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Manteca Rotary assists nine graduates
Rotary Scholars DSC 5943
Manteca Rotarians celebrated the accomplishments of nine Manteca area graduates at their noon luncheon Thursday by awarding more than $13,000 in scholarship monies. Rotary members at right are Alyce Machado-Luis, Gary Singh and Rotary President Jeff Shields. Students, from left back row, are Curtis Beyers, Emily Rodriguez and Monica Lozano; front, Stephanie Monarrez and Emely Kehl. Four other recipients were unable to attend the luncheon. - photo by GLENNKAHL/The Bulletin

Nine graduating high school seniors were awarded $13,250 in scholarships by the Manteca Rotary Club.
Monica Lozano, 18, from Manteca High School is the youngest of eight siblings ranging from 20 to 39 years old. Despite serious setbacks in life, she graduated with a 4.06 grade point average, receiving the highest Rotary scholarship of $4,000.
While working an average of 35 hours a week, she has managed to be involved in softball, basketball, tennis, CSF Club, Spirit Club, College Pep Club and taking stats for the Manteca High Soccer team.  She is also credited with serving her St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in its annual harvest festival.  She plans to attend CSU Fullerton to major in English.
“Since I have no parental support or income, financing my education will solely rest on my shoulders,” she said.  “I plan on financing my education by working through college, applying for financial aid and scholarships and taking out student loans, if necessary.”
In a letter of recommendation for Lozano, Manteca High Principal Frank Gonzales wrote, “Animated, confident, dedicated and passionate.  These are simply a few of the many words that I could use to describe Monica Lozano for whom I have the great pleasure of writing this letter of recommendation. I first met Monica when she was an eighth grader, watching her compete in basketball at her junior high.  Her intensity immediately caught my attention.  Since that time, I have seen Monica in social settings, classes and have had the privilege of coaching her in tennis both in her junior and senior years.”
Stephanie Monarrez, 18, also received a college scholarship. She plans to major in Spanish and General Education at UC Davis and also expects to work during college to help pay her expenses.  She credits her accomplishments in high school partly to her Spanish teacher Brent VanZwaluwenburg and has served as the vice president of the high school Rotary sponsored Interact Club – a member for four years.
“I am a dedicated student who strives for success,” she wrote in her application. “School grants, scholarships and personal savings will help me achieve my goal of attending college.” She holds a GPA of 4.087 and had to learn to speak English early in life.
East Union grad,  Emely Rodriguez, 18, has been on the honor roll for all four years, a Give Every Child a Chance volunteer for the After School Advantage Program and one-on-one tutoring.  She was also a cheer leader in her senior year and belonged to various groups including Bridge Club, Italian Club, MECHA, and Club Hope.  She is planning to pay for her education mostly through loans and scholarships with acceptance at UC Santa Barbara to major in Sociology.  Rodriguez said she “most likely” will work while attending college.
Sierra High graduate Emily Kehl, 18, is planning to attend Modesto Junior College where she first planned to major in Respiratory Therapy, before realizing Political Science is a better fit for her after volunteering for a year in a hospital setting.  She will later transfer to UC Davis in her junior year, she said.
Sierra High School counselor Paul Bennett said in his letter of recommendation, “Emily Kehl, is perhaps, one of the most excellent, well-rounded students I have ever worked with.  She excels in academics, student activities, community service and her employment.”
Kehl comes from a single parent household and works part-time to help her mother with living expenses.  She has been employed at Panera Bread Restaurant in Manteca for 20 to 26 hours a week since April of 2015.
Curtis James Beyers, 19, overcame the challenges of Autism and ADHD to graduate from Manteca High School with a grade point average of 3.075. He hopes to become a chef after attending the Lane Community College Culinary School in Eugene, OR. 
Beyers served as a stand-in on the Student Leadership Council and has also belonged to the Christian Club, the College Prep Club and the Teen Soul Winning and in Sunday school as a youth minister at the Central Valley Baptist Church.  Beyers hopes he can work as a student chef to help pay for his education along with grants, scholarships and student loans.
“I’m doing a lot of things that my doctors said I would never ever do,” he said.  “I have autism but with practice, hard work and imagination, I persevered.  My doctors said I wouldn’t be able to talk, but now I speak English.  I’m learning Spanish and I can sing in seven other languages.”
Other scholarship recipients not able to attend Thursday’s luncheon hosted by Manteca Rotary at Ernie’s Rendezvous Room were Rubel Kaur Dehal, Jeanette Batres, Carly Cunial and Ariana Gutierrez.
Rubel Dehal, 18, also a Manteca High grad holds a 4.42 grade point average and has contributed 325 hours as a site coordinator with the Give Every Child a Chance tutoring program.  She has worked some 96 hours as a nutrition education intern with the Manteca Unified School District and some 60 hours as a referee with the City of Manteca Parks and Recreation Department. 
Dehal has volunteered another 250 hours with the Manteca Library, with the same amount of time given to the Friday Unity Night Program, 205 hours as a volunteer with the Doctors Hospital of Manteca, 50 hours serving the Pregnancy Help Center in Manteca and another 50 hours with the Manteca Animal Shelter and 50 hours working on a Congressional campaign.
She has been the president of the College Prep Club, secretary for the CSF, member of the Manteca High award winning Academic Decathlon Team as a starter, Gold member of the National Honor Society contributing 850 hours to the community, Manteca High girls’ basketball team for four years elevating to captain in her junior year, member of the MHS girls’ tennis and track & field team for two years. 
Rubel plans to attend UC Berkeley where she will major in Human Development and definitely plans to work during college since she depends completely on student loans, grants, her savings and what she can earn working.
“My path to pursuing a college education began with my parents, who immigrated to the U.S. from their village in India.  My parents would frequently share stories of their upbringing, stories marked by contrasts between life in the United States and in India, reminding me of the value of gratitude, grit and hard work.  They instilled in me the importance of never forgetting to give back – by their actions as well as in their words,” she wrote.
Jeanette Batres, 17, graduated from East Union High School with a 3.6 grade point average and describes herself as a first generation American and the first in her family to go to college. 
She, too, said she is hoping to finance her education through scholarships, already receiving a Cal Grant B valued at $1,670.  Jeanette is planning on attending Sacramento State with a major in Biology.  She has a long list of honors through high school for her many achievements. 
Club activities included KIWINS with the Manteca Kiwanis Club, member of the California Scholarship Federation, member of the MECHA Club and has worked at Doctors Hospital in Manteca as a student volunteer.
“My intended major is Biology with concentration in clinical laboratory science at Sacramento State.  I chose this major because I plan on becoming a clinical laboratory scientist in the future.  Taking ROP Health Careers this year has given me the opportunity to work at Doctors Hospital laboratory which made me realize that my personality fits with this career,” Batres wrote.
Carly Cunial, 18, graduated from Sierra High School with a 3.75 grade point average and she is set to attend Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and major in Recreation, Parks and Tourism. Cunial also plans to find a job while at college to help with her expenses. 
“My parents are going to be helping me pay for my college education and I will continue to apply for scholarships,” she said. “Being a part of the Leadership Class is what helped me break out of my shell and become the person that I am today.  Before Leadership, I did not stray much from my normal routine.  I had my friends and I did not need to stand out beyond that.  If I went somewhere I did not know anyone, I would just stay out of everyone’s way.  Coming to a new school (Sierra High) I had to learn to get over that and break out of my comfort zone and try new activities,” she said.
Also, in addition to being a Rotary Youth Interact member, she took four advanced placement classes in her senior year, including European History, Language and Composition, Government and Macroeconomics and Calculus along with Honors English.
Cunial has also worked with the San Joaquin County Office of Education as a volunteer in Mock Trial, Academic Decathlon, Academic Pentathlon and the Science Olympiad.  While in high school she has been part of the team that places American Flags in the community on special red-letter days.
Ariana Marissa Gutierrez, 18, is planning to attend Modesto Junior College with an emphasis on Medicine and will work toward her associates degree depending mostly on financial aid and scholarships. She has worked at the University of the Pacific housing department during the summers of 2015 and 2016 and will again this year after graduating from Calla High School to help with her expenses.
It was the teachers at Calla who helped Ariana make up her short credits caused by grieving over her deceased grandmother she had been close to all her life. 
“I was told that if I went to Calla High School that I would be able to graduate in 2017. I turned my pain into motivation, finding I could again say that I enjoyed going to school again.  I’ve made friends and continued to keep by grade point average at 4.0 in all five blocks at Calla.  I have found myself participating in more activities at school.  I went from being at risk of not being able to graduate to graduating in early April.  Overall,  I am the happiest I have ever been in a long time and knowing that my grandma was cheering and looking down on me with the biggest smile as I walked across that stage to get my diploma made everything worth it,” she said.

To contact Glenn Kahl, email