2015 Jim McEntee Legacy Scholarship Recipients

In 2015 we awarded $23,500 to thirteen community college students who have transferred to a four year university to complete their undergraduate studies. We are grateful to our many donors, particularly the Castillo Family Foundation, whose generosity enabled us to increase the number of scholarships. See photos from our 2015 scholarship fundraiser. Browse our 2015 scholarship fundraiser program (including a list of donors).

The major event highlight was our inspirational guest speaker, County Supervisor Dave Cortese.  We also appreciated the wonderful Indian food from Peacock restaurant in Cupertino, the lively music from the talented ‘Kaweh’, and the beautiful art work on display in the MACLA gallery.

Special thanks to our stellar event Honorary Committee for their support: Carmen & Al Castellano, Hon. Cindy Chavez, Hon. Kansen Chu, Judge LaDoris Cordell (Ret.), Hon. Dave Cortese & Patti Cortese, Laura Gonzalez- Escoto & Adam Escoto, Carol Garvey, Mary Ellen & Mike Fox Sr., Bishop Patrick McGrath, Steve Preminger & Hon. Susanne Wilson.


The following nine students received scholarships for their junior years:


CARLA DAVILA grew up in Guatemala with her grandmother and migrated to the U.S. when she was 12 years old.  She is a full time mother and decided to return to college after years of absence in order to give her family a better future. She is a first generation college student transferring from San Jose City College to San Jose State University, her goal is to major in Business Administration with a minor in Sociology. During her time at SJCC, Carla volunteered in multiple programs to support her peers with services in financial aid and especial needs. She plans to go to grad school and obtain a Masters in order to become an Academic Counselor and support people facing similar struggles to hers.


AMAIRANI JIMENEZ GUZMAN is originally from Mexico, despite family struggles she faced growing up, having to work to finance her education and being engaged in students clubs on campus, Amairani has being able to maintain an excellent academic standing. This fall, both Amairani and her sister- who is also a scholarship recipient this year– will be transferring from Evergreen Valley College to University of Santa Cruz; Amairani plans to major in Business. Her career goal is go become a fashion designer in order to be a role model for Latina women and challenge many of the stereotypes they face.


MARGARITA GUADALUPE JIMENEZ was born in Mexico and migrated to the U.S. as a child. This year, both Margarita and her younger sister Amairani are recipients of the Jim McEntee Legacy Scholarship. Margarita is an AB540 student, and despite the economic and family struggles she has faced, she has excelled as a student and community leader. She is part of an Evergreen student organization that informs high school students about resources for undocumented students. Margarita earned an Associate Degree from Evergreen Valley College and enrolled in University of California Santa Cruz this school year to complete her degree in Business Management Economics. Margarita’s career goal is to work in a non-profit and contribute to groups that support disadvantaged students.


DANITZA MORANTE went from an A+ student in her native Peru to “doubting her academic abilities” as an undocumented student in San Jose, until she achieved a comparable level of achievement while graduating from West Valley College.  A volunteer at Asian Law Alliance and PACT, Diana transferred to UC Berkeley, where she will pursue a degree in anthropology on her career path of helping migrant youth.


ANDY NGUYEN was born in Vietnam and came to the United States at an early age. He faced many challenges as an immigrant regarding his health, financial and academic status.  Andy went to San Jose City College (SJCC) where he served as director of activities for the associated student government. In 2013 and 2014 he organized the first and second Creative Arts Contest. An exhibit of his photography was held at the Carmen Castellanos Gallery at SJCC the summer of 2015. Andy is now attending San Jose State University. He is majoring in art with a concentration in photography and minoring in public relations. The net proceeds from Andy’s photography work are going to a charity for children’s educational resources in Vietnam.


HY NGUYEN was born in San Jose, CA. He was raised by his parents and a grandmother who came to America with hopes of building a better life than they had in Vietnam. He attended DeAnza  Community College before transferring to UC Davis, where he is majoring in psychology and physiology. He enjoys sports, especially basketball, football and swimming. Hy enjoys working with students and has a passion for community service and human rights. This turned him away from the gang and drug violence of his neighborhood. Hy strives to assist students in their academic endeavors and give children opportunities he never had.


DIANA AMAIRAINI CUEVAS RAMOS suffered from epileptic seizures and family violence as a child in her native Mexico. Originally undocumented, “homeless and scrambling to find a place to sleep”, she became a youth leader at St. Catherine’s Church in Morgan Hill and an Associated Student Government Senator at Evergreen Valley College. She transferred to UC Santa Cruz to study political science on her career path to becoming an immigration attorney.


PHUONG AN TRAN was born in San Jose. She was raised by a Caucasian foster family, whom she credits with giving her the backbone to move forward and never give up. She founded a local non-profit to support former foster youth.  She attended several colleges including De Anza  and Mission College, but she graduated from West Valley College. She is attending UC Santa Cruz majoring in environmental studies and biology.


THELMA VALADEZ grew up in a single parent household in Guanajato, Mexico. She began studying at San Jose High School at the age of 15 without understanding a word of English. Thelma graduated from San Jose City College with an A average after volunteering with the METAS program to encourage students to seek higher education. A transfer student to Santa Clara University, Thelma will pursue a BA in Spanish Studies and MA in Education Counseling on her career path of becoming a bilingual elementary school teacher.


The following four students received second year scholarships in June 2015 for their senior year of college:


VANESSA ALDACO is Mexican-American and a first generation college student. She attended Evergreen Valley College. She is a senior at San Jose State University majoring in behavorial science. In March of 2015 Vanessa represented AAUW as a speaker/panelist for the Strong Girls Strong Women Conference at MACSA.


FRANCHESCA SANTIAGO: Due to family illness, early in life Francescha began working to help provide for her family. After graduating from Evergreen Valley College with honors, she transferred to UC Santa Cruz. Franchesca is majoring in Philosophy and expects to graduate from UCSC in 2016. Following graduation she hopes to work in the industry of affordable housing development.




RYAN SHOOK is a re-entry student with three young children, including one with special needs. He attended Gavilan College. He is a senior at UCSC majoring in intensive sociology and global information & social enterprise studies. During the summer of 2015 he developed and implemented an E-waste and jobs training program at the Gilroy Compassion Center, a resource center for the homeless.


YIN YIN was born and raised in Burma (Myanmar). She attended San Jose City College. She participated in an internship program at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory during the summer of 2014. She is now majoring in civil engineering at UC Berkeley.

Go back to 2014 Scholarship Recipients

Go forward to 2016 Scholarship Recipients