Stories from Scholarship Recipients

Each year, SVCF awards more than 500 scholarships for high school, community college and university students. Learn more about some of these recipients through their stories:

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Matthew Edwards

Matthew EdwardsUniversity of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine, Class of 2020
Recipient of the 2018 Dr. James L. Hutchinson and Evelyn Ribbs Hutchinson Medical School Scholarship

The Dr. James L. Hutchinson and Evelyn Ribbs Hutchinson Medical School Scholarship was established by Dr. and Mrs. Hutchinson to assist young people who aspire to attend medical school and to recognize students who demonstrate excellence in both character and academic achievement from San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. Matthew is a dedicated graduate student who embodies this scholarship. As a child of a single mother, he became interested in science and health when he recognized the health disparities that existed in underserved communities. After shadowing an orthopedic surgeon in community college, he began to pursue medicine and became the first member of his family to obtain a college degree. Matthew cared for his mother, whose health was rapidly declining, throughout his time in college. After her passing, he was unsure how he would be able to continue his education and fulfill his dream. We are proud to help Matthew pursue his dream of becoming a physician.

“In honor of Dr. Hutchinson and Evelyn Ribbs Hutchinson, I too hope to go on to make a great impact on my community. This scholarship has allowed me the opportunity to continue pursuing that dream.”

Pearl Ibeanusi

Pearl IbeanusiSkyline College, Class of 2019
Recipient of the 2018 The Marie A. Calderilla Scholarship

The Marie A. Calderilla Scholarship enables women to pursue courses of study within the San Mateo County Community College District. Pearl is a 50-year-old immigrant from Nigeria. After working many dead-end jobs to support her children and struggling with a work-related disability, she has returned to school to have a better life and give back to her community. She is involved in Women’s Mentoring and Leadership Academy Club, Trio-club, EOPS Program, and ASTEP Learning Community. Pearl is also a member of the Pi Theta National Society and an honor student of the President’s and Dean’s Lists. She hopes to graduate and further her education at Stanford University and study business. She is grateful for the Marie A. Calderilla Scholarship to make achieving her goals a possibility.

“I really thank the scholarship award committee for counting me worthy of this incredible opportunity which will help me in reaching my academic goal. The Scholarship will help me to get most of the things I need for my school such as computer and tuition fees.”

Leslye Torres Jasso

Leslye Torres JassoSan Jose State University, Class of 2021
Recipient of the 2018 Abby Sobrato Scholarship

The Abby Sobrato Scholarship seeks to honor deserving students from Latino College Prep Academy (LCPA), Luis Valdez Leadership Academy (LVLA), and B. Roberto Cruz Leadership Academy (RCLA) in San Jose, California. Leslye has juggled supporting her family and school. For eight years her father worked in the United States and sent money home to Mexico until her family was able to be reunited. The stress took a toll on her family, and as a result, Leslye’s grades suffered in high school. She worked hard to raise her grades while contributing both financial and emotional support.

Leslye plans to become a pediatrician. Being the oldest of four siblings, she has learned how to be patient and work well with children. She wants to help families in need by providing for her community, specifically immigrant families who cannot receive the same benefits as others.

“This fund has provided me with a lot of help on my first steps to becoming that amazing pediatrician .... I can finally say that I will be the first in my family to attend college.”

Wesley Barker

Wesley BarkerCalifornia State University, East Bay, Class of 2021
Recipient of the 2018 Ralph Hale and Martha L. Ruppert Educational Scholarship

The Ralph Hale and Martha L. Ruppert Educational Scholarship is our scholarship for “late bloomers”: students who have faced a hardship early on in their educational career that caused their grades to suffer, but who show academic promise and continuous improvement during the last years of high school or beginning of college. Wesley is a Bay Area resident who repeated his freshman year of high school. The second time around he began to take school more seriously, learned how to ask questions and be a good student. He became involved in the school theater program and community service. He was a member of the Student Conservation Association, Outward Bound, and the Boy Scouts of America, which helped to build his leadership skills and gain a sense of fellowship with the young men in his community. Wesley looks forward to attending CSU East Bay and pursuing a musical theatre degree. He will continue his community involvement while balancing his studies.

“This scholarship, the donors who support it, and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation have changed my life and helped me obtain my goal. I hope to one day be able to also give back to other students with the same goal.”


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