have a good education. Reyes has faced numerous challenges including language, economic and cultural barriers since immigrating to the United States from Oaxaca, Mexico. In spite of it all, she has achieved great success in the classroom thanks to the great encouragement from faculty, staff and financial assistance from scholarships.
“I’m always in pursuit of a better future even with all the struggles that I have faced since I moved to the United States,” said Reyes. “Today, I am even more motivated and positive that I will be able to finish a higher education degree.”
Reyes is one of the hundreds of students who will be awarded with grants and scholarships totaling more than $370,000 at the 2016 MiraCosta College Annual Scholarship Award Celebration to be held May 21 at the college’s Oceanside Campus from 4-6 p.m. This year, the celebration will take place in the MiraCosta College Gymnasium (OC5000) to accommodate the more than 300 attendees consisting of students, donors and sponsors. Five of the colleges’ top students will receive the distinguished Medal of Honor award for academic and personal achievement.
A new and important aspect of this year’s celebration will be the chance for students to meet and get to know scholarship donors along with event sponsors in a fun, informal and festive atmosphere. For Reyes, the celebration allows her to meet and thank donors who have contributed to her educational success.
To help offset the cost of school, Reyes manages a part-time job and uses scholarships to buy materials needed for her classes. The financial assistance not only helps her concentrate on her studies, but also gives her a chance to volunteer for numerous on- and off-campus programs and participate in the Associated Student Government (ASG). In 2015-16, she served as the vice president of the Community Learning Center and in fall 2016, Reyes will serve as ASG president.
“I am really thankful for scholarships because I get to concentrate on school instead of always worrying about money,” said Reyes.
Another student who will be honored at the celebration is Alexis Castro. After graduating from high school in 2009, Castro went to Rabat, Morocco, to volunteer with Cross-Cultural Solutions. When she returned, she entered a relationship that later became abusive. A year and a half later, Castro found herself homeless and suffering from PTSD.
Needing to find a new purpose in life and security for her daughter, Castro enrolled at MiraCosta College, making her the first in her family to attend college.
“The scholarships I’ve earned at MiraCosta College have given me great encouragement to stay in school and stay focused,” said Castro. “Although I still have days when I wake up feeling discouraged, I know I have reasons and purpose to go to school.”
A social science major, Castro plans to transfer to Cal State University San Marcos in the near future.
Kitchell is this year’s premier sponsor of the annual event. The awards celebration will be emceed by Dr. Richard Robertson, who will retire on June 30 after 29 years of serving as vice president of Student Services at MiraCosta College.
To arrange an interview with a student, contact Cheryl Broom at 760.795.6612. To create a scholarship, contact Linda Fogerson at 760.795.6775.