Fontana High School (FoHi) is proudly sending off three exceptional scholars to prestigious universities across the United States. These bright minds: Jasmin Hurtado-Mendez, Josue Arias-Ramirez, and David Munoz-Padilla, have earned remarkable scholarships that will enable them to pursue their dreams and carve a path towards their desired careers.
For Hurtado-Mendez, the news of her acceptance to UC Berkeley was an incredible moment. Alone at home, she stared at her computer screen in disbelief. But the excitement didn’t end there—she soon discovered that she had also been named a UC Regents’ and Chancellors’ scholar. The significance of this achievement sank in as she realized the opportunities that awaited her.
As a UC Regents’ and Chancellors’ scholarship recipient, Hurtado-Mendez will not only benefit from $42,000 in financial aid but also enjoy priority enrollment, guaranteed housing, faculty mentorship, research fellowships, healthcare, and access to an exclusive network of accomplished alumni. Her passion lies in environmental science, and she aspires to become a conservation ecologist. Engaging in various activities such as serving as FoHi Associated Student Body president, participating in Key Club, theater, choir, and the college-prep elective AVID, Hurtado-Mendez gains diverse perspectives and remains focused on her education.
“This is a great moment for my family,” Hurtado-Mendez expressed with gratitude. She acknowledges her mother as a significant inspiration, always encouraging her not to limit herself and follow her passions. Her sister played a crucial role in assisting her throughout the application process. Furthermore, she expresses deep appreciation for her exceptional teachers, including her freshman AVID instructor, theater teacher, and ASB adviser.
Munoz-Padilla’s journey toward his scholarship began when he joined the Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) program as a freshman. His role involved mentoring younger students referred to as “Littles.” Demonstrating remarkable commitment, Munoz-Padilla established a BBBS club on campus during his junior year and recruited over a dozen more mentors. It was his unwavering dedication to the program that earned him the distinction of being named one of two 2023 Mentors of the Year, accompanied by a $2,500 scholarship.
Alongside his active involvement in the BBBS program, Munoz-Padilla served as FUSD’s 2022-23 Board of Education student representative. At Columbia University, he intends to pursue political science, although he remains open to exploring other possibilities. Inspired by his family, who immigrated from Mexico, Munoz-Padilla advocates passionately for education reform. Additionally, he contributed his insights as a member of the City of Fontana’s Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council.
Reflecting on his experience with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Munoz-Padilla finds it incredibly rewarding. He cherishes the opportunity to work with children, and bidding them farewell on his last day was a bittersweet moment. Munoz-Padilla extends his gratitude to Big Brothers Big Sisters for the valuable experience and acknowledges the unwavering support from his family, who continuously push him to strive for excellence.
Arias-Ramirez’s innate curiosity and quick learning abilities enabled him to become a Questbridge National College Match scholar, securing his admission to Boston College, where he plans to study computer science. The Questbridge scholarship, valued at over $200,000, covers tuition, room and board, books and supplies, as well as travel expenses, alleviating the financial burden for Arias-Ramirez and his family.
While his involvement in the FoHi marching band and wind ensemble as a trumpet player has been a significant part of his high school experience, Arias-Ramirez also ventured into another musical direction. Last year, he acquired a used guitar and taught himself how to play within days, showcasing his adaptability and passion for learning. As he bids farewell to the camaraderie, musical diversity, and exhilarating competitions of the marching band, Arias-Ramirez expresses gratitude for the friendships and connections he made along the way.
“Technology has always intrigued me. When I was young, I dreamt of working for NASA,” shared Arias-Ramirez. Winning the Questbridge scholarship has been an emotional experience for him and his family. Although he hadn’t anticipated venturing to the East Coast, he is delighted that his hard work has paid off. He expresses fondness for his alma mater, FoHi, and acknowledges the immense impact of his freshman AVID teacher, Ms. Harrod, along with the exceptional educators who have guided him on his journey. These three remarkable scholars from Fontana High School are destined for greatness. Their stories not only inspire their peers but also serve as a testament to the power of dedication, perseverance, and support from family and educators. As they embark on their higher education journeys, the future holds boundless promise for Jasmin Hurtado-Mendez, Josue Arias-Ramirez, and David Munoz-Padilla.