Desert Sands's Students Receive CalRTA Scholarships

Students Receive CalRTA Scholarships

Students Receive CalRTA Scholarships
Posted on 05/15/2020
CalRTA 2020 Scholarships

CalRTA Division 43 (California Retired Teachers Association) is an organization of retired educators from throughout eastern Riverside County. Each year they award scholarships to students whose parents are in the business of providing and supporting education.

This year, seven $1,000 scholarships were awarded. Winners include Katherine Dolan, Kathryn Fisher, Sophia Gonzalez, Emma Ortiz, Jessenia Perez, Greta Tauferner, and Aidan Wilson.



Aidan WilsonAidan Wilson, La Quinta High School

Parent: Meredith Wilson, Las Palmitas Elementary School (Coachella Valley Unified School District)

Aidan will be graduating Summa Cum Laude from La Quinta High School this year. In addition to his academic success, Aidan was a member of the varsity swim and water polo teams. He participated in “Read Across America” for four years and was president of the Teachers Club, a member of Thespian Society, and the Environmental Club. He plans to earn his degree in the sciences of climate change, biology, or ecology at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Great TaufernerGreta Tauferner, La Quinta High School

Parent: Meredith Wheeler, La Quinta High School (Desert Sands Unified School District)

Greta participated in the International Baccalaureate Program, lettered all four years on the honor roll, participated on the dance team, and did community service with the National Charity League in which she volunteered at the Narrow Door, Bianca Rae Foundation, and Safe House of the Desert. She has not yet decided on a major, but thinks perhaps a career in engineering like her grandfather, insurance/risk management like her step-father, or a business in which she uses math. She will be attending Oregon State University in the fall.

Jessenia PerezJessenia Perez, La Quinta High School

Parents: Michele and Jesus Perez, Desert Mirage High School (Coachella Valley Unified School District)

Jessenia not only excels academically, but is involved in many extra-curricular activities as well. She was captain of her volleyball team, a member of the Spirit Club, MEChA Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Interact “Rotary” Club. Jessenia participated in many community service activities through the National Charity League Desert Cities and volunteers with the Young Woman Leaders Program of Coachella Valley. Jessenia’s dream is to become a speech and language pathologist at an elementary school that serves children in low socio-economic communities. In addition to her bachelor’s degree, Jessenia wants to earn her Masters and perhaps her Doctorate degree so that she can have her own private practice, in which she could offer free speech services. She will be attending University of Hawaii in the fall.

Katherine DolanKatherine Dolan, Palm Desert High School

Parent: Mary Dolan, Lincoln Elementary School (Desert Sands Unified School District)

Katie completed the Capstone Diploma at Palm Desert High School, which demonstrates a student’s commitment to mastering research, argumentation, and communication skills that are at the core of college academic readiness. This College Board program is a series of two one-year Advanced Placement classes. She has volunteered during her summer at Palm Desert Public Library and two years as a Junior Volunteer at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage. Katie wishes to become a physical therapist by studying at the University of New Mexico where she plans to attend in the fall.

Kathryn FisherKathryn Fisher, La Quinta High School

Parent: Laura Fisher, Assistant Superintendent Student Services (Desert Sands Unified School District)

“In the beginning, school was a means of going to college. Now, school is why I want to go to college.” Kathryn’s words depict her academic goal. After completing the International Baccalaureate Program at La Quinta High School, she is poised to begin the process of completing her doctorate degree in science. Her goal is to help people by deciphering biology’s intricate universe. Kathryn has applied to the University of California at Davis and the University of Oklahoma.

Emma OrtizEmma Ortiz, La Quinta High School

Parent: Kimberly Ortiz, Mountain Vista Elementary School (Coachella Valley Unified School District)

Emma’s participated in the La Quinta High School Environmental Club, recycling and planting flowers and bushes on campus. In addition to her academic achievements, Emma has been a member of the LQHS tennis team. She also volunteers at the La Quinta Public Library. Emma plans to attend the University of California at Santa Barbara and earn her degree in biology. She plans to become a physician’s assistant.

Sophia GonzalezSophia Gonzalez, Shadow Hills High School

Parent: Conrado Gonzalez (Coachella Valley Unified School District)

Sophia balanced her time among Advanced Placement classes, the water polo team, and Girl Scouts. She also volunteers to serve at her church, setting up audiovisual equipment, and assisting with the toddler and pre-school classes. Sophia will attend the University of California at San Diego to study in the medical program. She plans to become an endocrinologist and return to the Coachella Valley to help improve people’s lives through a free wellness center where people are able to learn about the Latino population’s diseases, especially diabetes.

For more information, visit the CalRTA Division 43 website.

Submitted by Maggie Hamilton, CalRTA Desert Roadrunner Div. 43

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