Business / Economy

San Benito High seniors receive $275K in scholarships

Residents Manny Freitas and Ian Sills discuss the cost of college and helping local students reach their dreams.

With the ever-growing cost to attend college, more and more students seek scholarships to ease the financial burden. Last week, 103 San Benito High School seniors received a combined total of $274,650 in 243 individual scholarships at a May 22 event on campus.

Sarah Meza was among the students who received scholarships from the Hollister Rotary Club, the Women’s Club of Hollister and the American Legion Auxiliary, as well as Joeven Los Banos who received a scholarship from the Filipino-American Community of San Benito County.

Associated Student Body Vice President Ian Sills received a $12,000 scholarship from the Kelly Freitas Memorial Scholarship Fund that will be disbursed in $3,000 chunks for four years. Sills, in the top 10 of his class, will attend Stanford in the fall. While there, he intends to pursue a degree in international relations with a potential double major in Mandarin.

He said that though he is fortunate to come from a family that is financially comfortable, “a price tag of $76,000 a year is daunting.”

When asked why local scholarships are important, resident Manny Freitas said, “I think when students see these opportunities that are local it encourages them to go to college.” Freitas helped start the Kelly Freitas Memorial Scholarship Fund after his wife Kelly passed away in 2010 from breast cancer.

Receiving the scholarship is helping Sills move forward.

“I think it shows care from the community for younger people,” Sills said. “They have resources from the community to support them.”

Freitas said mentoring is included as part of the scholarship.

“We will check in with [Sills] throughout the year to make sure he is doing okay,” Freitas said. “We currently have two previous award recipients in college. We have one at Sac State and one at UC Riverside.”

Freitas hopes the scholarship will be possible every year not only to honor the memory of his late wife, but to encourage other able members in the community to give back.

“We want people to realize that there are a lot of people in this county that have money,” Freitas said. “Donate locally where the money is going to stay here.”



Becky Bonner

Becky Bonner is a local teacher at San Benito High School who is passionate about sharing things to do in San Benito County.