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Ernesto Sanchez shakes hands with students before the Foundation ceremony begins

Foundation awards record number of scholarships to YVC students

For Yadira Chavez, receiving a scholarship puts her one step closer to her dream of being the first in her family to earn a college degree. Chavez was joined by more than 200 other students selected by the Yakima Valley College Foundation for its 2024-2025 academic year scholarships. Students were presented with their awards during a ceremony on June 4. In total more than $750,000 was awarded with an average scholarship of $4,000.

Chavez, who received a scholarship of $4,000 from the Koch Memorial and Alfred and Genevieve Gallucci Family, is working toward her associate of applied science degree in accounting.

“The scholarship I received from the YVC Foundation has made a significant difference in my life,” said Chavez. “The extra financial support has relieved my concerns about affording course materials and books, allowing me to focus on my studies.”

Chavez’s inspiring journey earned her a speaking invitation at this year’s event. Guests also enjoyed a performance by Seiko Werts, Yakima Symphony Chorus who performed “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

“As for me and many other students, English is our second language; we need extra time to focus on assignments. With the additional funds from the scholarship, we can focus more on our studies and worry less about working outside to cover our expenses.” – Yadira Chavez, student

Receiving the scholarship from the YVC Foundation was not just a financial boost for Chavez, but a lifeline. It alleviated the stress of managing some bills, allowing her to focus more on her studies and excel academically and helped improve her overall health.

“Before receiving the scholarship, I was juggling a full-time job and trying to keep up with my studies,” said Chavez. “I often found myself staying up late to complete assignments on time, which took a toll on my health and well-being.”

With financial support from the scholarship, she was able to transition from a full-time job to a part-time position.

“This change allowed me to dedicate more time to my studies, reducing stress and significantly improving my overall health,” said Chavez. “Thanks to the scholarship, I have a manageable school and daily life because I don’t have to worry that I will not be able to pay tuition, books or the materials I will need for my courses.”

Board Member Chafeka Abedellatif is excited to be part of the YVC Foundation and help support students like Chavez in their journey. An alum of YVC, Abedellatif knows first-hand the impact these awards have on students.

“Having the privilege to serve on the YVC Foundation Board not only allows me to serve the students but our community as a whole,” said Abedellatif. “The cost of higher education is an obstacle for many, sometimes so much so that it deters potential students from furthering their education.” 

“This scholarship helps provide and helps us get our daughter through school.” 

– Rheannon Gray, mother of scholarship recipient

Being involved in the scholarship process has been both humbling and rewarding for Abedellatif. 

“I have read, via scholarship applications and student narratives, so many amazing stories,” she said. “Being involved has allowed me to see firsthand how the support generated from these scholarships help many students finish their degrees and enter the workforce or move on to higher education.”

Another student whose journey has been impacted by the support from the Foundation is Kailey Ramirez, who will be entering her second year at YVC in the fall and is working towards a transfer degree.

“Receiving this scholarship is extremely important to me,” said Ramirez. “It gives me a financial lift and helps remove some of the financial burden on my shoulders.”

Ramirez says that taking more classes next year will be within reach thanks to funding from the Don and Helen Jewett scholarship.

Since its establishment in 1977, the YVC Foundation has provided more than $8 million in scholarships to Yakima Valley College students.

View all 2024-2025 recipients.

Yakima Valley College and the YVC Foundation thrive through donations. For more information about the YVC Foundation or to become a donor please call 509.574.4645 or make a gift online.