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Local Retired Teachers Organization Awards $50,000 in Scholarships

Aug 02, 2018 10:50AM

At the June 6 CalRTA (California Retired Teachers Association) Division 52 luncheon, ten graduates of Diablo Valley and Los Medanos Community Colleges were recognized with $5,000 in scholarships from the Diablo Vista Retired Teachers Scholarship Foundation (associated with Division 52). These students received these scholarships towards their final two years at a four-year university. This year, due to the generosity of two families, we were able to add scholarships in addition to the two funded by the Barbara Riggins endowment and the six paid for by donations from the CalRTA Division 52 membership.


One donated scholarship honored Orville Thisius, a longtime member, and Judge Walter Rogers, his wife, Mary Rogers, and their family, donated the other. 


Our scholars, pictured left to right, back row to front:  

Brandon Espinoza Ortiz, graduate of DVC, received the scholarship from the Judge and Mary Rogers family and will be going to UC Berkeley to study political science towards a career in immigration law; Claire Costelli, DVC graduate, will attend UC Berkeley, majoring in business and economics; Brendan Sullivan, graduate of DVC, will enroll at Santa Clara University to study communications and history, leading to a professorship; Justin Rieger, Los Medanos graduate, recipient of the scholarship honoring Orville Thisius, was accepted by San Diego State University to study business;  Chloe Lannes, graduate of DVC, is interested in teaching and will attend UCLA, majoring in English; Karen Kirchner, DVC graduate, was awarded one of the two Barbara Riggins scholarships and will study English and elementary education at Liberty University to become a teacher; Sophia Romanova, graduate of DVC, has been accepted to the Haas Business School at UC Berkeley, where she will study marketing and business; Ashley Faumuina, LMC graduate and a Riggins scholarship awardee, will earn a degree in business administration at St. Mary’s College with an emphasis on diplomacy and immigration law;  and Melanie Carniglia, DVC graduate, will earn a degree in clinical psychology.  Not pictured was Sonia Bustos Barocio, graduate of LMC, who plans to attend UCLA to pursue a degree in biology towards a career in biomedical research. Sonia was unable to join us for lunch because she was accepted as one of a select group of individuals interning this summer at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Maryland. 


All ten scholars have expressed the desire and passion to give back to society through their future careers. The scholars were presented certificates of recognition by Ryan-Thomas Brown, a representative from the office of Congressman Mark DeSaulnier. For more information about joining CalRTA or donating to our scholarship foundation, go to