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Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara Awards Record $8.74 Million to Students

Ceremonies are held in Santa Barbara and Santa Maria honoring the more than 3,000 Santa Barbara County recipients

Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara past board president Nancy Failing, left, board chairman Barrett O’Gorman and Executive Director Candance Winkler at one of two ceremonies held to celebrate the foundation’s record $8.74 million in scholarships awarded this year to more than 3,000 Santa Barbara County students.
Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara past board president Nancy Failing, left, board chairman Barrett O’Gorman and Executive Director Candance Winkler at one of two ceremonies held to celebrate the foundation’s record $8.74 million in scholarships awarded this year to more than 3,000 Santa Barbara County students. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

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The Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara awarded a record-breaking $8.74 million to more than 3,000 Santa Barbara County students at annual awards ceremonies held last week.

Thousands of happy parents, honored student recipients and philanthropic leaders gathered at the Sunken Gardens of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse for Santa Barbara's annual outdoor ceremony. An award ceremony was also held in Santa Maria.

This year, the Scholarship Foundation received 3,880 applications for financial support. While 3,016 of those students will receive critical student aid, more than 800 deserving students were turned away due to a lack of funds.

The award ceremonies were hosted by the Scholarship Foundation in conjunction with its largest partner, the Santa Barbara Foundation, with its contribution of $1.5 million in scholarships this year.

Following the late-afternoon ceremony at the courthouse, more than 250 Scholarship Foundation board members, major supporters and some scholarship recipients gathered at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum for a lovely social hour in the charming Covarrubias Adobe courtyard, where wine and passed hors d’oeuvres prepared by Lorraine Lim were enjoyed. Soloist and guitarist Jamey Geston, one of the Art Scholars this year, was a "one-woman show" and provided lovely musical background for the reception.

“The 2016 record $8.74 million in scholarships to over 3,000 students was only possible because of our many contributors. The Board of Directors of the Scholarship Foundation is so very grateful. And, as proud as we are of this achievement, we are always striving year on year to award scholarships to each and every student who applies,” Barrett O’Gorman, chairman of the Board of Directors for the the Scholarship Foundation, told Noozhawk. “I didn’t realize how close we got this year to the $9 million mark. I might have to do some more fundraising!”

Guests moved to the large museum courtyard after the social hour, where they were seated at all-white-clothed tables for dinner. Following remarks by O’Gorman and the foundation's new president and CEO, Candace Winkler, scholarship recipient Alicia Flores spoke to the assembled attendees.

Gavin Umstead, left, with scholarship recipient Juan Hernandez of Carpinteria High School.
Gavin Umstead, left, with scholarship recipient Juan Hernandez of Carpinteria High School. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

Flores is transferring to Chico State in the fall after completing two associate degrees from Santa Barbara City College. Specifically, she is interested in research in biology.

“Brainstorming and conducting experiments that failed one after another was something I truly enjoyed," Flores said. "I had patience. I perfected the art of failing and using those failures to my advantage by learning from them.

“I am a first-generation college student in my family. My father sold soft drinks and my mother cleaned homes when I was growing up. I am very happy to be here and am grateful to receive scholarship funds.”

In addition, Flores accrued an impressive 600 hours of community service during high school, and her commitment to the community is quite impressive.

The next student to speak was Juan Hernandez, a senior at Carpinteria High School. He struggled early in his academic career but asked for help and found solace in music. He has aspirations to become a youth counselor. Hernandez was elected president of his class four years in a row during high school.

A teacher had this to say about Juan: “I have never been more impressed by a young man as I have been by Juan. He is an outstanding student, a great friend and a role model. He is determined to utilize his education to build a better life for himself.”

The mission of the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara is to inspire, encourage and support Santa Barbara County students in their pursuit of higher education through financial aid advising and scholarships. Since 1962, the Scholarship Foundation has provided more than 44,000 scholarships to local students with a value of $99.3 million. In addition, the Scholarship Foundation provides free financial aid advising services to more than 36,500 students and parents each year.

Click here for more information about the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, or contact Jennifer St. James, director of marketing and communications, at 805.687.7027 x108 or [email protected].

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at [email protected]. This article includes reportinf Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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