I am a proud graduate of San Ysidro High School, a school located less than four miles from the U.S. / Mexico border. Ever since I can remember school was a place of refuge for me; a place where I could escape the uncertainty and instability of my home life. In high school I immersed myself in as many clubs, sports, and programs as I could, anything to keep me in school surrounded by friends, teachers, and coaches who cared about me and were invested in my future. When I was sixteen, I learned I was pregnant and one of my immediate fears was that they would push me out and force me to attend an alternative school. My life was changing fast, soon I would be a mother and responsible for another human being that school and learning seemed to be the one thing I could control so I immersed myself even further into my studies with the hope of giving us both a better future. My experiences as a former teen mother and first generation high school and college graduate taught me the importance of having people in your life who believe in you and who are willing to support you even when the path ahead is unclear. Although I was sixteen and pregnant, my teachers, counselor, and principal, Mr. Espinoza, did not give up on me. My friends didn’t give up on me. More importantly, my family didn’t give on me. My community believed in me and by extension in my daughter. In the spirit of all the people who believed in me, I too believe in the next generation of San Ysidro Rising Scholars.
In 2021, with the support of over 160 donors and former classmates, we established the San Ysidro Rising Scholar Award, a scholarship geared towards first generation, college bound students of color from San Ysidro High School. In our inaugural year, we raised over $10,000 and awarded three scholarships in the amount of $2,000 each. In 2022, we awarded an additional two scholarships in the amount of $2,000. In addition to the financial support, students are paired with a SYHS alumni mentor who can help guide their journey to and through college.
In 2021, we selected three Latine/Latinx scholars as the recipients of the inaugural San Ysidro Rising Scholar Award: Kimberly Gonzalez-Zelaya (Stanford University), Jacqueline Jimenez-Ayala (University of California, San Diego) and Brianna Martinez (University of California, Berkeley). In 2022, we awarded two additional scholarships to Marissa Ramirez (University of California, Los Angeles) and Angel Eduardo Ramirez (San Diego State University). To learn more about the San Ysidro Rising Scholar Award and our Rising Scholars, click on recipients.
If you’re a SYHS senior and are interested in applying, please be sure to look over the eligibility requirements and start meeting with your counselor early. The 2023-2024 application cycle will open in April of 2023.
If you’re interested in making a financial contribution towards the scholarship, please use one of the following methods:
Paypal: @RisingScholarAward or firstname.lastname@example.org