Home / Community / Don Diego Will Award $65,000 in College Scholarships to 27 Outstanding Students Countywide

Don Diego Will Award $65,000 in College Scholarships to 27 Outstanding Students Countywide

Deadline to apply is March 20, 2017

San Diego County CA— The Don Diego Scholarship Foundation will offer a record total of a whopping $65,000 in 2017 college scholarships to 27 outstanding students who reside in San Diego County and have participated in the San Diego County Fair and/or other activities associated with the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

This 2017 program of substantially increased monetary awards and recipients marks a major expansion for Don Diego, which began in 1986 providing $1,000 scholarships to three students. In 2016, 12 students shared a total of $40,500 in scholarships.

The deadline to apply is March 20, 2017. Finalist interviews will take place in May. Recipients will be honored at the exclusive Don Diego Gala to be held during the 2017 San Diego County Fair. Each recipient also will receive a personalized Legacy Brick to be installed at the Don Diego Legacy Brick Fountain at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

Depending upon the category in which a student applies (one category per student), eligibility is open to high school seniors planning to attend a two- or four-year college; in the Employee category, also to students currently enrolled in college (details below).

Full eligibility requirements and applications are at www.dondiegoscholarship.org. Please direct questions to Executive Director Chana Mannen at cmannen@sdfair.com.

Scholarships of $5,000, $2,500, $1,500 (new!) and $1,000 will be awarded in each of four categories: 4-H, FFA, Employee and Exhibitor/Participant. The $10,000 in FFA scholarships are provided through the generosity of the Walter J. and Betty C. Zable Foundation. The $10,000 in Exhibitor/Participant scholarships are provided through the generosity of the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation.

Two 2,500 Vocational/Technical scholarships will be awarded to students who intend to pursue a vocational education curriculum at a community college or accredited trade school, with the goal of obtaining an AA/AS degree or certificate.

New this year, the Foundation will administer what is now known as Don Diego Junior Livestock Auction scholarships for participants in the Fair’s junior livestock auction. One $5,000, one $2,500, one $1,500 and six $1,000 scholarships will be awarded.

The coveted $5,000 Spanjian Family Scholarship honoring the “father” of Don Diego, Bob Spanjian, will be awarded to the most outstanding of the top $5,000 applicants.

For categories other than Employee, applicants must be high school seniors graduating in Spring 2017. New this year, applicants in the Employee category may also be currently enrolled in college. This change accommodates Fairgrounds employers who often prefer to hire employees who are at least 18 years of age.

An overview of Don Diego’s 2017 scholarship program and a feature on top 2016 recipient, Yessica Vargas Navarro, will air throughout February on “Oceanside Spectrum” hosted by Elaine Swann on KOCT TV and on-demand at www.koct.org.

Don Diego Board Chair Jon Liss states, “As we proudly begin our fourth decade of honoring our region’s agricultural roots and nurturing future leaders who emanate from a wide array of backgrounds, our Board is delighted to partner with exceptional fellow nonprofits like the Rancho Santa Fe and Zable Foundations. Together, we share a passion for enhancing the lives of youth and the quality of life in our community. Through these organizations’ largesse and the continuing robust support of our growing base of donors, we have been able to dramatically increase the number and monetary amount of scholarships. We believe we are making a significant impact.”

Liss adds, “We eagerly look forward to receiving applications from dozens of remarkable students around San Diego County.”

The Don Diego Scholarship Foundation was named for Don Diego, AKA Tom Hernandez, who served as the Fair’s welcoming goodwill ambassador from 1947-1984.

To date since its inception in 1986, the Foundation has awarded approximately $797,000 in scholarships to 177 students and in agriculture education grants. More information is at www.dondiegoscholarship.org and www.facebook.com/DonDiegoScholarship.