May 28, 2004

Music to Ears of Students: Mariachi Foundation Awards $10,000 in Scholarships

With the sweet strokes of violins and viruelas, the skillful plucking of guitarrones and the stirring blare of trumpets, Sweetwater District student musicians and twirling ballet folklórico troupes took center stage at the 8th Annual Mariachi Scholarship Foundation gala dinner.

The folklorico dancers —a rainbow of authentic dresses— provided the perfect complement to the music, which also featured performances by Mariachi Cham-paña Nevin.

The highlight of the evening was the scholarship presentation. The foundation awarded 21 scholarships to Sweetwater District students and five scholarships to Southwestern College students.

“Our mission is to help these budding musicians and dancers further polish their craft,” said Foundation President Robert Griego. “The financial support provided through scholarships helps keep the dream alive for these outstanding student performers. Hundreds of our students are drawn to this genre every year. And while many of our kids have enjoyed this style of music and dance their whole lives, still others are experiencing guitarrones and viruelas for the first time ever in our schools.”

The gala was held May 14 at the Wyndham San Diego at Emerald Plaza. Student performances included renditions by the Mariachi Chapultepec de Castle Park High School, Mariachi de Castle Park Middle School and Mariachi Garibaldi de Southwestern College.

Sweetwater’s Mariachi in the Schools program connects teens to their campuses in an enriching and engaging medium. Through Mariachi music, students have the opportunity to develop an appreciation of the Mexican culture and its rich musical heritage.

What began as an after-school mariachi program at one high school in 1996 has grown into a broad program at 14 schools that together serve more than 600 students. Ballet folklórico is taught in 26 different classes.

The Mariachi Scholarship Foundation was formed eight years ago to enhance Sweetwater students’ education through the study and performance of Mariachi music. Since its formation, the foundation has awarded $60,000 in college scholarships to 100 graduates.

Through mariachi music, students have the opportunity to develop an appreciation of the Mexican culture and its rich musical heritage. The link between the performing arts and academic achievement is well-known. In Sweetwater, Mariachi in the Schools has been able to draw in students who are not participating in the traditional marching band and music programs. Strong com-munity and business partners have enhanced the mariachi program.

A special ballet folklórico scholarship was inaugurated this year in the name of former district Area Superintendent Maida Torres-Stanovik.

The 2004 scholarship winners are:

Christine Aranda Award ($1000) plus ($500) Guaranteed High School Scholarship
Yazmin A. Vargas - Chula Vista High School
California Credit Union Award ($500) plus ($500) Guaranteed High School Scholarship
Christian Gonzalez - Chula Vista High School
Guaranteed High School Mariachi Scholarship ($500)
Yazmin A. Vargas Chula Vista High School
Christian Gonzalez Chula Vista High School
David Oceguera Southwest High School –
In the name of Rudolph & Sletten
Marlene Camarena Southwest High School –
in the name of Martinez + Cutri
Jacqueline Castelo Southwest High School
Armando Galvan Southwest High School
Alexis Garcia Montgomery High School
Leah Ponce Montgomery High School –
in the name of Harris & Associates
Ricardo Montoya Castle Park High School –
in the name of Martinez + Cutri
Elizabeth Cervantes Chula Vista High School
Guaranteed Southwestern College Mariachi Scholarship ($1,000)
Lucia Vazquez Major in Biology/Music
Continuing Southwestern College Student Mariachi Scholarship ($250)
Carlos Rocha Major in Music
Citlali Villalobos Major in Biology
Ana Cristina Padilla Major in Music
Carlos Guitierrez Major in Journalism
Martinez-Cutri Middle School Mariachi Scholarship ($250)
Adrian Brown Southwest Middle School - $250
Stephanie Negrillo Montgomery Middle School -$250
Marisela Santoyo Montgomery Middle School - $250
Maida Torres-Stanovik Ballet Folklórico Perpetual Award ($500)
Abigail Baltezar Hilltop High School
Ballet Folklórico Scholarships ($200 each)
Abigail Baltezar Hilltop High School
Elaine Carballo Hilltop High School
Edyth Rodriguez Hilltop High School
Roberto Isais Sweetwater High School
Lizbeth Sota Sweetwater High School

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