Lariece Reyna lived in Pala until she was 12 and attended Vivian Banks Charter School and Sullivan Middle School before her family moved to Escondido. She then attended Hidden Valley Middle School and Escondido High School, and she was a member of Escondido High School’s Future Farmers of America chapter.
This year the Don Diego Scholarship Foundation associated with the San Diego County Fair awarded Reyna both a Junior Livestock Auction Scholarship and a Future Farmers of America Scholarship.
“I’m really excited to receive them,” Reyna said. “I feel really grateful for the awards I was given. My family wasn’t able to afford my college education, so this is going to help propel my college endeavor.”
Reyna will be attending the University of California, San Diego. “Being the first in my family to go to college is extremely important to me,” she said. “I’m hoping that with this college education I’ll be able to bring back what I learned and help my community.”
Reyna attended Escondido High School because it is the only Escondido Union High School District school with an agricultural science program and a Future Farmers of America chapter.
Reyna, who turned 18 on May 1, was not in 4-H before joining Escondido’s FFA chapter. Because of the cost of raising animals, Reyna raised nursery plants as a freshman and sophomore. “My junior year I was able to convince my family to let me raise an animal,” Reyna said.
She received a $135 ag boosters scholarship prior to beginning her project. Reyna raised a market lamb in 2019, and Bo weighed 103 pounds on the county fair scales. Bo sold at auction for $6 per pound, or a total of $618.
This year Reyna decided to focus on college applications and extracurricular activities rather than raising an animal. “I was planning on being a part of the landscape,” she said. “Unfortunately everything didn’t work out.”
Reyna was the Escondido FFA chapter president for 2019-20 and was also on the FFA judging team for veterinary science. She was in the FFA veterinary science program for four years and the FFA parliamentary procedure program for three years. She was in the California Scholarship Federation for three years and in Upward Bound for three years. She joined the field hockey team as a junior and was on the Cougars’ junior varsity in 2018 before making the 2019 varsity as a senior.
The San Diego Zoological Society hired Reyna to work in the Safari Park gift shop in 2019, and she was there for the end of her junior academic year and the beginning of her senior year.
Reyna would have participated in the landscape exhibit rather than the market livestock show had the 2020 county fair not been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak. “I was looking forward to it. The fair was really exciting for me last year. It was a really fun time,” she said. “I got to stay at the fairgrounds. That was super exciting.”
Reyna applied for both the FFA Scholarship and the Junior Livestock Auction Scholarship. Her grade point average was 3.98 when she applied, and the spring semester of her senior year increased her cumulative grade point average to 4.00.
Reyna plans to major in ecology behavior and evolution at UCSD. She is contemplating a career as a wildlife biologist, although she may also pursue an advanced degree and undertake a research career.
Reyna was awarded a $5,000 Junior Livestock Auction Scholarship, which was the top award, and her $2,500 FFA Scholarship was the second-highest award in that category.
“I’m super grateful to have received it and look forward to what the future holds for me, and I’m very happy I applied and grateful to the donors,” Reyna said.