DEL MAR — Don Diego Scholarship Foundation celebrated its 35th anniversary year by awarding $74,500 in college scholarships to 19 high-achieving, altruistic, deserving students who the Don Diego Foundation believe represent the very best in our region and in humanity.
“The energy communicated in our finalist interviews was palpable, even on Zoom. All of us on the Selection Committee and entire board are impressed with the resilience of our Class of 2021 Scholars, Don Diego Chair Juanita Hayes said. “They persevered during the pandemic and excelled academically while participating in extracurricular activities, working to save money for their education, and giving back through community service.”
Scholarships in the categories of FFA, Zable Foundation 4-H, Employee, Exhibitor/Participant and Junior Livestock Auction were offered to students who reside in the San Diego area and participated in the San Diego County Fair and/or other activities associated with the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
Top winners included Edwin Vargas Navarro of Vista and Kylie Konyn of Escondido. Navarro was the unanimous choice to win the one-time $20,000 Liss Family Scholarship covering four years of college. Navarro was the top FFA recipient and also received a $1,000 Junior Livestock Auction scholarship for a total of $21,000, which he will use to major in mathematics at what he calls “my dream school, University of California Berkeley.” Edwin’s accomplishments include major FFA accolades, leadership roles in volunteer organizations, active participation in AFJROTC, a 4.5 GPA, and Track & Field Scholar-Athlete award.
“I am deeply appreciative of my immigrant parents’ sacrifices raising nine children, and want to show that the long hours my father worked in the strawberry fields were not in vain, Navarro said. “My goals at Vista High were to never receive a grade lower than A, become president of multiple clubs, be a varsity athlete, run a 50-mile ultramarathon, and have fun.”
Kylie Konyn of Escondido captured three competitive top scholarships: the $5,000 Zable Foundation 4-H; $3,500 William & Betty Ann Tulloch Junior Livestock Auction; and $5,000 Spanjian Family award. This self-described “lifetime 4-H member” and agriculture ambassador who has attained numerous awards and honors, is mulling her university choices; she plans to major in Animal Science on her way to earning an advanced degree in the veterinary or dairy science field.
“Dairy farming is in my blood, my desire and my future. I am a third-generation dairy farmer on one of the two remaining dairy farms in San Diego,” Konyn said. “I have developed my own herd and operate my own business. Knowing that years ago, my father needed to leave college when he was a few units short of a degree to return to the farm makes me feel privileged to know I will receive a college education. I intend to contribute to the growth and utilization of genetic and nutritional information in the agriculture industry.”
Other top-tier North County recipients include:
- Juancarlos Cigarrero of Solana Beach
- Alexander Poroy of Encinitas, Jamie Uribe San Diego $2,500, San Diego State University, Business Administration
- Matthew Morse, Solana Beach, $1,000 Mannen Family Scholarship, MiraCosta College, Liberal Arts
- Elizabeth Hazard, Encinitas, $2,500 Gerry & Jeannie Ranglas Scholarship, Colorado State University, Fish/Wildlife/Conservation Biology
- Aiko Lozar, Carlsbad, $1,500, Chapman University, Film Production
- Claire Fernandez, Carlsbad, $2,500, Colorado State University, Science
- Leila Perko, Vista, $1,500, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Animal Science
- Morgan Robinson, San Marcos, $1,000, Cal State University San Marcos, Business Administration
- Areli De Casas. Escondido, $1,000 Zable Foundation Junior Livestock Auction, University of California Riverside, Psychology
- Alyssa Partner, Escondido, $1,000 Junior Livestock Auction, Modesto Junior College, Large Animal Veterinary Science
More information is at dondiegoscholarship.org and facebook.com/DonDiegoScholarship.