SANTA MARIA — Pioneer Valley High School students are earned high honors this week, from scholarships to leadership positions.
Senior Evelyn Letona Robles was awarded the 2021 Gates Scholarship, a prestigious award providing the full cost of attendance to earn a bachelor’s degree. The program seeks outstanding, minority high-school seniors from low-income households.
Gates Scholars also participate in online support services and mentorship to prepare them for their career.
“Please join me in celebrating the outstanding accomplishments of this extraordinary young woman,’’ said Panther social science department co-chair and AVID advisor Kevin Ilac.
Evelyn, an AVID student, is attending Yale University as a Questbridge Scholar, another prestigious program that selects just 300 students out of 35,000 applicants.
Two students from PVHS’s Future Farmers of America chapter Gillian Villa and Elizabeth Beebe were elected president and vice president of the South Coast region FFA office.
“We are all so proud of these two young ladies,” agriculture advisor Natalie Baldwin said in a news release. “They have worked extremely hard and we can’t wait to see what else they accomplish in the upcoming year.
“They are both already leaders in our chapter, and now they will get to expand their skills and grow even more as leaders. It is especially exciting, as Gillian has made history. She is the first student ever at Pioneer Valley to be elected as regional President.”
As candidates, they interviewed and recorded speeches.
“The whole process was one of the most stressful, rewarding, and most fun experiences that I have gone through,’’ Gillian said in a statement. “When the results were posted, my mom and I were on the road when I pulled over in a parking lot to watch the video.
“Seeing my name being announced as the 2021-2022 South Coast Regional President left me speechless while my mother embraced me in a hug. The theme of my candidate speech was family, and I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for my family — both at home and with my FFA family. I am so honored to represent Pioneer Valley and to be serving on the regional officer team, and I am ready to embrace the year ahead.”
The South Coast region encompasses the area from San Jose to Los Angeles, covering eight counties.
— Annelise Hanshaw