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 Scholarships Help JCCS Students Reach Their Goals

Scholarships, student performances, and raising money for local students were the themes of the Dollars for Scholars scholarship ceremony last week, where 15 students received scholarships worth a total of $10,000.

Each scholarship recipient received an award ranging from $500 to $1000 to help with college or career training.

"I'll prove to others and to myself that I'll do something with my life," said Christopher Toriz, recipient of the Gypsie Merrill-Alice Harper Memorial Scholarship and former Juvenile Court and Community Schools (JCCS) student. "I want to study architecture and engineering and someday design and build my own home."

Dollars for Scholars is a locally funded scholarship program that supports graduates and GED completers from the San Diego County Office of Education's Juvenile Court and Community Schools to attend college and train for their future.

"These kids have worked hard to graduate from high school; for most this was not a given," said Stephanie Johnston, local Dollars for Scholars board president and organizer of the event. "These scholarships will help our students move onto the next phase in their lives—college and career."    

JCCS serves about 2,300 students on any given day. These "at-risk" students include homeless teens, youth in foster care, and young adults with special circumstances.

"Education for us is revolutionary," Gabrielle Hines said after receiving the John and Voncille Wilbert Foundation Scholarship Award. "I want to continue to be a means to change our community and to be a role model."

The JCCS Dollars for Scholars Foundation provides a way for students to continue their education after high school. Since 1986, the foundation has granted awards to more than 600 students. Award recipients have received a combined total of more than $110,000.

The event also raised more than $2,000 for future JCCS student scholarships. Event sponsors included Mission Federal Credit Union, Association of Educators, and County Office Management Education Team.

If you are interested in sponsoring a JCCS student to attend college or career training, please email or call SDCOE Support Services Supervisor, Stephanie Johnston at or 619-233-2794 for more information.