The Hesperia Chamber of Commerce this month along with co-sponsors Victor Valley Marketing Group and Southern California Edison awarded $3,000 in scholarships to five Hesperia graduates to help pay for college.
"I'm excited because I know it's going toward my college experience," recipient and Oak Hills High School graduate Karina Moreno, 17, said. She plans to attend Cal Poly Pomona for a degree in biology and animal sciences and advance to UC Davis to become a veterinarian.
"I'm very proud of her — she's a well rounded individual," said mother Becky Moreno, who was a teen when she had Karina. She said she's proud of Karina's desire to contribute and her daughter's ability to accomplish what she didn't.
Two recipients' future plans will focus on the physical and mental health of people.
"I want to balance out children," said Hesperia High School graduate Karen Rocha, 17, who will major in psychology at UCLA to become a marriage and family therapist. Her goal is to help children whose lives are affected by high divorce and suicide rates, as well as low self-esteem. "They are the future."
"I think it's amazing," Rocha said of being awarded the scholarship. "I'm really grateful."
Hesperia High school graduate Abdallah Ashour, 18, called the scholarship a great achievement, one that happened in spite of some obstacles he faced like attending school and playing basketball, while also helping take care of his eight siblings after their father got ill.
Inspired by his father's illness, he'll be a nursing major at San Diego State to eventually become an orthopedic surgeon.
"So that I can help the world," Ashour said, "to help people who suffer from injuries."
Hesperia High School graduate Brittany Goss and Sultana High School graduate Vanelly Duarte were also awarded scholarships.
Chamber board of directors member Shannon Shannon said choosing five students out of more than 25 applicants was tough.
"(We're) looking at the whole student," Shannon said. "It's a very hard process — all good applicants."
Chamber President/CEO Yvonne Woytovich said they matched the $1,500 in donations they received from SCE and VVMG because of the "outstanding" applicants.
"One of the things we want to support is the community," VVMG member Gayle Walker said. "Without out supporting the community as a whole we won't get the same return."