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SDCOE Ceremony Honors Multilingual High School Scholars 

Local multilingual high school graduates with stellar academic achievement and tremendous aspirations were awarded scholarships recently and honored at ceremonies hosted by the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE).  

These 34 young people are passionate about making a difference in their world with future goals of becoming doctors, nurses, immigration lawyers and judges, educators, and accountants in order to support those in their communities who are in the process of acquiring English.  

“I understand that being bilingual is a remarkable advantage. I plan to obtain a PhD to help improve the practices of the education system. By being a teacher and biliterate, I plan to use my skills to help struggling students who speak one language by helping them excel academically because I understand the difficulty," shared Estefani Carrasco, who graduated from Vista High School and plans to attend UC San Diego. 

Many of the award recipients shared similar goals of using their bilingualism in their future professions to positively impact their community and become role models and mentors for the next generation. 

Each of these high-achieving students were recognized with a $1,000 scholarship from the Bea Gonzales Biliteracy fund or the California Association of Bilingual Educators (CABE) Chapter 65 by demonstrating their academic merit and crafting essays about their career goals. Three of this year’s scholarships were sponsored by Mission Federal Credit Union. 

The Bea Gonzales biliteracy scholarship, which is named in honor of a multilingual advocate and former SDCOE employee, is open to students countywide who obtain the Seal of Biliteracy from their school and district. The CABE 65 Scholarship is for high school students from National City, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, and San Ysidro. 

"Being biliterate and multilingual can be a powerful asset for learning and for life," said noted San Diego County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Gothold. "It is an honor to recognize these young people, who have dedicated themselves to the pursuit of excellence." 

2022 Bea Gonzales Biliteracy Scholars 

Metztli Carbajal 

  • Graduating Southwest High School 
  • Attending Stanford, Yale, or Columbia 
  • Goal/Major: Political Science; Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity 

Roberto Rivera Palacios 

  • Graduating University High School 
  • Attending University of Arizona - Tucson 
  • Goal/Major: Medicine with a Ph.D. in pediatrics 

Estefani Carrasco 

  • Graduating Vista High School 
  • Attending UC San Diego 
  • Goal/Major: Education 

Maritza Jazmin Santoyo 

  • Graduating Poway High School 
  • Attending San Diego State University 
  • Goal/Major: Criminology 

“I want to become an immigration lawyer. Speaking two languages will benefit my future clients because I will be able to fully translate legal documents into Spanish.” — Maritza Jazmin Santoyo

Alondra Melissa Cruz

  • Graduating University High School 
  • Still selecting among acceptances
  • Goal/Major: Criminology 

Anayelie Flor

  • Graduating Orange Glen High School 
  • Attending CSU San Marcos 
  • Goal/Major: Business administration

Itzel Monett Melchor 

  • Graduating Orange Glen High School 
  • Attending UC San Diego 
  • Goal/Major: Mathematics 

Alondra Vidals 

  • Graduating Orange Glen High School 
  • Attending CSU San Marcos 
  • Goal/Major: Education/teacher 

“I want to be a role model to students that dream big with many opportunities, which is why I am aiming towards being a bilingual teacher.” — Alondra Vidals

Frida Stephanie Ayala 

  • Graduating Sage Creek High School 
  • Attending UC Riverside or Irvine 
  • Goal/Major: Political acience, immigration lawyer 

Salma Lopez Barron 

  • Graduating San Marcos High School 
  • Attending San Diego State University 
  • Goal/Major: Kinesiology / physical therapist 

Ji In Song 

  • Graduating Mission Vista High School 
  • Still selecting among acceptances 
  • Goal/Major: Biology 

“As a multilingual person, I want to make the experience people have at a medical setting to be more accessible and comfortable. I would be able to use my knowledge in multiple languages to efficiently communicate with patients of all different backgrounds to be able to provide them care that they fully understand.” — Ji In Song

Vanessa Valentin 

  • Graduating San Marcos High School 
  • Attending CSU San Marcos 
  • Goal/Major: Spanish B.A. / educator 

Ana Karen Ojeda Robles 

  • Graduating Orange Glen High School 
  • Attending CSU San Marcos 
  • Goal/Major: Psychology working with autistic youth and families 

Anahi Martinez Perez 

  • Graduating Vista High School 
  • Attending CSU San Marcos / San Diego 
  • Goal/Major: Business administration 

Luis G. Castro 

  • Graduating University City High School 
  • Attending San Diego State University 
  • Goal/Major: Mechanical engineering 

“I've always been very proud of the fact I could speak two languages. The career I've chosen is mechanical engineering because I've always had a passion for automobiles. I want to work with the biggest companies in designing the future of automobiles.” — Luis G. Castro

Angela Hernandez 

  • Graduating San Pasqual High School 
  • Attending CSU San Marcos 
  • Goal/Major: Psychology 

Yareli Lizet Albina Bautista 

  • Graduating Fallbrook High School 
  • Attending University of Southern California or UC San Diego 
  • Goal/Major: Sociology 

Selena Chamu Martinez 

  • Graduating Orange Glen High School 
  • Attending Palomar Community College 
  • Goal/Major: Nursing 

“As a child I always dreamt of receiving my diploma as an obstetrician-gynecologist. I plan on becoming an amazing bilingual OBGYN that allows my future patients to express themselves in their native language while following up on the patient's pregnancies.” — Selena Chamu Martinez

 

2022 CABE65 Scholars 

Kiara Ortega 

  • Graduating Hilltop High School 
  • Attending CSU Los Angeles 
  • Goal/Major: Nursing 

Stephanie Pedroza 

  • Graduating Montgomery High School 
  • Attending UC San Diego 
  • Goal/Major: Business economics / mechanical engineering 

“As a proud Mexican American, I also consider myself as a global citizen. It is very important for me to speak and use my bilingual skills not only because I am a Latina, but because it is important for me to not only use these skills for my own advantage, but to possibly help others who, just like my parents, have language barriers." — Stephanie Pedroza

Andres Lopez 

  • Graduating Southwest High School 
  • Attending Southwestern College 
  • Goal/Major: Electrician engineer 

Izabella Vazquez 

  • Graduating Chula Vista High School 
  • Attending UC San Diego 
  • Long Term Goal/Major: Mathematics: statistics and probability; minor in music

Sofia Mathews 

  • Graduating Mar Vista High School 
  • Attending University of Nevada Reno 
  • Goal/Major: Nursing

Alyssa Gonzalez 

  • Graduating Olympian High School 
  • Attending UC San Diego 
  • Goal/Major: Field of architecture / urban planning

Yashaswi Kulshreshtha 

  • Graduating Hilltop High School 
  • Attending CSU San Marcos 
  • Goal/Major: Computer science and neuroscience

“Speaking two languages gives advantage to understand and experience diverse cultures, ideologies, perspectives and key values in the society. Bilingualism gives you an authentic experience of a culture. Having a wide spectrum of exposure to different thinking, beliefs and norms which can shape your personality and character which makes us more open-minded." — Yashaswi Kulshreshtha

Valeria Vazquez Santillan 

  • Graduating Castle Park 
  • Attending University of San Diego 
  • Goal/Major: Biology 

Johnella Ann Eltagonde 

  • Graduating Bayfront Charter High School 
  • Attending San Diego State University 
  • Goal/Major: Bachelor of science in nursing 

“We live in a world where everyone is connected whether through social media or any other platforms, therefore, being bilingual does not only give us an academic advantage, but it is also a tool that can help tremendously in a world where connecting and communicating with other people is a necessity.” — Johnella Ann Eltagonde

Kayla Innis 

  • Graduating Chula Vista Learning Community Charter School 
  • Attending UC Berkeley 
  • Goal/Major: Sociology 

Jennifer Lagos 

  • Graduating Sweetwater High School 
  • Attending California Baptist University 
  • Goal/Major: Psychology 

Azzeneth Lora Verdugo 

  • Graduating Otay Ranch High School 
  • Attending San Diego State University 
  • Goal/Major: Business administration 

Marissa Ramirez 

  • Graduating San Ysidro High School 
  • Attending UCLA 
  • Long Term Goal/Major: Cognitive science 

“Overall, being bilingual and knowing more than one language in this century is very beneficial since there is a lot of diversity and many languages flourish in our country.” — Marissa Ramirez

 

Mission Fed Credit Union Sponsored Scholars 

Itsarely P. Palma Castillo 

  • Graduating Fallbrook High School 
  • Attending CSU San Marcos 
  • Goal/Major: Accounting and Spanish 

“My degree in accounting and fluency in Spanish will allow me to give back to my community by coordinating bilingual financial workshops in community centers to discuss financial literacy, investing, budgeting and financial decision making.” — Itsarely P. Palma Castillo

Andrea Lopez 

  • Graduating Southwest High School 
  • Attending San Diego State University 
  • Goal/Major: Business administration 

Alicia Chamu 

  • Graduating Orange Glen High School 
  • Attending CSU Fullerton 
  • Goal/Major: Business administration 

“Becoming an entrepreneur and speaking two languages is something I thrive on because it means I can change things.” — Alicia Chamu

 


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