Fourteen graduating seniors from Baldwin Park Unified School District were recognized with thousands of dollars in scholarships during BPUSD’s annual Joint Scholarship Ceremony on May 18.
Seniors were evaluated based on GPAs, achievements in education, community service, and personal essays about educators who influenced their academic goals.
More than 30 educators, parents, administrators, and staff joined the virtual Joint Scholarship Ceremony to celebrate the high-achieving seniors from Baldwin Park High School, North Park Continuation High School, Sierra Vista High School, and the Baldwin Park Adult and Community Education (BPACE) program.
“We are so proud of the District’s Joint Scholarship winners for their years of hard work, determination, and perseverance,” Superintendent Dr. Froilan N. Mendoza said. “Baldwin Park Unified’s Class of 2023 is an exceptional group who will go on to achieve great things.”
Ramona Burnham Foundation – $5,000
Oscar Cadenas, Sierra Vista High School: Cadenas, who received an Advanced Placement (AP) Achievement Award, plans to pursue a career as a veterinarian. He credits his seventh- and eighth-grade science teacher Ms. Nguyen for helping him develop a love for science.
“Her eccentric personality inflated my passion for science in every aspect,” Cadenas said. “I not only learned to express my love for science unconditionally but also to be a kinder person.”
Baldwin Park Education Association (BPEA) – $750 each
Aireon Bonilla, North Park Continuation High School: Bonilla is a member of North Park’s student council and an honor roll recipient who plans to pursue a career in nursing. She credits Mr. Alvarenga for inspiring her to join the medical field.
“He talked about the medical field in his class, and it caught my attention,” Bonilla said.
Destiny Gutierrez, Baldwin Park High School: Gutierrez, a Braves Scholar and Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Foundation member, is involved in multiple clubs including, Folklórico Dance, Coding Club, Adelante Mujer Latina Club, and Renaissance. She plans to major in architecture. Her influential educator is Ms. Melendez.
“Our motto for Renaissance is ‘we rise by lifting others’ and Ms. Melendez was the one who helped me rise to the person I am today,” Gutierrez said.
Anthony Ruelas, Sierra Vista High School: Ruelas, an AP Scholar and member of the Leo Club, Dual Language Club and AVID, plans to become a marketing specialist. His influential educator is his math teacher Ms. Ligutom.
“I was nervous that I wouldn’t pass the class because I’ve always struggled with math,” Ruelas said. “Ms. Ligutom was very understanding and assured me that she would help me and follow my pace. I continue to look up to her and am so thankful to have met her.”
Baldwin Park Organization of Supervisors and Administrators (BPOSA) – $800 each
Yadira Castro, BPACE: Castro, a member of the BPACE student leadership council and De Anza School Site Council, is the recipient of the BPACE Outstanding Achievement Recognition. Castro plans to become a school counselor or a social worker. Her influential educator is Ms. Jauregui.
“She helps support your goals and gives amazing advice,” Castro said. “I look up to her and would like for one day to be that kind-hearted, loving counselor to future students.”
Nora Martinez, Sierra Vista High School: Martinez received AVID Rookie-of-the-Year and an AP Scholar Award. She plans to become an engineering project manager. Her influential educator is her sixth-grade teacher Mr. Casas from Kenmore Elementary.
“I recall many good memories from my time in his class,” Martinez said. “He helped me believe in myself and he always respected all his students and treated us all fairly.”
Mariah Medina, North Park Continuation High School: Medina is a member of the Associated Student Body and received North Park’s Integrity Award. She plans to become a registered nurse thanks to her influential educator Ms. DeLuca.
“It wasn’t until I met Ms. DeLuca at NPCHS that I was able to envision great things for myself,” Medina said. “She motivated me every day and helped me plan for my future.”
Shaily Sarmiento, Baldwin Park High School: Sarmiento, who received the Key Club Membership Award, is a member of the National Honors Society, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Key Club and AVID. She plans to pursue a career in communications or psychology. Her influential educator is Ms. Solorzano.
“My counselor guided me to express my emotions instead of holding everything in,” Sarmiento said. “She also helped me be in the present and not be caught up on things I must get done.”
California School Employees Association (CSEA) – $500 each
Silence Jackson, Baldwin Park High School: Jackson, a Braves Scholar, tennis doubles and singles MVP, and National History Day LA County Champion and State Finalist, will go on to pursue a career in health practice and public policy.
“My passion for studying the past, illuminated by its injustices and systemic failures, has become a catalyst for my future career,” Jackson said.
Jackson, who served as a 2022-23 student board member, cites Ms. Lancaster as her influential educator.
“She has attained a legendary and almost mythical identity as a teacher of great influence,” Jackson said. “It is because of her devotion to me, personally, and because of her service to our community that I will return here to work in healthcare.”
Serenity Martinez, North Park Continuation High School: Martinez, who earned North Park’s Citizenship Award, Achievement Award and Responsibility Award, plans to pursue a career as a pastry chef. She served as a 2022-23 student board member, and cites Mrs. Garcia as her influential educator.
“Mrs. Garcia has influenced me to do my best, no matter what. She has inspired me to work hard and achieve my goals in life,” Martinez said.
Karla Rubio, BPACE: Rubio is involved in community dance programs, as well as after-school and community youth volunteer programs. She plans to pursue a career in software engineering and credits Ms. Montero as her most influential educator.
“She always had positive feedback and made all her students feel special,” Rubio said.
Jayleen Ulloa, Sierra Vista High School: Ulloa, a member of the school’s NAMI Club, Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) Club and Women Empowerment Club, is passionate about being an advocate for social justice. Her influential educator is Mrs. Castillo.
“She made world history more engaging by discussing current happenings in America rather than only those from the past,” Ulloa said. “She always made me feel heard and understood during our conversations.”
Delta Kappa Gamma Society International (DKG) – $1,000
Longino Cornejo, Baldwin Park High School: Cornejo, a Braves Scholar and recipient of the Iron Man Award and Heisman Award, served as the Braves Football captain and vice president for the National Honors Society. Cornejo plans to become a teacher and cites Mr. Eastvedt as his influential educator.
“Throughout my life, I developed an amazing set of skills with mathematics but only saw it as a tool to be an engineer,” Cornejo said. “Not once did I envision my life becoming focused primarily on mathematics because I was not aware of the possibilities that it could bring.”
Genesis Robles, Sierra Vista High School: Robles is a member of AVID and Leo club, and participates in the Regional Occupational Program’s (ROP) Early Childhood Education program. Through ROP classes, she developed a passion for teaching and plans to become an educator. Her most influential teacher is Ms. Moore.
“Ms. Moore is the person who influenced me to want to become a teacher that children can look up to and speak to comfortably,” Robles said.