Almanac

Schools - July 13, 2011

Peninsula College Fund awards scholarships

by Caitlin Moyles

The Peninsula College Fund has awarded scholarships of $12,000 each to 15 high school seniors from East Palo Alto, east Menlo Park and Redwood City.

The fund aims to help minority students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds to attend college. It also provides winners with a mentor to assist them in securing summer jobs and internships throughout college, said Charles Schmuck, a Menlo Park resident and founder of PCF.

Although U.S. colleges and universities often award scholarships to minority students with grade point averages of 4.0 or above, PCF is geared toward minority students with grade point averages between 3.2 and 3.8, Mr. Schmuck said.

"The kids who qualify for PCF are generally overlooked," he said. He added that the winners are all first-generation college students.

PCF, which is primarily funded by individual donations, has awarded 52 scholarships since it was founded in 2005. This year's winners were chosen based on their transcript, a teacher recommendation, a recommendation written by someone who knows them outside the classroom, and an interview, Mr. Schmuck said.

The winners are: Dalia Angel and Karina Lira of East Palo Alto Academy; Bryan Duenas, Izamar Moya, Roshana Smith, and Ashley Washington of Eastside College Preparatory; Erica Balderrama and Liliana Guillen of Menlo-Atherton High School; Jessica Esquivel and Sefora Rios of Sequoia High School; Nazareth Diaz and Eric Ramirez of Summit Prep; and Ruby Gonzales, Patricia Peraza, and Keneisha Perry of Woodside High School.

The winners were recognized at an award ceremony at Sacred Heart Schools in Atherton.

Visit peninsulacollegefund.org for more information.

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