With nearly a year of virtual learning under their belt, the graduating class of 2021 proved how determined they are to not let any obstacles get in the way of their dreams. If anything, it taught them how precious time can be and the importance in pursuing a meaningful life. Though the process can feel a little less personal over a video call, it did not detract the emotion from the stories of the students we interviewed throughout the entire scholarship review process. Multiple scholarship committees collaborated to ensure an equitable process which resulted in $1,351,917 awarded to 121 local students, a 30% increase from 2020.
We are so thankful to all of our donors who stepped up this year to help us award more than we ever have in years past. The past year was a challenging one for all of us, but we’d be remiss to not highlight some of the seniors who are more than deserving of these scholarships and undoubtedly will become future leaders…
Dillon Kane of Truckee High School received an Alpine Winter Foundation Scholarship, Mrs. Katherine Beallo Scholarship, PAX House Scholarship, Tahoe Sierra Board of Realtors Scholarship, and an anonymous TTCF scholarship. Dillon has demonstrated extreme resilience undergoing more than 10 surgeries since he was four years old, with more to come in the future. Despite all of this, he selflessly puts the concerns of his family and others above his own, always earning the unparalleled respect of his physicians. He shares his passion for football with younger kids by volunteering as a coach and mentor, and is also on the snowboarding team. He is a friend to all he meets and a natural leader. Dillon will be attending San Diego State University for one year then entering USC’s Trojan Transfer program to pursue business.
Stephanie Sarabia of Truckee High School received the Tahoe Donner Impact Scholarship and the Martis Camp Ambition Scholarship. Staying busy and working hard are a common thread throughout Stephanie’s daily routine. In addition to her extracurricular activities (Link Crew, Model UN, Athletes Committed, volleyball and softball), she has worked to help pay the bills in her household and save up for college; except for her first paycheck which she used to buy gifts for her family. Stephanie immersed herself in our community through activities such as Truckee’s Strong Town Meetings, La Fuerza Latina, coaching softball, spearheading the Library Night of Ideas, Trunk or Treat, and serving as a student ambassador for the Truckee Donner Land Trust. She is a first generation college student and will pursue business or public relations at UC Riverside.
Joshua Fonseca of Sierra High Continuation School received the Jackson Ferree Scholarship. Joshua has always been known for his positive attitude and attributes his volunteer work with the Humane Society to the person he has grown to be. He has expanded his knowledge by discovering diverse topics to learn more about and wants to focus on reducing the stigma around mental health to help others. He is an empath with the ability to uplift presence among his fellow students. Joshua is a first generation student and will be attending Sierra College majoring in Holistic Health Solutions.
Madeline Hopwood of North Tahoe High School was awarded the Elenita Sullivan Memorial Scholarship and the Martis Camp Foundation: Stepping Stone Scholarship. At age 17, during the COVID-19 health crisis, Madeline enlisted in the Army and attended boot camp in South Carolina. Despite being both the youngest and only female in her unit, she quickly became a leader. For the past seven years, she has volunteered in the Alpine Meadows Ski Resort’s First Aid Clinic and hopes to be a combat evacuation aeromedical flight nurse. Madeline further impressed the scholarship committee with a campaign she developed during the pandemic around properly disposing of face masks to protect wildlife. Additionally she is a cheerleader, softball and varsity football player, and participates in jazz band, wind ensemble and symphonic band. Madeline will be attending UC Davis in the fall.
Jairo Cadena of Truckee High School received the Tahoe Donner Impact Scholarship. Jairo has always had a curiosity about how things work and has developed a useful hobby out of fixing smartphones and cars. Additionally, he works at Mountain Hardware and for his parents’ housekeeping company. In his spare time, he likes to play soccer and has taken on a leadership role as a referee. Jairo has volunteered the past few years setting up for the graduation ceremony because he wanted it to be special for the graduates- now, it’s his turn. Jairo is a first generation student and is enrolled in University of Nevada’s engineering program.
Taya Matt of Truckee High School received the Marcy Trieb Olson Women in Finance Scholarship to help kickstart her newfound passion for a business career as a corporate lawyer. She participated in Link Crew, Athletes Committed, Hope Squad, Young Life and was the Captain of her soccer team. Taya has always been a perfectionist but her experience as a nanny to three small children, especially through a pandemic, has taught her to adapt to the unexpected. Taya will be attending Newberry College to play soccer in addition to her pre-law studies.
Cole McGeorge of Truckee High was awarded the Coach Ellis Memorial Scholarship, PAX House Scholarship and Truckee Sanitary District Environmental Leadership Scholarship. He has demonstrated leadership and development skills through his roles as a math tutor and baseball coach. Additionally he is a blacksmith and welder apprentice, and a mandolin, guitar and bass player. He has always taken an interest in finance by investing and managing his own IRA and other brokerage accounts. Cole will be attending the University of California San Diego and studying astrophysics and aerospace engineering, with the goal of becoming part of NASA’s ARES space debris team.
Victoria Martin of North Tahoe High School was awarded the Tahoe Donner Impact Scholarship. Victoria has shown exceptional leadership as both a volleyball coach and varsity captain, school leadership ASB vice president, Latina Pride Club, and started Spread the Love Club to promote body positivity. She also cultivated a new “Covid hobby” of painting. Despite once being below grade level in reading, Victoria has pushed herself to excel as an avid reader and has used that determination to influence the children she tutors. Victoria will be attending Dominican University of California with a declared major of Education Studies because she wants to be one of the reasons her future students love school.
While we have been fortunate to grow our scholarship funds these past few years, there is always more financial need than our awards can cover. Please consider donating to one of our scholarship funds or consider starting your own to make a big impact on the lives of our youth.