John Ascuaga's Nugget celebrated their achievements and supported the dreams of these graduating seniors during its 53rd annual scholarship awards luncheon.
Scholarships of $1,000 each were awarded to students representing all areas of northern Nevada, including students graduating from Sparks, Reed and Spanish Springs high schools.
Scholarship winners represented a wide variety of interests and backgrounds, and some students will be the first in their families to pursue a college education.
"You'll be so glad you shouldered the wheel, completed your course and met your goal," said Stephen Ascuaga, chief operations officer of the Nugget. "It speaks to the talent, hard work and brain trust represented by these students. We're looking forward to seeing where all of you will go."
Many students will attend the University of Nevada, Reno, while others are headed to Stanford, Gonzaga and Colorado State, among others. They will pursue degrees in many different fields, including medicine, biology, chemistry, business, nursing, engineering, teaching, music, journalism and ecology.
Alexander Fiannaca, from Spanish Springs High School, was one of the scholarship recipients.
"I will be attending the University of Nevada, Reno in the fall," Fiannaca said. "I will be majoring in biochemistry and my goal is to attend medical school."
Sparks High School scholarship recipient Juan Lara described his plans for the future.
"I plan to study business, but I have not decided whether to pursue a degree at UNR or the University of Texas," Lara said.
Maureen Choman, the scholarship recipient from Reed High School, was unable to attend the luncheon.
The Nugget scholarship program is one of the longest-running academic achievement programs in Nevada. Applications were reviewed by the Nugget Scholarship Committee and winners were chosen based on academic achievement, financial need, community involvement and activities outside of school.
Since the program began in 1956, more than 500 local students have benefited from more than $400,000 in college scholarships.
Two $1,000 scholarships were also awarded to Basque students in honor of the Ascuagas’ Basque roots, called the "Sorospen Award." John Ascuaga sought to provide "sorospen," or the Basque equivalent of "help or aid," to students who overcame challenges during their academic and childhood years in order to attend college.
The Sorospen Basque scholarship winners are Oscar Zambrano (Hug High School) and Anna Moreno (Pershing County High School).
This year's scholarship winners are:
Juan Lara, Sparks High School
Maureen Choman, Reed High School
Alexander Fiannaca, Spanish Springs High School
Lydia Peri, Carson High School
Margaret Nelson, Churchill County High School
Matthew Barnes, Damonte Ranch High School
Bret Remington, Dayton Valley High School
Kristin Lovell, Douglas High School
Jalisca Whelchel, Eureka County High School
Vase Bari, Fernley High School
Anna Koster, Galena High School
Teava Noy, Hug High School
Savanna Richards, North Valleys High School
Bryan Cholico, Lowry High School
Tyler Mendiola, Manogue High School
Logan McCoy, McQueen High School
Shelby Graham, Pershing County High School
Audrey Hoel, Reno High School
Charles Mann, Smith Valley High School
Lacie Young, TMCC (Reed High)
Robert Barrington, Virginia City High School
Diane Mar, Wooster High School
Rebecca Nolan, Yerington High School
Every Nugget scholarship winner's photo will hang in the lobby area of the Nugget near the Starbuck's for the next year. After that, their names and photos will be forever contained in an electronic kiosk along the scholarship wall, and can be accessed many years into the future.