KINGSBURG – Kingsburg High School graduate Yaritza Hernandez earned the 2018 Dr. Tom Crow Distinguished Student Scholarship and was recognized at a Sept. 12 Reedley College Scholarship Reception and Awards Ceremony.
The scholarship is awarded to only one student each year from the entire State Center Community College District student population of more than 40,000 students.
Hernandez originally planned to attend University of California, Santa Cruz, upon graduation but after having severe mini strokes she was hospitalized and later diagnosed with Moyamoya disease. The illness causes blood flow to the brain to be restricted as the walls of the carotid arteries thicken and the arteries narrow. The disease typically affects children and adolescents. To alleviate problems caused by the disease, she had bypass surgery in her head to help the blood flow.
After a long recovery, Hernandez enrolled at Reedley College where she is currently a Pete P. Peters honors student majoring in English.
In her time at the school, Hernandez has led tutoring groups for her honors political science class, assisted the college’s Literary Arts Club, was a member of the Green Club, served as a tutor in the Reading and Writing Center and worked as student aide in the library. Her writing has appeared the college’s literary publication “Symmetry” and in the Reading and Writing Center’s newsletter “Paper Jam.”
Spring 2018 is Hernandez’s last at Reedley College, and she plans to transfer to Columbia University in New York. “I want to get into book publishing,” she said.
David Borofka is one of her English instructors who praised her abilities and maturity as a student.
“Yaritza Hernandez is that rare commodity: a community college student who could have easily gone to any of the finest four-year universities in the country,” Borofka said. “As a reader of literature, her insights are acute and finely nuanced. Her observations are rendered in a prose that is as well-crafted as that of a much older writer.”
Hernandez was in two of Kate Watts’ classes. “She is fairly quiet in class because she is shy, but she overcomes this with effort,” Watts said. “She always asks questions about what she does not understand. She never misses class. Her finished writing is almost flawless.”
The scholarship Hernandez earned is given in honor Dr. Crow who is a former Reedley College president and SCCCD chancellor. It is awarded to a student who has academic excellence, outstanding leadership and service to the district and community.