2019 Scholarship winners

2019 Scholarship Recipients with Scholarship Committee Members

Once again in 2019, the Friends of Human Relations awarded $36,000 to assist eighteen community college students as they transfer to a four year college or university to complete their undergraduate education. See photos from our 2019 scholarship fundraiser. Browse our 2019 scholarship fundraiser program (including our list of donors).

The 2019 program featured remarks on “The Legacy of Jim McEntee” from Adam Escoto, Morgan Hill Unified School District (MHUSD) Trustee and longtime educator, advocate for children and youth, and a community leader in Morgan Hill. Escoto spent 27 years in public education and worked for more than twenty years with the SJUSD, where he last served as principal of Horace Mann Elementary. Adam also knew Jim McEntee and was inspired by his life and work. Adam and his wife Laura have been strong supporters of the McEntee Scholarship Program for many years.

Two of our outstanding scholarship recipient graduates, Diana Cuevas, UCSC (2016) and Zainab Yusuf, SJSU (2018) also provided heartfelt stories about their challenges in seeking a college degree. Talented vocalist and acoustic guitarist Elaine Ryan provided live music and delicious appetizers and dessert were provided by Casa Vicky. This year a door prize drawing was part of the event festivities and once again, beautiful Latino art from MACLA’s 21st Annual Exhibit and Auction was on display in the gallery.

The following twelve students are transferring from community colleges and received scholarships for their junior years:


ERENDIRA AMADOR CARO was born in Mexico and immigrated to the United States at the age of four with her mother and sister so that they could reunite with their father and receive professional medical care. Erendira is now 26, a mother of three children, and a first generation college student. She has overcome many obstacles, working multiple jobs, taking extra units, and volunteering in her son’s class. Erendira is attending San Jose State and is majoring in Business Administration.


NAYELI GALLEGOS was born in San Jose, California. She has had to overcome financial obstacles, and academic challenges due to learning disabilities. She has volunteered in many programs including a blood drive, serving food in the high school cafeteria, giving out health information and going to Mexico to distribute food and toys to children. Nayeli will be attending Sacramento State where her goal is to become a nurse practitioner.


ELLY GRACE HUDSON has been very active in Theater production and was inducted into the International Thespian Society. Elly has served as a senator on the Outreach committee in the Associated Student Government at West Valley College. She was a volunteer for the Campus Club in Puerto Rico after the hurricane, and she lead a project teaching female empowerment in Cambodia. She also worked on a bond issue to provide resources to her community college. Elly is attending UC Berkeley and plans to get a Political Science Degree and continue her commitment to Social Justice.


SUKHNOOR KOUR was born in India and, as a girl from a low-income family, faced many obstacles obtaining an education. She was so inspired by her teachers that she aspires to become a community professor. Sukhnoor
has been very active in student government. As Vice President, she
organized several leadership workshops. She also organized the campus
Women’s Day Event. Sukhnoor plans to attend UC Berkeley.


DELIA MAGANA graduated from high school as a teen parent. As a volunteer at her child’s school, she organized new school activities, new practices and improved parent and community involvement that truly brought change to that school. Though she has had many obstacles to overcome, she went back to school and received her AA at San Jose City College. She will be attending San Jose State, majoring in Sociology. Delia’s goal is to become a social worker and help those in need.


BETELIHEM MEHARY was born in California, but her parents were from Eritrea. It was after visiting Eritrea that she realized that many people were suffering from health conditions that were not being addressed. She began to volunteer at local clinics, at Highland Hospital in Oakland, and gave health awareness presentations. She was also Vice President of the Black student union. Betelihem is attending UCLA and plans to enter the health field to particularly help underdeveloped countries to receive better healthcare.


KIANA RICHARDSON was born and raised in Hayward, California. She has faced much adversity as a young African American living in a low-income family. She and her five siblings were raised by a single mother who held two jobs and attended a University full time. At San Jose City College Kiana was the founder and then President of the Black Student Union, which advocates for social justice. She volunteers with the African American Community Service Agency in San Jose as a youth mentor. Kiana is now attending Howard University, a historically black college. Through her education, she plans to advocate for marginalized communities, making a positive impact within society.


SABRINA RIVAS was a child raised by a Spanish-only speaking single mother. She is the first of her generation pursuing a higher education. She has been an intern at the Stanford Summer Pre-Med Program, and a member of the UC Santa Cruz Team Building and Leadership Program. Sabrina has also been President of the Society for the Advancement of Chicano /Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) where she conducted tours, set up a leadership camp, as well as many other activities. Sabrina’s goals are to obtain a doctorate degree and become a medical doctor. She plans to volunteer with Doctor’s Without Borders in impoverished countries.


DYLAN SANCHEZ, who grew up in an immigrant family struggling with financial and other adversities, has always wanted to be part of activism supporting marginalized groups. While at De Anza College, through the organization called VIDA, he became involved with the Renters’ Rights Project. He volunteered with HEFAS, an organization which provides services and support for undocumented students on campus. He also helped on an election campaign during the mid-term election. Dylan will be attending San Jose State and majoring in Political Science.


DIANA URIAS and her younger brother lived with their parents in San Jose, California until the age of nine, when her father was deported. Diana spent the next several years in the Foster Care System and the Juvenile Justice System. After completing probation, the judge offered her an opportunity to change her life; a paid internship to mentor with the National Compadres Network to support other youth navigating through the Justice System. Diana will be attending UC Berkeley and plans to become a community college counselor.


JUAN RAFAEL DE LA CRUZ VARELA, the oldest of five children, came to the US with his family when he was two and a half years old. Juan worked full time for four years while attending San Jose City College, where he became a member of SACNAS (Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science) The purpose of the club is to unite underrepresented STEM students to support and keep them motivated emotionally, professionally, and financially. Juan hosted a Dreamers Conference in 2019 and 2019 and was a panelist in the STEM session. He was also an intern with the Experiential Leadership Internship program at UC Santa Cruz, as well as a tutor and chemistry lab assistant. Juan is attending UC Merced, majoring in Mechanical Engineering.


ELIZABETH WILLIAMS was born in San Jose as one of triplets. She was a top student in elementary and middle school. However, at fourteen years old, her very close friend was murdered and her life changed. She could no longer concentrate at school and eventually dropped out. After receiving professional help, she was able to get her high school diploma and enroll at Gavilan College where she became a life time member of the Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society and founded a nationally recognized chapter named Active Minds at Gavilan College. This chapter is dedicated to changing the conversation about mental health by reducing stigma through advocacy and education. Elizabeth will be attending UC Santa Cruz to pursue a PhD in Psychology while continuing her commitment and leadership in Santa Cruz.

The following six students received second year scholarships in June 2019 for their senior year of college:


MICHELE CASTRO was born in Juneau, Alaska. After dropping out of high school six weeks before graduation, her dreams of college had diminished. Thirty years later she made the decision to change her life and make education her priority. Michele graduated from Gavilan College and now will be attending UC Berkeley. She will be studying courses in Social Welfare and Ethics Studies in order to pursue her career goal of becoming an advisor in student services at her former community college.


RICHARD GUEVARA was born in San Jose. Despite many life obstacles, Richard attended Gavilan College where he was on the Gavilan soccer team, part of the Gavilan Democratic Club, and a member of the Rho Alpha Mu Club, an Honor Society. Richard is now attending CSU Monterey, majoring in Kinesiology and Exercise Science. He plans to be a Physician’s Assistant.


KELY MARTELL was born and raised in Peru for half of her life. She moved to California when she was thirteen years old and attended De Anza College. She is attending San Jose State and majoring in Sociology. She has been volunteering at Asian Law Alliance for a few years as a translator and is currently a translator for political asylum cases. She plans to attend law school after graduation and wants to give back to her community.


FELIPE RIVEROS was born and raised in Chile. When he turned ten his family moved to the U.S. to begin building their lives here. He has been trying to make his community a better place through community service: volunteering in soup kitchens, cleaning up a river, summer camp counseling and working to secure funds to travel to New Orleans to help build a house after hurricane Katrina. He also volunteered for eleven years for a sports program that is inclusive of typical and special needs children. He is studying Business Accounting at San Jose State.


MARIA LORENA SANCHEZ was born in Mexico in 1970. She is a married woman with four daughters. Maria Lorena has volunteered at Our Lady of Refuge Parish for more than 10 years. After improving her English and graduating high school, she entered Evergreen Valley College in 2012 where she graduated with an AA degree in psychology. She is now attending San Jose State and her goal is to become a psychologist and work as a family therapist.


MANUEL SANTANA is a lifelong East San Jose resident, artist, and father who transferred into San Jose State, from West Valley College, into the Honors Humanities program with a major in History. Manuel has committed his life to serving his community, working with grass roots groups. He hopes to do more for his East San Jose community with the education he is receiving. Before returning to college, Manuel served as Americorps Public Ally serving the houseless community with LifeMoves as a Volunteer Coordinator. This service inspired him to pursue a higher education. After earning his AA degree, he returned to become an AmeriCorps Vista serving with Second Harvest Food Bank as a Coordinator of Out of School Time Meals. He plans to become a teacher.

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