SALINAS VALLEY — California Rodeo Salinas has awarded $30,000 in scholarships this year — a record for the Rodeo Association — to local students, several of whom are from South Monterey County.
“The Rodeo Association’s generosity will impact these students’ lives, and they will in turn come back to their communities and become great leaders and contributors,” said Kelly McCarthy Sutherland, chair of the California Rodeo Salinas Scholarship Advisory Committee. “Each one of these students is a super-star, and we can hardly wait to see what they do when they finish school.”
California Rodeo Salinas has offered scholarships for the past 36 years. The program has expanded considerably in the past two years, growing from scholarships being offered only via Hartnell College to an additional program through the Community Foundation for Monterey County (CFMC).
Students who are attending or graduating from Hartnell may apply for the Hartnell College scholarship, and the CFMC scholarship allows students who are California Rodeo Salinas committee members or related to committee members to apply.
Scholarship funds may be used to attend any college or other post-high school education program, including trade school.
This year a total of seven scholarships were awarded, three of which went to students from South Monterey County: Katya Hernandez Trejo and Natasha Perez each received a scholarship via Hartnell College, and Kyras Headley was awarded a CFMC scholarship.
Trejo, 20, is a graduate of Greenfield High School and Hartnell College. She is transferring to Fresno State University and majoring in agricultural education with plans to become a high school agriculture teacher.
“This scholarship encourages her to pursue the journey of higher education,” according to the Rodeo in a news release. “She will be the first person in her family to graduate from college.”
Perez, 18, a Soledad resident, graduated from North Salinas High School and is attending Hartnell College this fall. She plans to transfer to University of California to major in bio-medicine to become a pediatric surgeon, all while continuing to support her community through volunteer services.
“This scholarship proves to her that hard work and dedication pays off,” the Rodeo said.
Headley, 20, of King City, will be attending Chico State University this fall to earn a degree in plant science, with plans to return to the Salinas Valley to work in the agricultural community. He has volunteered on the Carnival Committee the past four years during the Special Kids Carnival and was active in Future Farmers of America while in high school.
“He is thankful that this scholarship will help him further his educational goals,” the Rodeo said.
Other Hartnell College recipients were Adam Garcia of Salinas and Erin Hoffman of Prunedale, while Joseph DaSilva of Salinas and Katherine Hodges of Salinas rounded out the CFMC recipients this year.