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Inspire California announces 2021 scholarship recipients
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Inspire California announces 2021 scholarship recipients

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From left to right: Dulce Avila, Gabby Reyes, Jasmine  have been named Inspire California's 2021 Margaret Ordonez Legacy Scholarship recipients.

HANFORD —  Inspire California recently announced the organization’s 2021 Margaret Ordonez Legacy Scholarship recipients.

Inspire California is a community based 501(c)3 nonprofit which provides Central Valley high school and college students with free college readiness resources, college campus tours and professional development opportunities.

The 2021 Margaret Ordonez Legacy Scholarship is the first scholarship opportunity Inspire will be offering for Central Valley high school and college students. The Margaret Ordonez Legacy Scholarship commemorates the legacy of lifelong Central Valley native Margaret Briano Ordonez who was born in Hanford, California and passed away on July 21, 2020 at the age of 93.

Ordonez was a product of the Central Valley public education system and attended Hanford High School. To assist her family financially, Ordonez left high school before graduating and began working as a farm worker for the next 20 years. In 1964, Ordonez decided she would continue her education and enrolled herself in a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) program at the age of 40.

Ordonez dedicated her remaining working years to serving her community as a health care profession. Ordonez worked at Hanford Community Medical Center for the majority of her medical career before her retirement.

The Margaret Ordonez Legacy Scholarship is open to Central Valley high school and college students who are children of farm workers, are interested in pursuing a medical career and have expressed a strong interest in returning to the Central Valley to provide health care services.

Inspire California Founder and Central Valley native Aaron Brieno told the Hanford Sentinel, “Inspire California is really excited to begin offering college scholarships to Central Valley high school and college students. This year were able to select three phenomenal local high school graduates for our inaugural Margaret Ordonez Legacy Scholarship. This year’s outstanding recipients have demonstrated a strong commitment to improving their Central Valley community, academic excellence, and a desire to return to the Central Valley as a health care professional. Gabriela Reyes, Jasmine Arenas, and Dulce Diaz all embody the qualities exhibited by the late Margaret Ordonez and Inspire California is excited to help them reach their aspirations.”

Gabriela Reyes a 2020, Hanford High graduate and is a current freshman at the University of California, Merced. Gabriela is currently pursuing her degree in Chemical Sciences and at the conclusion of her undergraduate studies she would like to attend Medical School so she can become a pediatrician. Upon her completion of Medical School Gabriela would like to return to the Central Valley and complete her residency working for Valley Children’s Hospital.

“As a first-generation college student navigating the college application process it has been incredibly difficult finding information and understanding what steps I should be taking. After joining Inspire California I realized I wasn’t alone. There were many other kids my age that were going through similar experiences. Inspire California has turned into my safe place and knowing I have mentors that I can rely on, available almost any time of day, was amazing,” said Reyes.

Reyes said, “My mom has played a major role in helping me get to where I am. She has supported my siblings and I with financial and emotional support. My mom came to the U.S. as an immigrant at a very young age and immediately went to work in the fields as a farm worker. When I ask what she wants as a gift on special days all she says is that the only thing she wants is the gift of seeing my siblings and myself succeed.”

Jasmine Arenas is a 2020 Hanford West graduate and current Fresno State freshmen who is studying to become a nurse practitioner. “Helping others has always been something that I value very much and it’s something I consider my passion. Being a student participant in Inspire California has helped me grow in different ways and I am glad to now be leading positive change within my community,” said Arenas.

“Inspire California has helped inspire me to achieve my goals of providing assistance within my community. As I continue to further my education, I plan on making healthcare more accessible and seek to provide health care access to the Central Valley’s most vulnerable communities. I aspire on becoming a mentor for future students who are exploring the nursing field.”

Dulce Diaz Avila, is a 2020 Hanford West graduate and current Fresno State freshmen pursuing her undergraduate degree in Communicative Disorders. After completing her undergraduate studies Dulce plans on applying to graduate school on a pathway to eventually become a Speech-Language Pathologist. Diaz Avila says, “my main goal is to give back to my community, I eventually want to come back to Hanford and work with patients who have a wide variety of communicative disorder needs.”

“Being a first-generation college student is tough because you don’t really know what to expect, nor do you know about all the resources available. Obtaining a higher education is important to me and family because I know the sacrifices my parents made in order for me to even have the opportunity to attend a four-year university. Not only do I owe a college degree to myself, but I also owe it to my parents, they have supported me every step of the way.”

“Inspire California is excited to begin offering college scholarships and we hope to expand the scholarship opportunities our nonprofit can provide Central Valley high school and college students moving forward,” said Brieno.

Should you have any questions about future Inspire California scholarship opportunities or if you would like to donate to future scholarship opportunities, please reach out to Aaron Brieno at a_brieno@u.pacific.edu

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