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Community Spotlight

June 14, 2022

2022 Quarterly Spotlight- Our Community

In our third quarterly spotlight of the year, we’re focusing on our community — specifically the recipients of our annual Jack Woolf Memorial Scholarship Program.

We award Jack Woolf Memorial Scholarships every year as just one way in which we support our community. We award scholarships to dependents of HWA employees if those students apply and meet the program’s criteria, which include being enrolled at an accredited four-year university, community college, or trade school. Helping these forward-looking students achieve their higher education goals is our pleasure.

This scholarship program is named after Jack Woolf, co-founder of Harris Woolf Almonds. Jack valued both higher education and hard work; he received his three-year business degree in just two years while working several part-time jobs. He then went on to help establish a graduate agribusiness program at Santa Clara University, and he received his honorary doctorate from California State University, Fresno.

Since 2015, we have awarded nearly $250,000 via the Jack Woolf Memorial Scholarship Program. In August of 2022, we distributed a total of $23,750 to 11 qualified applicants. This year’s applicants aim to build their careers in the fields of law, education, engineering, medicine, and agriculture.

As part of the application process, applicants submit an essay responding to the prompt: “Jack Woolf valued education and understood the importance of pursuing academic goals. Why did you decide to continue your education, and what keeps you motivated?” 

Following are excerpts of their answers. Please join us in congratulating and celebrating the 11 winners of 2022 Jack Woolf Memorial Scholarships.

Geraldine Canchola
School: California State University, Fresno
Major: Political Science 

“I am attending Fresno State for a major in Political Science and a minor in Criminology. My goal is to eventually become some kind of lawyer. The justice system is huge and while it helps many it also is unjust to millions of people. I want to be able to help take care of people in the same way I was taken care of by nurses and doctors when I was fighting cancer.” 

Juan Rodriguez Chavarin
School: University of California, Merced
Major: Computer Science & Engineering 

“It is my duty to continue my education not only for myself, but my family as well. As a first-generation college student, I feel indebted to them for all the sacrifices they’ve made. Most of all… my dad. With my family by my side, with their hopes and encouragement serving me as fuel to keep me going, I will make sure to fulfill their wishes to create a better future, not only for myself, but for those whom I love the most.” 

Braulio Corona
School: California State University, Fresno
Major: Information Systems 

“My dream is to become a better individual tomorrow than what I am today… My goal at Fresno State is to obtain my Bachelor’s in Cybersecurity within Information Systems. The reason why I chose to continue my education was to be able to pursue my goal of becoming part of the FBI Cyber Division.”

Layla Corona
School: University of California, Davis
Major: Neurobiology, Physiology & Behavior 

“My parents planted the seeds for my family to develop goals, passions, and desires and I have watered those seeds with commitment, diligence, hard work, and successes in order for them to flourish into a great career in the long run. I have a desire to pursue higher education in hopes of obtaining a career in the healthcare field to impact the lives of others.”

Natalie Franco
School: University of California, Merced
Major: English 

“I keep my mother’s encouraging words in my mind, as well as her journey and struggles. I’m here to make her proud, no one else; her acceptance and encouraging ways are really the only tools I need to stay motivated… This scholarship would be a helping hand on reaching my passion of becoming an educator. I hope to one day be able to spread the importance of education.” 

Marline Gomez
School: San Joaquin Valley College
Major: Clinical Medical Assisting 

“My dream job is to be a nurse practitioner with a specialization in kids so I can work at a children’s hospital… As the oldest sibling and cousin in my family, I must set an example for my younger family members who will one day go off to college. I encourage them to do good in school and start setting goals for themselves.”

Teresa Gomez
School: West Hills College
Major: Child Development 

“My goal is to work with preschoolers or kindergarteners, first as an associate teacher and then as a full-time teacher. I want to give those young ones a head start in their education and motivate them so that they enjoy being in school.”

Griselda Gonzalez
School: California State University, Chico
Major: Sociology 

“One of my biggest goals is to complete my education and achieve my academic goals, and I wouldn’t be able to do that without the support of my family… They serve as my inspiration to graduate and find a good job so that I can repay everything they have done for me.” 

Luzelena Martinez
School: California State University, Fresno
Major: Biology (Pre-Med)

“I absolutely love science and find everything about medicine fascinating, so it was an easy decision to continue challenging myself educationally after high school. My decision to attend a state university close to home fulfilled my priorities of continuing my medical school journey and being close enough to watch my little sisters grow up. I find peace in learning, knowing the answer, and using my knowledge to do good.” 

Octavio Zarate Rocha
School: University of California, Davis
Major: Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems 

“My parents value education more than anything else and made sure that I had anything needed to obtain my higher education and succeed in life. Therefore, I would be lying to not answer the prompt by giving both of my parents a lot of the credit on why I continue to pursue my dream of obtaining a higher education and being the first individual of our family to get a college degree.”

John Velasquez
School: Fresno City College
Major: Kinesiology 

“This journey is going to be a long ride with many obstacles that interfere as time goes on. Keeping my head up and striving for greatness is what it’s going to take in order to walk on stage and receive a degree. Becoming a PE teacher is going to allow me to be a good role model and to impact how students see the importance of maintaining a healthy body.”