From St. Helena Star: Napa Valley Community Foundation scholarships available for local students

January 27, 2020, Staff

A veteran, an American Canyon student and a St. Helena resident are among those who have received scholarships from the Napa Valley Community Foundation. In 2019, NVCF awarded 76 scholarships totaling $259,060 to local students for the current academic year.

Veteran Xavier Bianchi is a George and Gwendolyn Goodin Scholarship recipient who transferred last fall from Napa Valley College to the University of San Francisco, where he is working toward his bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and serving on the Bay Area Student Veteran Leaders Council.

“This scholarship has made it possible for me to accept admission to an institution like the University of San Francisco,” said Bianchi. “Even with financial aid and the GI Bill, I’ve had to take out federal loans to pay tuition each semester. This scholarship will enable me pursue my education without taking out more loans, so I am not placing myself in serious debt long after I complete undergraduate, law and business school.”

The George and Gwendolyn Goodin Scholarship Fund, a permanent endowment that was established at NVCF with a gift from the estate of Mr. and Mrs. Goodin, longtime residents of Yountville, has so far supported 25 local veterans.

The Fruit of the Vine Scholarship Fund was established by an anonymous Napa Valley winegrower and is focused on students who are first in their families to pursue a college education. Jan Eric De Castro is a 2015 graduate of American Canyon High School and a 2019 graduate of the University of California San Diego who received The Fruit of the Vine Scholarship all four years of his college education.

“During my senior year in high school, I was skeptical that I would be able to afford going to a university; my mom is a single working parent and even though I received some grants, it wasn’t enough. Thanks to Napa Valley Community Foundation and the Fruit of the Vine Scholarship, I was able to fill the gaps and pay for college without having to worry about expenses. I graduated Cum Laude with a major in Human Computer Interaction and a minor in Design, and I’m now starting my first full-time job as a designer.”

The Lenore Hirsch-Jay Falk Scholarship Fund was established by Lenore Hirsch in memory of her husband, Jay Falk, who immigrated to the U.S. and worked hard at overcoming educational challenges to earn a bachelor’s degree in economics from Golden Gate University.

St. Helena’s Tara Beltrami, a 2013 recipient of the The Lenore Hirsch-Jay Falk Scholarship, said, “The scholarship I was awarded helped me to earn my bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management and Tourism and start my first job at a winery, working with the winemaker to learn the business from the ground up. As a deaf individual, I am proud of my accomplishments and this scholarship helped me to reach my dreams.”

Lenore Hirsch had a long career in education, where she taught many students who were very bright but faced challenges to learning. It was her hope, in establishing this scholarship fund, that the scholarship would give a boost in confidence to Napa County students who have worked hard to overcome barriers, and will attend a two- or four-year college program in general education.

Deadline is March 5
Officials of the Napa Valley Community Foundation are encouraging students and teachers to apply for the scholarships it makes available each year at this time, thanks to the generosity of local donors. The deadline to apply for scholarships for the 2020-2021 academic year is March 5, and awards range in size from $300 to more than $5,000 per year.

Scholarships are available for local military veterans, or the dependents of military veterans who died while in active service; graduating seniors from local public high schools and transfer students from Napa Valley College; teachers throughout the valley who are pursuing further education; and Calistoga youth studying music.

For more information, and to apply, visit napavalleycf.org/nonprofits/apply-for-a-grant/scholarships, or contact Napa Valley Community Foundation at 707-254-9565 or scholarships@napavalleycf.org.

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