FONTANA, CA – Jose Martinez and Jimmy Salvador Contreras – two Fontana High School seniors with a passion for serving others and bettering their community – will further their education with the help of a $20,000 scholarship from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.
Martinez and Salvador Contreras are among 500 students nationwide to be named 2022 Dell Scholars and receive a scholarship spread over four years, textbook credits, a laptop, and access to a support network of students, Dell staff and peer mentors.
From the moment they set foot on Fontana High School’s campus, both students embraced the learning opportunities and resources available to them – joining the California Scholarship Federation, the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program, athletics, honors, Advanced Placement (AP) courses and more.
Martinez credits four years of involvement in AVID, Upward Bound and the Pomona College Academy for Youth Success (PAYS) for instilling the motivation and skills to succeed in school, encouraging him to attend college and helping him find a sense of purpose and community.
“All the amazing people in AVID, Upward Bound and PAYS have been really encouraging to me and shown me what is possible for my future,” Martinez said. “One of my counselors from Upward Bound wrote my letter of recommendation for this scholarship, and my mentors in PAYS were my first introduction to what it means to be Latinx in college. Because of them I’ve learned to dream big, not limit myself, make the most of every opportunity and to keep going even when there are obstacles.”
Martinez’s path to college – which will take him to UC Berkeley in the fall to study political science – was also inspired by his family. He describes his older brother Jonathan, who is attending UC Riverside and is the first person in their family to attend college, as his “blueprint for success.”
After earning his bachelor’s degree, Martinez hopes to attend law school and then serve his community – either as a judge or a politician – by breaking down language barriers and making government and the legal process accessible to the Latinx community.
“My love for law and government developed early on; even back in elementary school, these subjects really intrigued me,” Martinez said. “I want to be someone that the Latinx community can connect with, to make the government more available to them and to show them that they have a voice.”
Salvador Contreras, who describes Fontana High School as his second home, has served in the Associated Student Body (ASB) for the last four years and dedicated himself to fostering a sense of community and school spirit on campus.
He credits the community he found on the FOHI campus – as well as the AVID program and rigorous honors and AP courses – for helping him step out of his comfort zone and develop habits that have prepared him for college.
“I have met amazing people here. My teachers and coaches have helped me grow into the person I am,” Salvador Contreras said. “Especially my ASB director, [Mr.] Sindelar, who has been one of my biggest mentors. He really helped me break out of my shell, become a leader, and get involved in all the things I’ve done in my time at FOHI. I am incredibly grateful to have such a support system here.”
That support system helped Salvador Contreras navigate the loss of his mother to cancer during his sophomore year, followed by the school closures and remote learning prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Bolstered by his school community, Salvador Contreras remained engaged in campus activities and focused on his studies, determined to honor his mother’s memory by going to college and to earn scholarships to alleviate the stress of paying for higher education.
“My parents have always told me to do what I love, make something of myself, and to make the most of the opportunities that were available to me,” Salvador Contreras said. “It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve kept going because I want to make myself proud and make them proud. I’ve had great role models in my parents and my older siblings, and I want to be that inspiration for my younger sibling and show everyone who comes after me what’s possible.”
Salvador Contreras was accepted to all nine universities he applied to and has his sights set on UCLA, where he intends to major in applied mathematics and minor in computer science – two subjects he said he loves because they allow him to problem-solve and think outside the box.
“Congratulations to Jose and Jimmy, who have continued the legacy of Dell Scholars from Fontana Unified who have demonstrated excellence in the classroom and a commitment to serving others,” Fontana Unified Superintendent Randal S. Bassett said. “We look forward to seeing what they will accomplish as they head to college and enter the professional world.”
FUSD_DELL_MARTINEZ: Fontana High School senior Jose Martinez has been recognized as a 2022 Dell Scholar, an honor awarded to just 500 students nationwide.
FUSD_DELL_SALVADORCONTRERAS: Fontana High School senior Jimmy Salvador Contreras has been named a 2022 Dell Scholar, an accolade that comes with a $20,000 scholarship, a laptop and more.