2017 Al Teglia Jobs for Youth Scholarship Winners! Photo Credit: Hal Kataoka

Congratulations to our 2017 Jobs for Youth Al Teglia Scholarship Recipients


Isabela Acenas is the daughter of immigrants from the Philippines, attends Burlingame High School and currently has a 4.5 GPA. In 2016, she was awarded the Jefferson Award for her work with the House of Love Project, which she founded for children in Manila’s impoverished farming and underserved migrant community has sponsored over 400 cataract treatments, cardiovascular surgeries and other medical procedures. Closer to home and within her Asian-Pacific Islander community, she is the founder of the Philippine Consulate’s Youth Coalition where she is involved bringing unity to, and presenting issues relevant to the Filipino-Pacific Islanders in the Bay area. Additionally, she participates as a leader in the Mid-Peninsula Boys and Girls Club, developing and implementing leadership and environmental science within that community. Isabela intends on furthering her education in earth science at either UC Berkeley, New York University or Columbia University.  2017 Scholarship Sponsor - PG&E

Paola Ayala Amezcua is a first generation Mexican American immigrant whose parents came to the United States to secure a better life for their family. Her first hurdle was to learn the English language and now she helps her peers at Pescadero High School understand difficult academic concepts and study for exams, and she helps younger girls in the Jose Valdez Math Program during the summer. Additionally, she is a leader of the Empowering Young Women’s Mentoring Program, part of the Sheriff’s Activities League and a member of Puente; another community group that serves the Pescadero community. Paola volunteers at the Second Harvest Food Bank at Pillar Ridge in Moss Beach, Christmas Toy Program, domestic violence programs, movie nights, clothing drives, senior citizen visits, and local parades and festivals in Half Moon Bay and Pescadero. Paola has an older brother continuing his education, and it will be difficult for her family to support both. Paola wants to go to a university and get a degree in political science or communications and matriculate to Law School. This scholarship will help her achieve that goal and defray the costs of her education.  2017 Scholarship Sponsor - The Brandi Law Firm

Joscelin Azucena Aguirre is the daughter of Guatemalan immigrants who came looking for a better life for themselves and their children. As a member of Sequoia High School International Baccalaureate program where she takes challenging courses, she is a member of the advanced dance class, and involved in competitive cheerleading. Additionally, Joscelin is the president and founder of the Save the Animals Club at Sequoia High School which raises awareness about animal cruelty, participates in local beach cleanups and organizes fundraisers to donate to local animal shelters. She also volunteers with the SPCA because it is her dream to one day graduate from medical school, become a veterinarian, and run her own animal refuge. As a Latina, from a low-income immigrant family, Joscelin intends to be the first in her family to go to college and graduate with a doctorate in veterinary medicine and will use the money she receives from her scholarship to assist with college expenses. Joscelin is a two time Al Teglia Jobs for Youth Scholarship Recipient! 2017 Scholarship Sponsor - City of Millbrae

Sofia Betteo comes from a low income family, has experienced domestic abuse as a child, and has been raised by her hardworking single mother. She transferred from Carlmont High School to Pescadero High School and quickly assimilated by not only having the highest GPA in the school, but by assisting her fellow students and infusing them with her love of learning. In addition to helping her fellow students, Sofia has served as an intern at the Half Moon Bay Library during the summers of 2015 and 2016 where she tutored children with reading, assisted with summer camp, and organized craft and cooking activities. She has received multiple academic excellence awards, been accepted into a summer engineering program at San Francisco State University: and participated in Tech Trek: a science and math camp for girls at Stanford University.  She also has been the vice president of Youth and Government's Pescadero delegation for two years and is the newly elected president for the 2017-18 academic year.  She is the producer of her own media team, is a member of the varsity volleyball team and captain of the varsity softball team in addition to working part-time. Sofia plans on attending a four-year university to study business and will use this scholarship to ease the burden of paying for an education.  2017 Scholarship Sponsor - Philanthropic Ventures

Leslie Civil is a quiet role model who demonstrates her resilience through actions. As an International Baccalaureate and AVID student at Sequoia High School, she has maintained a GPA of 3.5 and above while supporting her peers through participation in the Dream Club, a student club that creates educational opportunities for undocumented students through political activism and fundraising through scholarships. Additionally Leslie has taken part in the North Fair Oaks Youth Initiative as a leader and advocate for community change, has traveled to the Dominican Republic doing volunteer work, and was awarded the Sequoia Awards Scholarship for volunteer and academic performance. She intends to be the first in her family to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in nursing, and will use this scholarship to reduce the financial burdens that plague first generation and low-income students like her. Leslie is a two time Al Teglia Jobs for Youth Scholarship Recipient! 2017 Scholarship Sponsor - Philanthropic Ventures

Jessica Garcia comes from a low income broken home and will be the first generation in her family to attend a four year college where she intends to become a social worker, so she can help youth in similar situations like hers. At Sequoia High School she is a member of AVID (a class that supports low income and first generation college students) Upward Bound (a project dedicated to improving the success of low-income and first generation students), and the Key Club, which discusses volunteering opportunities. Additionally, she is enrolled in several International Baccalaureate courses and recently completed a college-level course at Canada College, travelled to the Dominican Republic with Global Glimpse to participate in volunteer work, and has tutored both elementary school students with Project Read and recent immigrants at English Learners at Sequoia. Jessica plans to use this scholarship to help with the costs of books and supplies, while she furthers her education with a goal of becoming a social worker.  Jessica is a two time Al Teglia Jobs for Youth Scholarship Recipient!  2017 Scholarship Sponsor - Philanthropic Ventures

Raul Gomez graduated from Capuchino High School, taking International Baccalaureate courses with a 3.66 GPA and is currently enrolled in the nursing program at the University of San Francisco (USF). Starting life with diagnosed physical problems, which continue to this day, Raul now found a direction and purpose in his life. In addition to being the coxswain on the Stanford youth rowing team, an active member of the Robotics club and the Interact (community outreach) club, he was also a member of the Drama production team, and an accomplished Thespian; while working at two jobs. Outside of school, Raul volunteered at the San Mateo County California Children Services in San Bruno, where he assisted physical therapists in running exercise classes for youth, worked the teen crisis line for StarVista, volunteered at Mills Peninsula Hospital, and worked last summer as an assistant teacher for Big Lift Inspiring Summers at Thomas Edison Elementary School. As a nursing student at USF, he plans to use this scholarship to defray the costs of his education.  2017 Scholarship Sponsor - Michael Wendler in memory of Joy-Ann Wendler.

Jacqueline Kao is a student at San Mateo High School who has a passion for helping others, something she has been involved in since the sixth grade when she joined the Rotary International sponsored The Interact Club. In elementary school, a speech pathologist helped her overcome a speech impediment, which set Jacqueline on a course to become a speech pathologist in order to rectify difficulties in language and speech and empower other children, like her, to feel more confident. Jacqueline enjoys working with children.  Some of her favorite volunteer experiences include assisting at a local pre-school during the summers and helping special needs children express themselves through dance at Dance Arts Center’s Special Needs Dance Program (S.N.A.P).  While continuing to be active in school service clubs, outside of school Jacqueline is a member of the Foster City Youth Advisory Committee (YAC).  The Committee’s purpose is to foster greater youth involvement in community. Jacqueline’s father recently became unemployed, which has impacted her parent’s ability to fund her and her sister’s college education. Receiving this scholarship will help her with the future costs of going to college to reach her goal of becoming a speech pathologist.  2017 Scholarship Sponsor – Wells Fargo

Xavier McNally is a senior at Aragon High School who has made the Principal’s Honor Roll with a 3.57 GPA as a member of the Directed Studies (independent) and High School Wellness program for students with disabilities. Because Xavier comes from an economically disadvantaged background, a single mother supporting three sisters and one brother, he has had to work at paying jobs since he was 14. He is currently the cashier in the school cafeteria. As an accomplished vocalist and thespian he is receiving a Beach Blanket Babylon Scholarship to work with the American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) Young Conservatory, performing and fundraising in a musical ensemble. Additionally, Xavier is the youth representative to the Parish Council at St. Gregory Church helping and volunteering whenever needed, whether it’s mentoring children or serving food. Last summer he was chosen by the City of San Mateo as the student ambassador to its Sister City, Toyonaka, Japan where he performed, toured and greeted people. Xavier is currently auditioning for colleges in theater and film and plans to use this scholarship to help pay his future college expenses as he pursues his dream in performing arts.  Xavier is a two time Al Teglia Jobs for Youth Scholarship Recipient!  2017 Scholarship Sponsor – Al Teglia Jobs for Youth Scholarship Fund

Rafael Navarrete-Vargas is the oldest of six children from a Mexican immigrant family, who has learned the lesson of hard work that his parents have taught him. At Pescadero High School he has maintained a cumulative 3.8 GPA while participating in basketball, baseball and soccer, where he was the team captain. He plans on being valedictorian of his senior class, graduating and attending a university to major in computer engineering or electrical engineering as well as business administration, and continuing on to receive his Masters. His choices of universities would either be University of Southern California, or University of Notre Dame -- both highly respected and expensive schools. Since his father cannot afford to send all of his qualified siblings to college, Rafael understands that scholarships will help him with reaching his goals, and plans to use this scholarship to help with the expenses of purchasing the equipment he needs to reach his goals of graduation and matriculation to a University.  2017 Scholarship Sponsor - International Brotherhood of Electrical Engineers

Julissa Pluma Polvo is one of three siblings whose parents work long and hard to provide a life for them. She is a member of Canada College Upward Bound program, a program that helps prepare low- income and first-generation students for a higher education. As an International Baccalaureate English student and member of AVID, she has worked as a bilingual tutor at her school’s English Language Development department, helping recent immigrant students with mathematics, Project Read, and helping elementary students learn to read.  A member of the Key Club at Sequoia High School, she helps children whose families are in jail.  In addition, she is a member of BUILD, which designs, produces and sells products. Julissa dreams of becoming a pediatrician in order to give back to her community. As a previous scholarship recipient, she will use the resources from this scholarship to help her pay for the education needed to realize that dream.  Julissa is a two time Al Teglia Jobs for Youth Scholarship Recipient!  2017 Scholarship Sponsor – Woodlawn Foundation

Carina Ramirez Reyes is a low-income student at Sequoia High School who intends to be the first in her family to attend college. Both her parents work hard to support her and her sister who was born with Down syndrome, and it is this same sister who has inspired her to become a physical therapist in order to help those in similar situations. During high school she has worked after school and on weekends to help her with the family expenses, while maintaining her high school curriculum. Carina has taken summer school classes and will seek assistance when in need, a skill she has developed while in school and one that will sustain her in her future college endeavors.  From starting her first two years in English Intensive classes, she is well on her way to graduate. An inspiring and determined young woman, Carina intends to be a successful college student and a benefit to her community. She will use the money from this Scholarship to help pay for books, transportation and school supplies while she studies to become a physical therapist.  2017 Scholarship Sponsor – Woodlawn Foundation

Karoline Reynaga Cazares is a first generation low-income Latina student who is an example of what the AVID program and Cañada College Upward Bound/Trio program at Sequoia High School can produce.  This year she won two awards: the “Redwood City Sesquicentennial High School Contest and Art Show” and “Vernon Dahmer Voter Hall of Fame Award,” and is getting prepared to attend a four year university. She has participated in an array of volunteer activities through Sequoia’s Environmental Club and Key Club in addition to working to help her family.  As a gymnastics coach. Karoline wants to major in psychology or communication studies when she attends college, and would use this scholarship to defray the costs of books, tuition, and other educational related fees.  Karoline is a two time Al Teglia Jobs for Youth Scholarship Recipient!   2017 Scholarship Sponsor – Woodlawn Foundation

Vanessa Rodriguez Zavala, who comes from a hardworking single parent family has to work to help her family provide the necessities of life, and will be the first member to attend college. At Pescadero High School she is a disciplined student and athlete participating in volleyball, soccer, softball, and is a leader on the basketball team. She is active in her community through the Sheriff’s Activity League and Puente, volunteering at the Second Harvest Food Bank, the Christmas Toy Program, domestic violence programs, movie nights, and clothing drives.  She also visits with seniors at the Senior Center and is a leader and mentor with the Empowering Young Women’s Program of the Sheriff’s Activity League, where she attended the Valdez Math Program over the summer to help with her academics. Vanessa intends to attend a four-year University to study criminal justice and would use this scholarship to help with the costs of her future education.  2017 Scholarship Sponsor – Jobs for Youth Committee

Rebecca Truong is the daughter of Vietnamese immigrants who instilled in her a desire and determination to academically succeed. As a recent transfer to Jefferson High School, she has maintained a 4.066 GPA and taken two community college math courses (Analytic Geometry with Applied Calculus, and Calculus I). She is co-captain of Jefferson’s swim team. Additionally, she was elected to the Student Advisory Committee of the Jefferson Union High School District. She has volunteered as a chess tutor as well as a reading/writing tutor for young children. She has participated in computer programming and Chinese immersion summer/weekend camps, attended UC Berkeley’s REACH program, and works at a farmers market on weekends. Rebecca will attend UC Irvine this fall where she intends to receive an education that will enable her to become an agent of change in this world. She will use this scholarship to help defray the costs of her education and expenses while living away at college.  2017 Scholarship Sponsor – City of Daly City

Leslie Vazquez De Leon’s parents immigrated to the United States so she and her sibling could live a better life. As a first generation, low-income student at Sequoia High School she has maintained a 3.3 GPA over four years, while taking International Baccalaureate and ICAP courses. As a participant in both AVID and Upward Bound, she has demonstrated a strong commitment to serve others, participating in the North Fair Oaks Initiative through the Siena Youth Center to help lead and coordinate the 5th annual Latino OYE Conference, Amigos de las Americas.  She participate in a volunteer abroad program, where she traveled to Yucatan, Mexico to facilitate workshops and lead student activities. She has also dedicated some afternoons to tutoring students in the English Learning Department with basic English and math skills.  Leslie has developed a passion for learning and yearns to create a better life for herself through education.  She intends to attend a four-year college to pursue a career in either psychology or criminal justice. Leslie will use this scholarship for her college expenses, like books and supplies, housing fees, and contribute towards her college tuition.  Leslie is a two time Al Teglia Jobs for Youth Scholarship Recipient!  2017 Scholarship Sponsor – Jobs for Youth Committee

Zhen Xu immigrated to the Unites States with her parents when she was nine years old speaking little English, and is now on a course to be the first in her low-income family to attend college. Of course, this did not come easily, she got extra help from the Homework Center at Jefferson High School, attended extra classes and is now taking AP classes her senior year. From being shy and introverted, she now passes on the lessons she learned from the time she didn’t speak English, and shares them with other students being bullied. At Jefferson High School she is a member of the Fil-Am Club, the Key Club, the Fashion Club, the Art Club, CSF/GATE, the Mission Fusion Dance group and the badminton team. During the summer she has given back to her religious community by being a counselor at Hope Lutheran Church’s Summer Day Camp. Additionally she is a member of Youth Creating Change, a program sponsored by UCSF bringing together students into workshops to tackle problems in their community. Zhen is focused on a career in marketing and to that end, plans on a double major: communication and business administration. She will use this scholarship to assist with her college tuition, textbooks, transportation and housing.  2017 Scholarship Sponsor – Jobs for Youth Committee

Maria Ines Zavala-Cardoso is the daughter of Mexican immigrants, now divorced, who work hard in the nursery business in Pescadero and support their daughter’s goal of being the first in their family to go to a four-year college to study criminal psychology. Maria attends Pescadero High School, because she lives with her father and brother at a ranch there. As a Latina, she works hard to overcome the obstacles life has placed in her path and has developed into a hardworking, diligent student whose persistence has pushed her to succeed. Maria is also involved in her community, as a participant in both Puente and the Sheriff’s Activities League.  After joining, she quickly became a leader in the Empowering Young Women’s Mentoring Program, volunteering at Second Harvest Food Bank and other events sponsored by the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office; all while working part-time in the YMCA kitchen. Maria will use the funds she receives from this scholarship to help pay for her tuition and books.  2017 Scholarship Sponsor – City of Daly City

Diane Zermeno is a student at Sequoia High School who will graduate this June to become the first in her family to attend college.   Her family was evicted from their home and she had no choice but to relocate to her aunt’s house to finish school, and is basically living on her minimum wage paycheck and her internship. As a member of the Siena Youth Center and the North Fair Oaks Youth Initiative, she has advocated for housing rights and education. As a leader among her peers, she rose through the ranks of the North Fair Oaks Youth Initiative to become the first appointed voting youth member in the history of the North Fair Oaks Community Council advocating for her community and the youth within it. She has led a drug alternative workshop for youth, a communication workshop between parents and youth, and has won Sequoia High School’s highly competitive junior PTSA Scholarship for both being a first generation student and one who exemplifies service. Diane plans to major in broadcast journalism/communications when she matriculates this fall and will use this scholarship to help with the costs of her education and the supplies needed for that.  2017 Scholarship Sponsor – Jobs for Youth Committee

Haolin Zhu immigrated to the United States with his parents in search of a better life. Unfortunately, life did not become immediately better. The inability to speak English, and bullies at school were the first of the barriers he faced. Taking a vigorous course load at Jefferson High School, that includes Advanced Placement English, U.S. History, and chemistry, college-level classes through UC Berkeley’s Academic Talent and Development Program for computer and software skills, and during the summer, participating in MIT Online Science, Technology, and Engineering Community program; have allowed him to succeed academically. He is a member of Jefferson’s varsity badminton team, lead programmer in the Robotics club, part of the Key Club, the Environmental Club and the California Scholarship Federation.  In addition, he has also volunteered with the Youth Leadership Institute and the North County Prevention Partnership to create a positive impact by advocating against alcohol, tobacco and drug use by teenagers. Haolin plans to pursue civil engineering in college and will use the funds from this scholarship to finance tuition, housing, transportation, textbooks and supplies while in college.  2017 Scholarship Sponsor – City of Daly City