2020 Scholarship Recipients

Carlos Ariel Padilla Hernandez - Thurgood Marshall High School

Latino Club, La Raza, After School Job. Career Goal: Computer Science

Carlos was born in Honduras and came to the US due to gang violence. He is a super sweet young man with a positive and joyful spirit. He works after school and weekends to help his family. He has been living in here for three years, and even with the challenges he faces, he has the motivation to stay calm and focused on his college goals. He is well-liked by his peers and teachers alike. He is committed to helping his family and his community.

“Tuve que abandonar mis estudios en mi país, por las amenazas de la pandilla. Mis anhelos es de seguir adelante con mis estudios cumpliendo todas mis metas y sueños, dispuesto a siempre aprovechar cada oportunidad que se me presente al máximo. Así puedo ayudar a mi madre, que es la persona mas importante que tengo. Mi mayor deseo es ver una Honduras productiva, generadora de oportunidades.”

Daniel Delgado - June Jordan School For Equity

Seven Tepees, Seven Corps, Childcare Volunteer. Career Goal: Pharmaceutical Sciences

Daniel was born and raised in the Mission District and attended Bryant ES, Lick MS & Balboa HS. He is a leader who is empathetic to the struggles of his peers and community. He is strong, goal oriented, resilient and determined to succeed in the face of challenges. Daniel has spoken out against gentrification and is committed to promoting social justice, including enthusiastically volunteering his time on food drives, street clean ups, and other service projects. He has heart, something you can’t.

“I live in the Mission District with my mom and dad who are both from Mexico. I’ve lived in the same apartment my whole life. A challenge I have faced was the cops killing my brother when was I was a sophomore. I have struggled to stay focused; I am determined to succeed. My future hope is to be a pharmacy tech to help my community and my parents.”

Medicine and Sociology

Daniel E Castenada Garcia - Balboa High School

Football, Soccer, Teacher’s Assistant, La Raza Club. Career Goal: Civil Engineer

Daniel was born in El Salvador and came to this country when he was 15. He is a hardworking and responsible young man that is continuously thinking and analyzing and is full of potential and motivation. His father passed away when Daniel just a child, but he is determined to reach his goals. In spite of challenges, he does not hesitate to go after what he wants.

“I grew up around a very close family and from them learned my values and morals. School was a very difficult experience at the beginning, but now that I have learned English, I help others with their homework. One of my dreams is to design and build houses. I enjoy all my math and art classes. Sports and La Raza Club have helped me develop social/community engagement with my peers. Being part of my community is what inspires me to go to college.”

Criminal Justice

Danna Romero - Thurgood Marshall High School

Mission Graduates, Felton Institute, Muy thi

Danna was born in SF and attended Starr King ES then moved to Mexico and returned to finish high school here without her family. Although her childhood has been filed with economic and familial instability, including the death of her father when she was two, Danna is resilient, mature, dedicated and willing to take on challenges.

“I have to balance my dreams with my responsibility to my family. When my father died, my mom, older brother and I moved to Mexico, but my mom came back to work and my grandma took care of us. I want to be the first in my family to graduate from college, have a career, and be a role model for my younger siblings. I love giving back to my community. My responsibilities have given me independence, maturity, and perspective. The time separated from my family will be worth it when I earn my degree.”

Culinary Arts

Emely Cortez Figueroa - Lowell High School

Smart, SFO Paid Internship, Minorities United Club, Vice President


Emely was born in SF and attended Cesar Chavez ES & SF Friends. She is dedicated, compassionate and community-oriented. She stands out at school for her integrity and commitment to social justice. Her excellent bilingual skills have been crucial for her family because she interprets for them, including financial, legal and medical papers.

“My parents have motivated me to strengthen my academic skills so that I can be ready to face new challenges. My summer volunteer job helping elementary school students has inspired my career path of helping low-income, first-generation students. College will provide the opportunity for me to continue to support my community. I want to be a role model for students in my community and to help more students of color being scientists, lawyers or whatever career they pursue. I aim to break cycles placed upon low-income students of color.”


Erick Gonzalez Mejia - June Jordan School for Equity

Soccer, Team Captain, Youth Coach, Mission Graduates, Afterschool Job

Erick was born in SF and attended Monroe ES and ML King MS. He creates each of his experiences as moments and opportunities to learn. He is a role model and epitomizes an intuitive, observant, persistent, genuine and humble person. He steps up to help others and has led many school events, like “Día de los muertos.” His leadership at school has spilled over into the community.

“A word I learned early on in my life was gentrification. It was the deciding factor in our decision to move out. Due to the separation of my mother and father, I was unable to experience having both parents. I had to earn how to maintaining and accept a lot of things. I coach four teams with elementary students. My day starts at 5am and get home at about 9pm. Becoming an architect will allow me to build affordable housing for my community and leaving a positive mark.”

Gender & Women’s Studies

Fabiola Martinez - Mission High School

Environmental Traveling Companions, Awake Dreamers club, Oasis for Girls

Fabiola was born in El Salvador where she attended school. She is a standout student who is deeply caring and thoughtful. She connects genuinely and is supportive of her peers, with a gentle, positive attitude and laughter. Fabiola has faced great obstacles before and during her immigration but has overcome them and pushed ahead.

“At 15, my life began to get more difficult in El Salvador where I lived with my grandparents. I came to be reunited with my mom. In my school, I was one of those students who are quietly segregated and isolated because of language. Now I do everything I can to help others. In Immigrants Rising, we teach about our legal rights. I am very proud and enthusiastic about what I can do for others and graduating from college would allow me to serve more. I work very hard academically and also to support myself and my family financially.”

Computer Science

Gregorio Javier Cantarero - Mission High School

CCSF Volunteer, Band Class

Gregorio was born in El Salvador and came to the US to study and find a better life for his family, who was not able to immigrate. He is a very dedicated, motivated student with a strong work ethic and he is very respected among the other students. Although he has faced many challenges, he is determined to achieve his goals and strives for excellence in everything he does. Gregorio is an excellent musician puts his all into each activity he does.

“He tenido que afrontar muchas dificultades al llegar a este país solo, sin mi familia. Mi padre falleció el año pasado y eso fue ungolpe muy duro para me, pero pude sobrepasar y continuar mi camino en la educación. Me gustaría ser maestro, siento que es una  rofesión muy importante para la sociedad. Quisiera luchar contra la pobreza e injusticias que se comenten.”

Sociology and Education

Azmin Lopez - Wallenberg High School

Girls Varsity Soccer, Latinx Club, The Women’s Building

Jazmin was born in Guatemala and attended P Revere K-8. She is a resilient, intelligent and charismatic leader that wants to make a difference in he world around her. She has worked through seemingly insurmountable odds, but has never waivered in her commitment to improving herself and her community. As the oldest of five siblings, her parents rely on her responsible, intelligent, and industrious support.

“I am a 17 year old undocumented female who has been trying to break through barriers for most of my life. I joined a summer Advocacy Program against gender-based violence, which taught me to be a true advocate by granting me opportunities to speak to public officials. I feel privileged that I have found strength in my voice and I intend to become a public attorney because I want to help those, like my parents, who deserve freedom and opportunity.”


Jessica Yu Huang - The Academy High School

PODER, Feminist Club Co-President, Student Council President, Latinos Unidos

Jessica was born in Mexico and attended Vis Valley MS. She is enthusiastic, creative, insightful and dedicated to improving her community. As a multilingual, multicultural young woman, she is proud of her heritage. She helped plan and produce student-led assemblies for the entire school. Because Jessica is so open hearted, she easily brings people together to bridges barriers. Her determination, enthusiasm and adventurous spirit makes her able to work well with others makes her the kind of leader that our society needs.

“I am a young Asian-Latina who immigrated to SF 5 years ago. I understand that both sides of my identity deserve equal attention. I hope to influence youth that are facing similar struggles of multi-ethnicity. Through PODER I have learned to defend immigrant families’ rights, environmental, economic justice and fight against gentrification…what it means to give back to my community.”

Biology, Chicano Studies

Jose Benjamin Gavidia Urias - SF International High School

YC, Soccer, After School Job

Benjamin grew up in El Salvador and came to the US with his mother when he was 13 seeking asylum. They struggle financially, but he is a very gifted student, an analytical thinker, and he loves school. Benjamin’s incredible resilience has helped him through very difficult times. He is strong and dedicated enough to always find the courage to move forward in school and in life.

“I thought of dropping out of school because I felt hopeless but I decided it wasn’t going to be that way. I want to achieve my dreams and make my parents proud. After all the challenges I’ve faced, I’ve always wanted to become a professional and help my community. I enjoy helping kids in my school and to be there for people who need it. I want to gather enough resources to help young people to create change in our community.”

Medicine, Ethnic Studies, Criminology

Jose Eduardo Marin Alas - Mission High School

SF College Access, Teacher Assistant

Jose was born in El Salvador and came to the US three years ago. He is here without his parents and works to support himself and send money home. He is a dedicated, hardworking and collaborative student. Jose is a critical thinker, quickly grasps difficult concepts and can re-teach them to his peers. He doesn’t study for a grade, but for the sake of learning. One of his dreams is to support his family and community back home.

“I grew up in a small community where people work hard to get a better life. But we lived in unsafe conditions. My grandmother died in 2016 from a stray bullet. She was a big part of my life and she was shot because I was a part of a volunteer organization that helps boys not get involved in gangs. I’m going to work hard to help my family and my community have a better life”


Joselinne Mariela Bamaca Perez - Thurgood Marshall High School

Sports, After School Job

Joselinne was born in Guatemala and came to the US at age 15. She is very focused and calm with a respectful, honest and positive attitude. She is willing to take risks, accept challenges, and does not give up on anything she wants to accomplish. Joselinne is very motivated and able to accomplish anything she sets her mind.

“Soy una joven latina que vivía con mis abuelos y hermanos. Venir a este país y alejarme de mi familia a sido el reto mas grande. Tuve que tomar la decisión de venir a encontrarme con mis padres a los cuales no veía por mucho tiempo. Tengo que estudiar y trabajar para ayudar a mi familia. Tengo la esperanza de que llegaré a ser una enfermera y sentirme orgullosa de que puedo ayudar a mi comunidad brindándoles mi ayuda y ser servicial en todo lo que.”

Sociology, Psychology, Ethnic Studies

Jorge A Barrera - Lincoln High School

ELAC, YMCA, Lincoln Ambassadors, Latinx Club

Jorge was born in Mexico and came to this country when he was 15. He is dedicated to everything he does and is a compassionate leader. He lives with an uncle and his little brother. His dream is to become an engineer so he can support his family and be a role model. Jorge is a motivated, resilient and inspirational young man who helps other students. He has faced many challenges, which he has been able to overcome.

“Through advocating for English Learners like me, I became a leader and discovered my passion. My responsibility is to guide newcomers in school. From my experiences, I discovered the importance of leadership and compassion. I found the bravery to stand up for what is right and to give a voice to unheard students. I want to set an example for my younger brother and my community. Although life is difficult, you can.”

Nurse Midwife

Josue Cifuentes - Burton High School

Mission Bit, Community Service, UCSF Early Academic Program

Josue was born in Guatemala and came to SF 3 years ago to live with his parents. He is committed to make a difference in his community. He takes initiative and makes tremendous efforts to support his peers. He is a leader with great drive and has shown the ability to adapt to any environment. In spite of many challenges, he is resilient and makes no excuses. At a meeting with professors at UCSF, he took the leadership to ask questions that would model to his peers that thy can also succeed.

“I lived with my grandparents in Guatemala. Crossing a country by yourself is not easy. Sometimes I didn’t have food and the hardest thing was crossing the river. My goal is to realize my full potential. I want to make my family proud of me and take care of.”

Cognitive Sciences

Karol Jocelyn Peña - SF International High School

Basketball, Elementary Teacher’s Assistant, 2020 Team

Karol was born in El Salvador and came to SF in 2016 to escape violence and with the hope of improving herself and achieving her dreams. She is the mother of a 4 year old and lives with her mother. Karol has grown academically and also socio-emotionally to become a strong and compassionate leader. Her responsibilities include being a student, a mother, a provider for the family and a role model for her younger sister. She stays determined and focused on her goals.

“In my short life, I have experienced many challenges that have turned me into the strong and independent young woman I am today. I want to build a better future for myself and my family. Once I achieve my goal of becoming a businesswoman, I hope to start a program for young mothers to empower them to obtain higher.”

Computer Science

Larissa Veronica Chacon Hernandez - Mission High School

OLE Coordinator, Grupo Latino Danza y Cultura, Immigrants Rising Founder, JCYC

Lari was born in El Salvador and came to the US at 12 years old. At Mission she has grown into an incredibly strong leader and advocate, professionally and intellectually, for herself, her peers and community. Lari is a team player that is flexible, creative and learns from constructive criticism. She was the president and then the event coordinator of OLE, which danced (including Lari) at last year’s LATA Scholarship Dinner Dance Celebration.

“La familia y la educación es lo mas importante como base fundamental. Me duele hablar de la discriminación que he sufrido, pero aun con mis problemas y barreras de lenguaje, me propuse seguir adelante y mejorar la historia de mi comunidad. Me encanta ayudar y participar en rallys, protesta, o eventos en los cuales pueda luchar para ver sonrisas y emociones felices al sentir una conexión a nuestra historia y vida. ¡Sí se puede!”

Child Development, Elementary Teacher

Angel Alejandro Chavez - Balboa High School

Soccer, Track, School Office Volunteer, Bayview Community Volunteer

Angel was born in SF and attended A.F Yu ES and Rooftop K.8. He takes his Mexican heritage seriously and has a collection of Mexican art. He is planning and pursuing his goals for the future. He’s interested in civil or mechanical engineering, and architecture. Angel is dedicated to helping his community. He has worked as a baker’s Assistant, participated in a culinary arts program in the Baview and volunteered at several community events like Black History Night.

“As a Chicano, I plan on inspiring other Latinos to reach their educational goals. Despite having a learning difference, I still demonstrate my hard work and perseverance. Although I’m still not sure which career path I want to take, I look forward to being able to work in different environments after college. Often Latinos are underrepresented in academic fields, I want to prove, to myself, and the rest of the world that stereotypes are inaccurate.”

Ashley Tercero Perez - SF International High School

Captain: Soccer and Volleyball, Assistant Teacher, 2nd Grade. Career Goal: School Counselor

Ashley was born in SF but as a baby went to live with her father in Guatemala and returned at 16 years old. It was a challenge for her to learn English, but she attended after school programs and worked hard to achieve her goals. Ashley is talented, highly capable, responsible and flexible. She works after school to pay for her living expenses and help her family in Guatemala. No matter the challenges, she maintains a possible attitude.

“My biggest challenge was to leave my dad because I was used to being with him. I would like to help young people who just come to the US; to inspire them to achieve their dreams. My motivation to go to college is my dad because I would like to help him with his basic needs. I want all my nieces and nephews to go to college and help them in the future.”

Betzabe Herrera - Licona Mission High School

Student Delegate SFUSD Board Of Ed, Peer Resources, Seven Tepees, PODER. Career Goal: Education & Ethnic Studies

Betzy (as she is known in her family and community) was born in Mexico and started at Mission Education Center-MEC, then went on to Alvarado ES & Aptos MS. She is a phenomenal person who always speaks truth to power. She is deeply aware of herself and unafraid to speak honestly about her challenges and what she needs to overcome them, while always putting herself in front to serve the community. Betzy takes on real issue such as wealth inequality, racism and xenophobia. She has humility and always leads with love.

“Arriving to new country was a difficult transition for us and being an undocumented youth in America, has been a significant challenge. Through PODER, I have protested against luxury apartment buildings that have displaced many local residents. After college I want to work with youth in my community and become a role model for the next generation.”

Camila Martinez Perez - KIPP SF

Volleyball Captain, College Track, United Playaz. Career Goal: Veterinarian, Business

Camila was born in Mexico and attended MEC & GJ Lau ES. She has resilience and surrounds herself with friends that serve as each other’s support. She has been a vital support to her classmates and is dedicated to her academics. In spite of many challenges, Camila has grown to be a strong, independent young woman. She embodies determination, hard work, maturity, self-awareness and positivity, not only because of her academic strength, but because of her character.

“We’ve faced many challenges throughout the years, but we’ve gotten through them. I’m very outgoing and get very involved in activities. Learning to speak English was the hardest part, but I didn’t let it get me down; I used it as a motivation. In the future, I want to give back, not only to my parents, but my community because they have done so much for me.”