EVERETT — Isaura Vasquez-Garcia’s favorite school subject is English, even though it’s her second language.
The Sequoia High School senior, 18, loves reading and writing. She likes writing stories about mysteries and drama. Vasquez-Garcia is drawn to tales of change and conflict, such as her favorite book “Someone to Love Me” by Anne Schraff.
She can relate to those characters and experiences.
Vasquez-Garcia was 10 years old when her mother brought her to America from El Salvador. Memories of that journey stuck with her, even as new challenges came when she reached the United States. She didn’t speak English, didn’t know anyone outside of her family, and felt bullied in school when she first started.
It made her feel like she shouldn’t go to class, so she didn’t.
But teachers encouraged her to come back and keep trying. Others helped her understand the lessons, especially in math.
Now she has a visa and looks forward to studying at Everett Community College this fall with a goal to teach English to students like her.
“It feels like a dream,” Vasquez-Garcia said. “I look back and I’m already graduating.”
A Rotary Club of Everett scholarship worth $1,000 will help defray some of the costs.
She’s one of 58 scholarship recipients celebrated Tuesday night at Everett Civic Auditorium. All of the scholarship winners are students at Cascade, Everett, Jackson and Sequoia high schools, or Everett Community College.
The service group doled out $281,500, to the students, the largest scholarship amount in its history. Amounts range between $500 and $25,000.
“What the Everett Rotary does every year for our students is incredible,” Everett School District superintendent Ian Saltzman said in a statement. “These 58 students have worked hard throughout high school and are ready for their next educational opportunities. Having some financial assistance always makes the path a bit easier! My heartfelt gratitude to the Rotary for all their support.”
School counselors work with Rotary members work with to identify and interview candidates before choosing who gets the scholarships. The Everett club has awarded over $5 million in scholarships to date.
“Members of the Everett Rotary Club and our community partners believe that education powers progress,” club president Greg Lineberry said in a statement. “In a world faced with so many challenges and uncertainties, our club was humbled by the achievements and aspirations of our award recipients, and we are happy to support them as they advance their knowledge and skills.”
Rotary Club of Everett scholarship winners
$25,000 Anthony G Bozich: Prabhman Aujla, Cascade; Anthony Espinosa, Cascade; Johny Ho, Cascade; John Nguyen, Cascade;
$12,500 Brett Akio Jensen Memorial: Angela Bui, Cascade
$10,800 Loren Baker Memorial: Emma Weir, Everett
$10,000 Fluke: Annicka Pollack, Everett
$9,000 Steve & Jo Saunders: Laith Dirsiye, Everett; Ronan McKague, Cascade; Revy Rae Roberts, Cascade; Lilli Thompson, Everett
$6,000 Hermes-Kimball: Laura Alcantar Soto, Cascade; Amelia Facchini, Cascade
$5,800 Bill Dobler Memorial: Zoe Lockeman, Sequoia
$5,000 Larry O’Donnell Rotary President: Audrey Weir, Everett
$5,000 Ted Wenta Scholarship: Kristina Brown, Everett; Fatou Manneh, Cascade
$4,800 Pat Miller Memorial: Mariana Oliva-Jauregui, Cascade
$4,500 Evertrust: Jasper Fernandez, Cascade
$4,000 Leavitt Group Northwest: Helena Vazquez, Sequoia
$3,200 Hol Mabley/Kay Lyons: Sarah Harrington, Everett
$3,000 Botesh, Nash & Hall Architecture: Romel Palayon, Cascade
$3,000 Compass Health Mental Health: Nick Clarke, Cascade; Bimmy Kaur, Cascade
$3,000 Goldfinch Brothers: Nate Leonard, Sequoia; Matthew Scheuffele, Cascade;
$3,000 Rubatino Refuse Removal: Emma Larson, Everett
$2,600 Evelyn Hoffman Memorial: Stephanie Alcaraz-Guido, Everett
$2,500 Ruth and Warren Huber: Sofiya Kylyukh, Everett Community College
$2,500 Everett Clinic Healthcare: Berenice Pineda-Osburn, Everett Community College
$2,500 AVID Interview Scholarship: Katie Brown, Everett; Aaron Smith, Cascade
$2,200 Thomas & Davis Rainville: Ashleigh Gilbee, Everett
$2,000 AVID Interview Scholarship: Binta Baldeh Cascade; Pernell Facey, Everett
$2,000 Adelaide Dykstra Memorial: Taylor Marsall, Everett
$2,000 Providence General: Jordan Heiser, Everett
$2,000 Dwayne Lane’s Auto Family: Andrea Clark, Sequoia; Ryan Sanchez Everett
$2,000 Helen Jackson: Celeste Richard, Everett
$1,800 Fred Sjoholm Memorial: Darshay Grace, Cascade
$1,700 Bernie Webber Memorial: Emelia Feldman, Cascade
$1,600 Don Loken Memorial: Becca Rupe, Everett
$1,000 AVID Counselor Scholarship: David Escamilla-Gonzalez, Sequoia; ; Saara Johnson, Everett; Richelle Leon, Sequoia; Liberty Scott, Sequoia; Mariam Sylla, Cascade; Isaura Vasquez-Garcia, Sequoia.
$500 AVID Shopping Spree: Katie Brown, Everett; Ariana Chavez, Cascade; Moussa Diaby, Cascade; Arecia Durham, Cascade; Mindy Ellis, Sequoia; Heunth Gonzalez, Cascade; Isaak Jacoby, Sequoia; Joshua Omololu, Everett; Jemyre Reed, Everett; Holly Schoales, Everett.