BALDWIN PARK – Five students from Baldwin Park’s Jones Junior High will receive $2,000 Education Trust Awards to defray college costs thanks to California GEAR UP, a program designed to boost higher education enrollment by low-income students.

The awards were presented during an event attended by Baldwin Park Unified Superintendent Dr. Paul J. Sevillano, retiring GEAR UP coach Barbara Sedano, the students’ parents and teachers.

The 2014-15 recipients are Maria Alvarez, Aizza Carrillo, Arturo Escobedo, Shene Martinez and Victoria Sanchez.

“It is always gratifying to see our excellent students recognized by programs like GEAR UP, which will help them fulfill their potential by making college more affordable,” Sevillano said. “Congratulations go not only to our students, but also to their teachers and the school leaders who helped make this possible.”

GEAR UP stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs. So far, California GEAR UP has awarded 5,370 middle school students $10.7 million in grants to help pay college expenses.

Jones Junior High applied to participate in the program when it launched several years ago. As part of the program, the school invited students to apply for the awards in 2013-14 and this year.

School leaders led by Principal Elizabeth Cox and counselor Sergio Barragan submitted the applications to the California Student Aid Commission for consideration.

Rosa Penado, a teacher at Jones Junior High, said the awards recognize how dedicated the students are to their education.

“We often see these students struggle in their classes and give so much of themselves in order to succeed,” Penado said.

The funds will be held in trust by the California Student Aid Commission until the students enter college.

In 2013-14, six students at Jones Junior High, a California Gold Ribbon School, received Education Trust Awards through California GEAR UP.


ED TRUST: Front Row: Grant recipients Victoria Sanchez, Maria Alvarez, Shene Martinez, Aizza Carrillo, Arturo Escobedo; back row: Baldwin Park Unified Superintendent Dr. Paul J. Sevillano, GEAR UP coach Barbara Sedano, teacher Frank Murillo, teacher Cariann Nagamine, teacher Rosa Penado, Principal Elizabeth Cox, teacher Jasmin Salas, counselor Sergio Barragan.