West Hills College to welcome more than 100 President's Scholars to local campus in fall

From West Hills College

More than 100 incoming President’s Scholars have registered for classes that start in August, the highest number in program history.

“With college costs rising, the offer of free tuition and $250 a semester for books for four semesters provides an opportunity for many students to attend the first two years of college at almost no cost,” said Frances Squire, executive director of the WHC Foundation.

To qualify for the program, students must graduate from a California high school with a 3.5 or higher grade point average and California Scholarship Federation eligibility.  All qualified students are accepted.

"This is one of a very few comprehensive scholarship programs in the state or even the nation,” said Squire.  “Most scholarship programs are limited in the number of scholarships that they offer, but at West Hills, we are committed to making sure that all top students have the opportunity to attend the first two years of college with very little, if any, out-of-pocket expense, especially if they live at home.”

The President’s Scholars program is growing each year, with this incoming class the largest yet. Last year, the program enrolled 94 students compared to 56 for the 2012-2013 academic year. The incoming class in fall 2007 had 23 students.

About one third of the students in the program graduate from Hanford high schools, another third are from Lemoore High School and the remainder are from Coalinga and other rural communities in the area including Avenal, Riverdale, Corcoran, Laton, Mendota, Tranquillity, Firebaugh and Kerman.

Mark and Derek Borba, partners for Borba Farms Partners in Riverdale, are sponsors of the President’s Scholars program. They recently made a $10,000 contribution.

"Education is critical for not only personal successes, but for enhancing the quality of our Valley communities,” said Mark Borba. “Retaining the best and brightest is important for our area, and I believe that West Hills increasingly exposes students to not only their individual potentials, but allows them the opportunities to understand that they can individually succeed in the Valley, and that Valley opportunities abound for them upon graduation."

Most of the students in the program transfer to Fresno State or Fresno Pacific, Squire said, but the list of transfer institutions varies, including most of the University of California campuses and colleges from Florida to Oregon.

Some of the major sponsors include Pepsi, EECU, AP Architects, PG&E and Chevron. The Brian and Dixie Welborn Estate also sponsors the program.

“Like Mark Borba, our donors understand the importance of an educated workforce in our region,” said Squire. “This program wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of those sponsoring the program.”

Students accepted as President’s Scholars for the fall, pending final transcripts, include the following:

From Avenal: Oscar Castanos, Gabriela Contreras, Antonio Gervacio, Gisell Gomez, Alondra Guzman, Jose Magallan, Jacqueline Ornelas, Marisol Pacheco, Jesus Perez, Amanda Piere, Fernando Ponce, Jose Pulido, Sergio Ramirez and Margarita Ramos.

Alexa Sperling from Buchanan, Yvonne Anaya from Cal Virtual Academy and Saidee Espinoza from Cesar Chavez were also accepted.

From Coalinga: Kimberly Aguilera, Katie Avila, Jordan Ayala, Clarissa Caposino, Alyssa D’Artenay, Dominic Delano, John Desfosses, David Echeagaray, Fernando Escandon, Kole Griffin, Bernice Lopez, Alexa Maes, Sarah Martinez, Aaron Morris, Bianca Pena, Cristina Rojas, Julian Romo, Daneira Ruiz, Alan Villegas, Mackenzie Walker, Rafael Ybarra, Jr., and Anthony Zataray.

Dustin McBride from Corcoran, Brian Lawton from Crossroads Charter, Anmoldeep Dhaliwal and Joshua Johansson from Faith Christian were accepted along with Danyelle Jones from Kerman, Alix Clarke from Kingsburg, Evan Bakker from Immanuel-Reedly and Esther Bucher and Abby King from Immanuel.

From Hanford: Marlene Anaya, Evelyn Carrillo, Logan Champlin, Samantha Haley, Hannah Hilyard, Maricruz Martinez, Christian Mattos, Madelyn Ponce and Karina Rubio. From Hanford West: Emily Dixon, Efy Hernandez, Tayler Olivas and Kara Scambia.

From Kings Christian: Riley Bennet, Jason Coplin and Kyle Smith.

From Lemoore: Jose Ibarra, Richard James, Jazmyn Lemus Martinez, Gabrielle Martinez, Jonathan Mullane, Sarah Robb and Kody Steen. Claudia Connors was also accepted from Lemoore Middle College High School.

Kayla Witte was accepted from Mount Whitney-Visalia along with Itzamary Tirado and Mathew Villar from Mendota. Kimberly Alfors was accepted from Selma, Codie McKeighen from Sierra-Prather and Korey Domingos from Sierra Pacific in Hanford.

From Riverdale: Rennee Avalos, Brandon Carreiro, Marisol Cervantes, Rocio Rodriguez.

From Sierra Pacific: Jose Guillen, Jonathan Maravilla, Sean Perez, Samantha Smith and McKenna Vanderziel. Brenda Ramirez was accepted from Tranquillity.

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