Estrella Rivera remembers first learning of the Live Mas Scholarship offered by the Taco Bell Foundation as a ninth-grader at Segerstrom High School.
“When I was a freshman, I wanted to apply but I really didn’t know how I should go about it,” said the first-generation high school senior from Santa Ana. “You needed to create a video talking about your passion, and at the time I knew my passion was engineering, but I didn’t how to create the video. ”
The club offers a College Bound program that helps students navigate the transition from high school to college and even helps parents navigate financial aid.
This month, Rivera received a $10,000 scholarship from the Taco Bell Foundation as a Live Mas Scholar. The Boys & Girls Club threw a Taco Bell block party with Santa Ana kids and parents to celebrate.
“That was when it actually hit, because we were taking pictures in the grass and then all of sudden they said, ‘Oh, we have your check here,’” said Rivera.
Rivera is one of 150 students graduating from high school this year who participated in the program, which partners gay dating hookup apps with Santa Ana, Orange and Newport-Mesa Unified school districts. She began attending webinars and meeting with her academic advisor, Gabby Esparza, in .
“Our College Bound program prepares our students for post-secondary pathways after high school,” said Esparza. “Whether it be college, a four-year or two-year, trade school or even the military or work force.”
“I did volunteering during COVID, so I would help out making cards for the elderly,” said Rivera. “I would also come in during the summer every Wednesday and sort canned food in bags to distribute them.”
“Miss Gabby, she is amazing,” Rivera said of Esparza’s guidance. “Whenever I had a question or didn’t know where to start, I would go to her and she would answer any questions that I had.”
Advisors also meet with the students once a month to get to know their interests and what kind of career paths they might be considering.