Escondido, CA

$72,500 in Don Diego Scholarships will propel 30 exceptional area students to notable colleges

Don Diego Scholarship Foundation announced that it has awarded a record $72,500 in college scholarships to 30 students who reside throughout the San Diego area and have participated in the San Diego County Fair and/or other activities associated with the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Several Escondido students were included among the winners.
The students will be feted at Don Diego’s Dinner and Kansas Concert Gala at the Fair on June 7 (tickets are still available) before heading to prestigious UC and Cal State campuses; highly regarded universities in Idaho, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Hawaii and elsewhere; and even legendary Notre Dame.
Executive Director Chana Mannen, who has overseen the scholarship process since the Foundation’s inception in 1986, reports, “This year’s crop is amazing. We received the most applications ever. Our selection committee had the challenging task of evaluating qualifications and interviewing finalists; all outstanding and deserving. The cream of the crop rose to the top and we are proud to present our Class of 2018.”
Scholarships at multiple levels were awarded in the categories of 4-H, FFA, Employee, Exhibitor/Participant, Vocational Education and Junior Livestock Auction participant.
The coveted $5,000 Spanjian Family Scholarship was bestowed upon the most outstanding recipient: Angelina (“Gigi”) Manasan, who also received the top $5,000 Exhibitor/Participant scholarship. Gigi, who lives in San Diego and graduates from the Academy of Our Lady of Peace, will use her $10,000 award to attend Creighton University in Nebraska.
Hailey Baldwin of Fallbrook won the top $5,000 FFA scholarship as well as a $2,500 Jr. Livestock Auction scholarship for a total award of $7,500. Hailey, who graduates from Escondido High with a 4.2 GPA, will major in Agricultural Science at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Being an FFA leader opened Hailey’s eyes internationally, she says. “I learned that by 2050, the global population is expected to grow to over nine billion people. Our society must be better educated about the importance of investing in agriculture, because this population is in dire need of a larger and safer food supply.”
Tierra Mathews graduates second in her hometown Valley Center High class and will use her total $7,500 award to major in Animal Science at Colorado State University. She won top $5,000 4-H and $2,500 Jr. Livestock Auction scholarships. Excelling in academics and athletics, hardworking Tierra has served as a lifeguard, San Diego Zoo Safari Park clerk, veterinarian volunteer and in several other community and faith-based capacities. Teacher and 4-H advisor Nichole McGinnis calls Tierra “a shining star – always glowing and growing to be the light … constantly striving toward excellence … streaming toward her future with enthusiasm and commitment.”
Additional Escondido Scholarships
Briana Kier, Escondido, $1,000, Southwestern College.
FFA: Tori Pedersen, Escondido $2,500 + $1,000 Jr. Livestock Auction, Cal Poly SLO.
Grace Parker, Escondido, $1,000; University of Wyoming.
Elizabeth Melott, Escondido, $1,000, Cal Poly Pomona.
In addition to being celebrated at the Gala, each of the 30 Scholars will be honored with a Legacy Brick to be installed at the Don Diego Legacy Fountain at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. They will be highlighted on the Foundation’s website and social media.
Chana Mannen says, “With nearly one million dollars awarded over the past 32 years, the Don Diego Board appreciates all of the generous donors who enable us to continue supporting idealistic future leaders of our community. Together, we are building a better San Diego, one scholarship at a time.”
The Don Diego Scholarship Foundation was named for Don Diego, AKA Tom Hernandez, who served as the Fair’s welcoming goodwill ambassador from 1947-1984.
To date since its inception in 1986, the Foundation has awarded $938,500 in scholarships to 234 students and in agriculture education grants. More information is at and

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