Westands Water District Awards Agricultural Scholarships

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

Gayle Holman

Gayle Holman, Westlands Water District

As part of their educational outreach to the community to raise awareness about agricultural issues and to reward exceptional academic achievement and leadership, the Westlands Water District awarded six scholarships to local high school graduates who are on their way to college. Gayle Holman, public affairs representative for the district, offered some insight about the scholarship application process.

“We go out to each of the six area high schools each year,” said Holman. “We provide them with information, the application, and instructions, and they provide us with an essay on an agricultural-related topic, letters of reference and their transcripts by our deadline. We work with the guidance counselors at each of the schools to make sure those materials are received,” she added.

“A scholarship review committee goes through the applications and selects one person per school based on their academic performance, school activities and community leadership,” Holman said. “Each award recipient is an incredibly highly motivated student, who, we are hopeful, will take that education, bring it back, and apply it to their community in the future,” she said.

Tom Birmingham, general manager of the Westlands Water District noted, “Westlands is honored to provide this assistance for these outstanding student leaders. These scholarships represent a small gesture of thanks and support to the communities on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley that make our region such a productive and vibrant place.”

Holman continued, “Each scholarship recipient will receive $1,000 to be used for community college or university expenses. In addition, many local elected offices will send them congratulatory letters, or certificates. This really emphasizes to the students how important their academic endeavors are.” 

The 2016 scholarship recipients are:
Kristina Raulino, a Lemoore High School graduating honors student who plans to attend West Hills Community College to pursue a degree in Psychology,  has been actively involved in tennis and the Future Farmers of America and has served as the Club Secretary for the California Scholarship Federation.
Jonathan Sanchez, a Riverdale High School graduate who will attend California Polytechnic State University to pursue a degree in Agricultural Engineering, has received awards for honor roll and student of the month, and is heavily involved in soccer, cross country, baseball and football. Additionally, he is a member of the California Scholarship Federation and AVID.
Delaney Walker, a graduating senior from Coalinga High School, will attend University of California, Los Angeles to pursue a degree in Education/English. She has been actively involved in basketball and tennis and received awards for honor roll and mock trial. She is also a member of the California Scholarship Federation.
Jonathan Guzman, a graduate of Tranquillity High School, plans to attend the University of California, Irvine to pursue a degree in Business and Finance. He is an honors student actively involved in football and basketball and has received awards for bi-literacy and the Principal’s Honor Roll for all four high school years.
Savannah Rodriguez, a graduating honors student at Mendota High School, plans to attend University of California, Santa Cruz to pursue a degree in Feminist Studies. She has been involved in softball and badminton and received awards for perfect attendance, leadership and MESA.
Fatima Gamino, a Firebaugh High School graduate, will attend University of California, Merced to pursue a degree in Chemical Sciences. She has received several awards including Senior of the Month, Top Academic Athlete and Superintendent’s List. Additionally, she has been involved in the Spanish Club, cross country and Academic Decathlon.