By Sarah Mosquedo | Staff Writer | Daily Pilot | May 18, 2021

Estrella Rivera remembers first learning of the Live Mas Scholarship offered by the Taco Bell Foundation as a ninth-grader at Segerstrom High School.

“When I was a freshman, I wanted to apply but I really didn’t know how I should go about it,” said the first-generation high school senior from Santa Ana. “You needed to create a video talking about your passion, and at the time I knew my passion was engineering, but I didn’t how to create the video. ”

Fortunately, Rivera also became involved with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Orange Coast in Santa Ana, which has had a long-standing relationship with the Taco Bell Foundation. The club offers a College Bound program that helps students navigate the transition from high school to college and even helps parents navigate financial aid.

This month, Rivera received a $10,000 scholarship from the Taco Bell Foundation as a Live Mas Scholar. The Boys & Girls Club threw a Taco Bell block party with Santa Ana kids and parents to celebrate.

“That was when it actually hit, because we were taking pictures in the grass and then all of sudden they said, ‘Oh, we have your check here,’” said Rivera.

Rivera credits the club’s College Bound support system for her successful scholarship bid.

The year-round program provides academic support and sponsors numerous college pathway activities. Rivera is one of 150 students graduating from high school this year who participated in the program, which partners with Santa Ana, Orange and Newport-Mesa Unified school districts. She began attending webinars and meeting with her academic advisor, Gabby Esparza, in October 2020.

“Our College Bound program prepares our students for post-secondary pathways after high school,” said Esparza. “Whether it be college, a four-year or two-year, trade school or even the military or work force.”

Read the full article online. And join us in congratulating Estrella as she achieves her higher education goals!