“Providing scholarships to students is at the core of Vecinos values,” said Janna Philpot, president of the Vecinos. “We’re redoubling our efforts this year to fund more scholarships next year as well as supporting other activities in the city that celebrate our rich and vibrant Latino culture.”
The two scholarships of $500 were presented to Uriarte and Oyaga at the SPHS Scholarships program last Wednesday. Vecinos scholarships to SPHS seniors have totaled $40,000 since 2012. Scholarship funds are raised through the organization’s Day of the Dead Gala in the Autumn and other activities throughout the year. Uriarte to Brown University and Oyaga to Middlebury College.
Uriarte’s honors while at SPHS include Track and Field Distance Runner of the Year, 2017; Varsity Cross Country Don Wielenga Leadership Award, 2018; Principal’s Award, 2018-2019; and Girl Scout Gold Award, 2018.
The daughter of immigrant parents, she was part of the Adelante Mujer Conferences at Pasadena City College, receiving guidance and encouragement from prominent Latino leaders. At Brown she plans to enroll in the Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME), which includes both undergraduate and medical school studies.
“After medical school I hope to start my own clinic as a medical physician,” she wrote in her application, adding that she hopes to use both her medical training and Spanish “as a doctor treating Latino communities.”
At SPHS Oyaga was honored with the SPEX (Spotlight on Excellence) Award for four years, the AP Scholar Award by the College Board, Scholastic Arts and Writing Award Bronze Key, and is a Posse Scholar.
A first-generation student, he taught English, tutored students, and gave back to the Latinx members of his church and community. His other activities include the Visión de Gracia Church, Door of Hope, Forest Home, Tiger reporter and photographer, and SPHS Drama.
“My desire is to become a Conservation Biologist with a focus on protecting the whale sharks in the Sea of Cortez. My goal is to become the lead scientist and researcher at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and lead the conversation in the U.S. about the dangers of plastic pollution,” he wrote in his scholarship application.
Founded in 2003, Vecinos de South Pasadena promotes Latino culture, family and community in the city. In addition to the Day of the Dead Gala, activities include a Mexican food booth in Garfield Park on July 4th, a quarterly craft table at the Farmers’ Market, and mini-grants for teachers providing lessons in Latino arts and culture.