Tanya Sanchez (Courtesy photo)

Carpinteria High School 2020 graduate Tanya Sanchez, has been awarded The Lynda Fairly and Richard Finkley Degree Scholarship. Sanchez, who attended Canalino, Carpinteria Middle School, and Carpinteria High School, plans to study criminology, then move into forensic science.

This is the third annual awarding of what was originally called The Lynda Fairly Degree Scholarship. For 2020, Richard Finkley joined his wife’s effort, and the award amount was increased to $10,000 and the name lengthened to The Lynda Fairly and Richard Finkley Degree Scholarship.

“It is for any field of study for a student who attends community college, probably Santa Barbara City College for two years, and then transfers to a four-year university to complete their undergraduate degree,” said Fairly, who retired as vice president of Adult Education at SBCC after a career that began as an elementary school teacher.

“​Recipients receive the scholarship upon transferring to finance the last two years of their college career,” Fairly said. “My hope was to assist someone who might not be able to attend college without some financial assistance.

“I hope that this scholarship will inspire the recipient to complete their first two years knowing that the last two won’t be quite as personally expensive.”

Like Fairly, Finkley’s career was in education. He served as a professor and academic administrator at three Midwestern public universities.

​“I was the first person in my family to graduate from high school and attend college. Public education made my life possible,” Finkley said.

Administered through the Carpinteria Education Foundation (CEF), the scholarship is earmarked for a Carpinteria High School graduate. ​The first two recipients, Shaya Alexander and Sallury Hernandez, are both attending SBCC and have been very successful academically.

The end of the academic year is a busy time for CEF, whose activities include fundraising via Dine Out 4 Carp Kids, Carp-a-Cabana, and other means to provide enrichment curriculum such as art and robotics for Carpinteria Unified School District students.

“We all can use some positive news these days, and The Lynda Fairly and Richard Finkley Degree Scholarship announcement is exactly the kind of feel-good story the community needs,” said Casey Balch, board president of the nonprofit CEF.

“Tanya is a remarkable young woman and an excellent example of ‘it takes a village.’ So many individuals and organizations contributed to her success,” Balch said.

Retired Canalino School principal Sally Green has mentored Sanchez since the scholarship winner was a fifth-grader through the Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse —Fighting Back Mentor Program. Sanchez credits Green as her biggest influence in helping her win the scholarship.

“She has evolved into an amazing young lady,” Green said. “Tanya applied for a REACH grant three years ago; she and another CHS student received one. She had an internship in Santa Barbara, toured Bay Area universities, and this year, hopefully, a Summer Outward Bound program, where she will travel to Ecuador.”

In her letter of recommendation,​ Mandi De Witte, Santa Barbara County Teacher of the Year for 2019 and Carpinteria High School science department chair, described ​Sanchez as leading through example and a well-respected and mature student who helps to make school a better place.

De Witte got to know Sanchez via the CHS Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) club, which she advises.

“In addition to her time spent making positive change through clubs, Tanya played on the JV softball and Varsity Golf for our school. She also participated for five years in the Girls Inc. Eureka! Program, REACH for two years, and has totaled an impressive 96 volunteer hours during her high school career,” De Witte said.

“Tanya is a great communicator and has great respect for the people around her,” De Witte said. “She cares deeply about others and is quick to lend a helping hand whenever someone is in need.

“As a member of both the Youth Wellness Connection and Gender and Sexuality Alliance Clubs at school, she supports her classmates by helping them learn more about promoting self-care, connection, and kindness towards all others.”

“Young people like Tanya are our future. I’m glad we can help out,” said Finkley. “I wish we could do more.”

The Carpinteria Education Foundation, Inc. is dedicated to the academic success of students in the Carpinteria Unified School District. Committed to building dynamic community partnerships to support public schools in Carpinteria and Summerland, CEF provide essential resources and enrichment opportunities to all district students.