Fifteen local high-school graduates will be honored June 18 by the Peninsula College Fund, a nonprofit aimed at helping low-income, first-generation college students achieve educational and career goals.
The 15, from East Palo Alto, eastern Menlo Park and Redwood City, will each get $12,000 scholarships as well as summer internship support and one-to-one mentoring through their college years.
They join 81 other local students who have been helped by Peninsula College Fund since the group was founded in 2005 by Charles Schmuck, a Menlo Park resident who teaches history at San Jose's Presentation High School.
One of those students, Daniel Valencia, will speak at the June 18 ceremony. Valencia is a 2013 graduate of California State University East Bay with a degree in biology and the goal of attending medical school.
"My family could not be more proud," Valencia said.
"My supporters in Peninsula College Fund have been amazing tutors, counselors and friends. I could never have gotten this far without them."
Also speaking June 18, in festivities open to the public, will be former San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales, CEO of the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley.
The event will be from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Sacred Heart Preparatory, 150 Valparaiso Ave., Atherton.
"The Peninsula College Fund is on an exciting growth trajectory," said Catherine Crystal Foster, a Palo Alto resident and executive director of the fund.
"With our incoming class of scholars, we will have students at every UC campus in the state."
This years honorees are:
From East Palo Alto Academy High School: Diana Carranza, heading to San Jose State University, and David Lozano Camacho, also going to San Jose State;
From Eastside College Preparatory School: Alexis Aceves, heading to UCLA, Gladys Bustos, also going to UCLA, and Getssiva Hernandez, going to UC Santa Barbara;
From Menlo-Atherton High School: Haissane Fakalata, going to St. Mary's College of California and Niesha Ford, gong to College of St. Benedict;
From Sequoia High School: Aureliano Davila, heading to UC Irvine, Nereyda Guzman, going to Notre Dame de Namur University, and Rossmeri Ramirez going to Sacramento State University;
From Summit Preparatory Charter High School: Jose Martinez Luna, heading to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and Jocelyn Morales heading to Notre Dame de Namur University;
From Woodside High School: Stephanie Contreras, going to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Yarely Guzman Lopez going to San Francisco State University, and Gemma Urena, going to UC Santa Cruz.