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California Strawberry Commission Begins Third Decade Of Scholarships For Children Of Farm Workers

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SOURCE California Strawberry Commission

230 Students to Receive Financial Support for 2014-2015 School Year

WATSONVILLE, Calif., May 8, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The California Strawberry Commission today announced this year's recipients of the California Strawberry Scholarship Program, helping the children of strawberry farm workers pursue their dreams through higher education.

From throughout the state's strawberry growing regions, 230 students – high school graduates and those currently enrolled in trade schools and institutions of higher learning – will receive a combined total of $187,100 in scholarships for the 2014-2015 school year.

Now in its 21st year, the program has awarded nearly $2 million to more than 1,573 children of California strawberry farm workers. Of the 2014-2015 scholarship recipients, 116 are from the Watsonville area, 76 from Santa Maria, 35 from Oxnard and three from Orange County.

"We place a high value on supporting as many eligible students as possible," said Neil Nagata, Scholarship Committee Chair for the California Strawberry Commission. "We don't solely want to be a name on a check – we believe that it is critical to provide continually positive signals to these students, letting them know that we are committed to them over the long haul."

Awards are based on individual merit and are sent directly to the student's school to be applied toward tuition and books. To qualify, scholarship applicants must have at least one parent employed as a strawberry farm worker for the past two consecutive seasons. Students must attend an accredited vocational trade school, junior college or four-year university to be eligible for a scholarship.

Over half of those receiving funding this year represent existing students at four-year universities, community colleges or professional trade schools.

"We are not only providing financial stability for our students, but also mentorship and support throughout their programs to enable them to succeed in their goals of educational success" said Nagata.

The California Strawberry Scholarship Program has contributed to the successful completion of educational degrees, including Bachelor's, Master's and PhD programs. Many recipients have entered professions that enable them to build professional careers and give back to their families and communities. Others are close to reaching their dreams of graduating.

One such student, Alejandra Huerta graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz with a Bachelor's degree in chemistry, and is currently in her final year of studies at the University of Wisconsin at Madison to receive a Ph.D. in plant pathology.

About the Scholarship Program
Formed in 1994 by the California Strawberry Commission, the California Strawberry Scholarship Program was designed as a way to demonstrate grower's appreciation of the contributions that farm workers make. The California Strawberry Growers' Scholarship Fund was established by California strawberry growers, shippers, processors and affiliated companies to extend funding for continuing students.

Scholarship Award Ceremonies
Ceremonies are held in various cities to honor the students' achievements and recognize those who support their endeavors. The student's friends and families attend, along with local representatives and teachers. Below is a complete list of the ceremonies.

Connect with California Strawberries

About the California Strawberry Commission
The California Strawberry Commission is a state government agency that represents more than 400 growers and 100 shippers and processors of California strawberries. With a focus on food safety education, commission strategies also include production and nutrition research, public policy and consumer awareness.

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