CAWG Foundation Awards $30,000 in Student Scholarships

The California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) Foundation has awarded $30,000 in college scholarships to nine students. The scholarships are awarded annually to students whose parent or legal guardian is employed by a California wine grape grower.

“We are excited about the amazing students we honored with scholarships this year,” said Steve Heringer, chair of the CAWG Foundation board of directors. “Each of our scholarship award winners has shown tremendous focus, tenacity and accomplishment in pursuit of their educational goals. The CAWG Foundation is pleased to help these inspirational young adults reach their academic dreams and believes they can accomplish great things for themselves, their families and communities in the future.”

Each year the CAWG Foundation board selects at least seven recipients from high schools throughout the state. Scholarship selection is based on scholastic ability, financial need, community involvement, leadership and a 500-word essay. Since the program’s inception in 1998, the foundation has awarded $433,000 in scholarships. Funds are raised through the generous donations of members of the California Association of Winegrape Growers and the California wine community.

The four-year scholarships are $8,000 each for students attending a University of California or California State University campus. An additional $4,000 scholarship was awarded this year to a high-caliber applicant. The two-year college scholarships are $2,000 each for students attending a California community college.

The Robert Miller Memorial Scholarship was created by the family of Bob Miller, a California wine industry leader who helped establish the Central Coast as a leading wine grape growing region. The scholarship invests in the future of Central Coast students who plan to study viticulture or enology at either Allan Hancock College or Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and pursue a career in the region’s wine grape industry. This year, scholarships were awarded to two Cal Poly-bound students.

2018 CAWG FOUNDATION SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS

Four-Year University Scholarship Recipients / $8,000 each

Juan Rosa Guardado, Firebaugh, Firebaugh High School

Liliana Villeda, Tulare, Tulare Western High School

Four-Year University Scholarship Recipient / $4,000

Nancy Gonzalez Andrade, Cloverdale, Geyserville New Tech Academy

Two-Year Community College Scholarship Recipients / $2,000 each

Gloria Ramirez Barrera, Yuba City, Yuba City High School

Luis Herrera, Ione, Argonaut High School

Yuri Terrones, San Andreas, Calaveras High School

Mariana Albor Villagomez, Santa Rosa, Analy High School

Robert Miller Memorial Scholarship Recipients / $1,000 each

Samantha Grisaffi, Arroyo Grande, Arroyo Grande High School

Chloe Kline, Modesto, Thomas Downey High School

ABOUT THE RECIPIENTS

Below are excerpts from the students’ essays and letters of recommendation:

Juan Rosa Guardado, Firebaugh, Firebaugh High School

Juan and his family moved to the U.S. from El Salvador to obtain a better standard of living. Financial and other difficulties did not deter his enthusiasm to learn and desire to excel. He worked diligently to succeed – taking nearly every AP class offered – and is now ranked No. 1 in his class with a 4.4 GPA. Juan is a member of the Academic Decathlon, California Scholarship Federation and FFA, and he volunteers for a migrant program that assists families. “Juan’s abilities and dedication as a student leave me no doubt about his ability to succeed at any college he should choose to attend,” his teacher wrote. Juan plans to attend UC Merced and major in computer science and engineering with a minor in business. “I aspire to achieve my goals and to share my success with my community despite the economic difficulties I will have to conquer,” Juan wrote.

Liliana Villeda, Tulare, Tulare Western High School

Liliana is the daughter of Mexican immigrant field workers who faced financial hardship. Life’s circumstances propelled her to go above and beyond academically and surpass intellectual expectations. Liliana has a 4.4 GPA, is ranked No. 1 in her class and has received numerous academic and FFA awards. Over the past four years she been an active member of FFA, a California Scholarship Federation member and a volunteer for numerous organizations. She has balanced school and extracurricular activities with a job throughout high school. “Liliana will use her education to build a successful life for herself, but also to build up her community,” her teacher wrote. Liliana plans to attend UCLA and major in human biology (pre-medicine). “I would be extremely grateful if awarded this money because it would prove that hard work, dedication and dreaming big ultimately pay off,” Liliana wrote.

Nancy Gonzalez Andrade, Cloverdale, Geyserville New Tech Academy

Nancy has seen how her immigrant parents have worked hard, struggled financially, handled a serious health issue and made sacrifices for the family. She has developed a strong desire to persevere and succeed – for herself and her family. Nancy is a straight-A student who is actively involved with the California Scholarship Federation, student council, MEChA, the school newspaper and yearbook, and sports. She also participates in the Upward Bound Program at Sonoma State University and as a volunteer for the Boys & Girls Club. “Nancy’s personal strengths are as impressive as her intellectual accomplishments,” her teacher wrote. Nancy would like to attend UC Davis, major in neuroscience and explore a career as a psychiatrist or neurologist. “Attending college will help me expand my academic knowledge, gain new experiences, set a positive example for my younger sisters and make my parents proud,” Nancy wrote.

Gloria Ramirez Barrera, Yuba City, Yuba City High School

Gloria was three years old when her family moved from Mexico to the United States. She was always taught that education is a gateway to success. Since a young age she has applied herself academically and has worked hard for the past four years to be on the honor roll. Gloria is involved in the Spanish Honor Society and MEChA, a student organization through which she volunteers in her community. She has held a job in agriculture for the past year to help save for college. “It is evident that Gloria cares deeply and is committed to all she sets her mind to,” her school counselor wrote. Gloria became interested in a science-related career in seventh grade. She plans to attend Yuba College, transfer to Chico State to major in biology, and become a forensic scientist. “Attending college is truly something I feel passionate about and hope to achieve,” Gloria wrote.

Luis Herrera, Ione, Argonaut High School

Luis is an ambitious and well-rounded student who has taken advantage of many opportunities in and outside of school. A 4-year honor roll student, he has been a member of the Art Club, Catholic Club and Link Crew, which helps freshmen feel more welcome at school. Luis volunteers as a school office assistant and at his church. In addition, he played recreational soccer for many years and participated on cross country and track teams. “Luis is a reliable, courteous and hard-working student. He is most deserving of this scholarship opportunity,” his teacher wrote. Luis has also gained real-world experience working for vineyard operations. His goals are to become an aircraft mechanic in the Air Force Reserves and pursue a college education. “I am aware of the opportunities that await me…as well as the hours of studying and hard work in order to achieve my goals, and I am proud to say I am ready,” Luis wrote.

Yuri Terrones, San Andreas, Calaveras High School

Yuri is constantly trying to improve herself with extracurricular activities, academics or volunteering at her church’s bible school. She has been actively involved in FFA for four years – raising sheep, attending conferences and achieving degrees and awards. One of her biggest accomplishments is that she qualified to receive her California State FFA degree, which requires over 500 hours of project work. “Yuri has set goals for herself, and I know without a doubt that she will achieve them,” her teacher wrote. Yuri’s parents did not have the opportunity to attend college and thus faced struggles in their personal and professional lives. So, she understands the value of education and intends to pursue a career in cosmetology and interior design. “For me and my family, it would be an honor to attend Butte Community College and be one step closer to my dreams,” she wrote.

Mariana Albor Villagomez, Santa Rosa, Analy High School

Mariana did not speak English when she moved to the U.S. four years ago. But since then, she has embraced academics and volunteering in her community. She volunteers for the Work Ready Program, as a math and English tutor, and as the president of her high school’s MEChA club. “Her commitment to her community and her academic success has made her a role model,” Mariana’s teacher wrote. She is now the only one in her family who has the chance to pursue higher education. Mariana’s goal is to attend Santa Rosa Junior College, transfer to Sonoma State University and eventually become a Spanish teacher. “I want to continue my education to become an inspiration to the Latino community and other Latino students who may have the same struggles as me,” Mariana wrote.

Samantha Grisaffi, Arroyo Grande, Arroyo Grande High School

Samantha has demonstrated a strong work ethic balancing school, volunteer activities and a job. She credits her parents for showing her that with hard work comes success. Samantha has maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout high school while showing her leadership through Link Crew and the LGBTQ+ Club. She also donates blood as a way to give back to those in need. “I find it very inspiring to see a young adult so focused on life in order to become the best she can be,” her school librarian wrote. Samantha plans to attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, major in wine and viticulture, and someday work at a winery and grow grapes. “I am passionate about the field of wine and viticulture because of the many different processes to grow and transform grapes into wine. This scholarship will help with…pursuing my dreams in this field of study,” Samantha wrote.

Chloe Kline, Modesto, Thomas Downey High School

Chloe has shown resilience despite her family enduring setbacks with employment and a house fire. She has remained focused on academics, sports, activities and volunteerism. A scholar athlete, Chloe has maintained a high GPA while participating on the water polo and swim teams the past four years. She also serves as an assistant coach for the girls’ swim team. Chloe is a member of the California Scholarship Federation, Blue Crew Club and other school clubs, and she volunteers in her community. “I have no doubt that whatever she ends up doing she will bring her intelligence and passion into the work,” her teacher wrote. Chloe has been accepted into Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s wine and viticulture program and wants to continue her family’s farming history by pursuing a career at a Central Coast winery. “My community and school helped me discover my passion for agriculture and leadership,” Chloe wrote.

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