Palo Alto YMCA increases college scholarships

Ten recent high school graduataes are among 40 earning Cooper Scholarships

Recent Gunn High School graduates Priya Ghose and Teklehaymanot "TK" Yilma, and Palo Alto High School graduates Jacob Huerta and Lia Salaverry are among 40 local students receiving $2,500 college scholarships from the Palo Alto Family YMCA.

Scholarship recipients -- 10 recent graduates as well as 30 college upperclassmen winning renewals -- were honored Saturday (Aug. 7) at the YMCA Cooper Scholarship awards ceremony.

"We feel fortunate for the ability to continue this scholarship program, and we are thrilled to increase the dollar amount from $1,250 to $2,500 this year," Executive Director Scott Glissmeyer of the Palo Alto Family YMCA said.

"We are grateful to the program's founders, Wilson and Sue Cooper, as well as the support of other donors. We credit them for our ability to assist these exceptional students in their pursuit of higher education."

Ghose plans to enroll at Occidental College, Yilma at San Jose State University, Huerta at Fairhaven College and Salaverry at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Six other new honorees this year are:

o Eastside College Prep graduate Jose Manuel Chavez, who will go to the University of California at Merced;

o Woodside High School graduate Sharon Godinez, who will attend St. Mary's College;

o Eastside College Prep graduate Yesenia Guizar-Orozco who will go on to Occidental;

o Menlo-Atherton High School graduate Andrea Huerta who will enroll at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising;

oSequoia High School graduate William Torres who will attend Foothill College; and

Eastside Prep graduate Eliana Corona Vasquez who will go to Vassar College.

The Palo Alto Family YMCA offers college-preparation assistance at its Ventura Teen Center. It includes "focused tutoring," a college planning center, college tours and the Cooper scholarships.

Students are selected for their motivation, integrity, perseverance and strength of character, the YMCA said.

YMCA board member Jack Koch said, "The students have excellent grades, are involved in school programs and the community, come from a wide range of ethnicities and often work to help with family finances.

"Most are the first in their family to attend college. Each has a unique family story that is inspiring as well."

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