Ten Palm Beach County high schools students have been awarded a $500 Dr. Maria Vallejo Palm Beach State College ASPIRA scholarship to be used this fall.

The scholarship, created by Vallejo 15 years ago through a partnership with the local Palm Beach County ASPIRA chapter, helps support Latino and First Generation in College students earn a degree.

According to Vallejo, the vice president for growth and expansion and provost of the Belle Glade and Loxahatchee Groves campuses, this is the most funds awarded since the scholarship began.

Scholarship recipients are  Jennifer Sandoval, Yolinda St. Germain, Linda Sajous, Keisha Dorrine, Scheden Delva, Joanna Avila, Emilly Hernandez, Jose Kentia Amisial, Jose Kettia Amisial and Vaniele Vancol. They were chosen by Vallejo and a local ASPIRA chapter committee for their dedication to their communities, involvement in their high school ASPIRA club and for their educational goals, among others.

“I am a product of ASPIRA,” Vallejo said. “I know what it can do to boost confidence and make college possible for students.”

Vallejo was a member of a local ASPIRA club in New York during high school.

“ASPIRA counselors gave me options, told me I was smart and helped me develop my leadership skills,” said Vallejo, who eventually became the club president during her senior year.

After high school, Vallejo worked at ASPIRA as a college advisor in Manhattan and has since served on many state and local boards. Eight years ago, she created the first PBSC ASPIRA Club in Lake Worth. According to her, it was the first collegiate ASPIRA club in the nation.

The new scholarship recipients will join the club this fall. They were awarded at a ceremony held earlier this month.

To be eligible for the scholarship, students must be members of a high school or PBSC ASPIRA club, write an essay, and have a GPA of 2.0 or higher, among others. Scholarship funds are raised by local community donors, particularly Latino, and by local ASPIRA board members.

The vision of ASPIRA of Florida is to develop a better educated, more community conscious and committed youth. For more information on the scholarship, visit