Five young women from schools in Redwood City, Menlo Park and East Palo Alto are ascending to new heights this year, after being presented with scholarships that will enable them to pay for part of their college education.
Janice Bonello, student, got the news that she had won while she was in her car outside of her house.
“I want to thank the Academy!” she said. Bonello will be receiving $10,000 to help pay for tuition at CSU Monterey Bay this fall, as well as the title of “Queen of the Festival.”
The Queen of the Festival program is an annual endeavor designed to promote community service and raise money for the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Youth Programs. Since 2007, it’s been part of the annual North Fair Oaks Community Festival, which features classic festival fare such as food, rides, and parade. On August 19, 2012, Bonello and her court will be introduced to festival attendees during a crowning ceremony.
“The pomp and circumstance surrounding this standout event concludes a competition between the princesses that evolves for several months before the Festival,” Tompkison-Graham said.
The five girls who made it into the final round of competition for the title of Queen had to meet stringent criteria. The girls applied formally and submitted essays that displayed their critical thinking skills and writing abilities. They were then evaluated on the depth, breadth and commitment of their community volunteer work, Tompkison-Graham said. The competition also forced the girls to go into the community to solicit support. They to get “votes.” The girl who had the most votes is the ultimate victor, she said.
After Bonello won the Queen title, Tompkison-Graham crowned two Princesses and two finalists.
Freshly crowned Princess Cadres Shelton, a graduate, won $4,000 to attend . Itzel Gutierrez was also crowned Princess. The High School graduate will be taking coursework at Sacramento State University with the goal of becoming an immigration lawyer.
Itzel Diaz and Angela Hernandez were the two finalists. Each one won $2,000 scholarships. Diaz, a graduate, will be going to Santa Clara University to become a civil engineer. Hernandez, an Eastside College Preparatory graduate, will be going to San Francisco State.
To date, the Queen of the Festival Scholarship program has given more than $73,000 to students to pay for college. It’s raised more than $130,000 for youth programs.
The ladies will be presented to the public at 2:30 p.m. on the main Univision stage. For more information, visit
the festival's website.