First published in the June 24 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.
Nine high school graduates living in South Pasadena were recently awarded scholarships totaling $8,000 by the Vecinos de South Pasadena, the city’s Latinx cultural and educational support organization, at the group’s meeting.
The scholarship awards ranged from $500 to $1,500.
“We received a larger than usual number of applications from well-qualified students this year,” said Janna Philpot, president of Vecinos de South Pasadena. “The judges decided to give many awards because we want to recognize and celebrate as many of them as possible. They’ve already achieved much, and we are honored to partner with them as they continue their academic pursuits.”
The nine awardees were:
Emilly Albornoz, who will be a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she plans to major in mechanical engineering and minor in music performance, with an emphasis on acoustics. At South Pasadena High School, she volunteered with the Boys & Girls Club, where she tutored low-income students, and started a pen-pal club through AbilityFirst for disabled kids and teens. She is interested in the intersection of music and physics in designing hearing aids, concert halls and classrooms.
Julieta Frias, who is headed for the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she plans to major in political science or education. She was vice president of the SPHS Latinx Student Union, which she and her friends organized to raise funds and launch programs to help others. As part of principles of education, she worked in a 2nd grade classroom, learned about learning disabilities and helped students with math.
Sofia Farmarco, who will go to University of California, Davis, as an English major, was the Latinx Student Union social-media manager for two years and participated in the Youth Latinx Leadership Conference. She may pursue a double major in Spanish and become a published author of novels, screenplays or other forms of creative writing, while keeping open the option of being a teacher.
Carolina Garavito, who is headed for Pasadena City College to major in music industry and business and plans to continue her studies either at the University of Southern California, New York University or the Berklee College of Music. She has been a Latinx Student Union member since it was founded. Her goal is to work as a musician, producer, composer of film scores or entertainment lawyer in the music industry, which she calls her true calling.
Emily Garcia, who will enroll at Oregon State University-Cascades and major in art. At SPHS, she was Art Club president and created a diverse art environment with people of different ethnicities. She also studied studio art at Ryman Arts, designed custom art pieces, and developed an interest in being an architect, which will enable her to combine her interest in art and math and inspire others.
Tony Rodz, who will enroll at New York University as a nursing major. An original member of the Latinx Student Union, he was involved in a wide range of activities, including doing research on health-care needs of Latinx and Black communities, academic coach for AP Spanish and Culture, and working at La Monarca Bakery. Combining his knowledge of Spanish and Japanese, he plans on becoming a Latin-Asian nurse.
Samuel Salseda, who will enter Brown University as a biomedical engineering major. At Loyola High School, he worked with the Los Angeles County Hispanic Managers Association to increase funding for scholarships for low-income Latinx students and tutor other students in math and physics. He hopes to include Latinx studies and philosophy in his college studies as he prepares for a career in medicine or medical engineering.
Lulu Talesnick López, who is headed for UC Berkeley as an undeclared major. She is a co-founder of the SPHS Anti-Bias Club, competed in volleyball, and was active in drama. A fighter for diversity and inclusivity, she advocated for a Black Lives Matter mural. She plans to use her education and experience to continue her advocacy for unity, inclusion and equity.
Diego Williams, who will enroll at the University of Chicago as a math major. Among his high school activities was serving as a volunteer for Program for Torture Victims, assisting asylum seekers and refugees arriving in the United States, many from Latin America. He plans to study math because it is a good challenge that requires complete understanding to approach and solve a problem.