FONTANA, CA – A.B. Miller High School seniors Maritza Padilla and Gerardo Pena are one step closer to realizing their dreams of attending elite universities after being named 2019 Dell Scholars by the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, an honor that comes with $20,000 scholarships.
Padilla and Pena participate in A.B. Miller’s Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) college-readiness program.
“Winning the Dell scholarship is a great honor that gives me the opportunity to live my dream, which is to study technology and use it to share my passion for the arts,” Padilla said. “I’m still in a state of shock. I couldn’t have done it without my family, friends and teachers, who supported me along the way.”
As a first-generation college student, Padilla will attend UC Irvine and major in computer science, aiming for a career as a software engineer. An accomplished essayist, Padilla is considering a double major in creative writing. Padilla is a member or the California Scholastic Federation and the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America.
Pena divides his time at A.B. Miller as a member of ASB and the tennis team. Pena will attend San Jose State University and major in film production, looking toward a career as a movie/television producer and director.
“Winning the Dell brings me the confidence to continue my path as a creator without worrying about the financial burden that comes with it,” Pena said. “All of my struggles and hard work have been for a reason. This scholarship is confirmation that the circumstances around you do not determine your ability to achieve success.”
As Dell Scholars, Padilla and Pena will receive their scholarships over four years, a laptop and textbook credits. They will also receive access to a support network of students, peer mentors and Dell staff, with services including confidential counseling, financial aid coaching and work-life solutions.