CASTROVILLE, Calif. (KION) Girls Inc. awarded a Castroville student a $25,000 scholarship.
Catalina Perez is a student at North Monterey County High School and is the recipient of the Suzanna Patmore Gibbs Courage Scholarship, one of only three awarded in the entire nation.
Perez has big dreams of going to Harvard University for a degree in Public Health. She credits much of her academic success to an organization that helps mentor young women.
"It has been a propeller for my success in school. I think it's one of the first experiences I ever had learning about myself and the power I have. They really push you to succeed and be the best that you can," says Perez.
For Perez, this scholarship is a huge weight off her shoulders and a reminder to keep going.
"It's the first scholarship that I've ever received and I think it just pushes me to continue thriving and to continue fighting for my dream. It really reinforced my will to continue and pursue a four-year college," says Perez.
Girls Inc. provides workshops for high schools around the area on a number of different topics like health, finances, education, and career. It also provides resources and information, with some girls hearing it for the first time.
"Some of the girls will say it's the first time hearing about or talking about college and so we like to expose them to women who are already successful in their careers. We'll bring in guest speakers and the girls are able to ask questions and really learn," says Andrea Romero, High School Program Coordinator.
Perez' biggest dream is to help out her community and hopefully pay it forward.
"I want to help students like me realize that you have the ability to do more with your life and you shouldn't be afraid to leave your comfort zone and that pushing yourself can sometimes be rewarding."