The students were commended for achieving a 3.5 GPA or above in their four years at Antioch, Deer Valley and Pittsburg high schools, in addition to their community involvement and other interests.
"AAUW's thrust is to help further advanced education," said Contra Costa County-Delta AAUW President Jane Wilkins. "We have been doing this for 40 years. We want to help younger ones achieve advanced levels of education. That means going to college, recognizing these students, thus encouraging them to do more."
Past AAUW President Debbie Cummings said, "We feel it is important to recognize our students and the hand of their parents at this achievement. These youths are confident and competent in themselves. We have been doing this year after year, and it is amazing how well the students express themselves in front of a crowd."
Melissa Obligacion, 17, a 4.2 GPA honor student at Pittsburg High, participates in cheerleading and songleading. Although she has been awarded a Black Diamond Scholarship for Art, her favorite subject is algebra, and she plans to take up nursing at the University of San Francisco.
Her mom, Anabelle, said, "Melissa is very hard-working. She doesn't sleep until her work is done. She takes pride in her work. I am very proud of her."
Deer Valley senior Tina Pham has always been dedicated to her academics, but also makes time for her love of music and volunteers for the feeding program of her church, Our Lady Queen of the World. She was nominated to the National Society of High School Scholars and is considering a career in pharmacy or optometry after she earns her degree in biochemistry.
Austin Westover is the captain of the Antioch High volleyball team and has recently been accepted to Brigham Young University, where he plans to earn a degree in civil engineering.
Pat Diokno, the college counselor at Pittsburg High School, handed the certificates to her scholars. She said, "These students are so modest and humble. Thuy Nguyen has bagged a scholarship to Stanford; Juan Rubio has been awarded Contra Costa County Good Samaritan in 2006; Saul Hernandez bagged a full-ride scholarship to the New York Asian-American Journalist Conference, where he met many media biggies like (the late) Peter Jennings and Wendy Tokuda."
Hernandez was also the first Pittsburg High student to take LMC's Intro to Engineering course, which he aced.
Antioch Unified School District Superintendent Deborah Sims said in her keynote speech, "Going to college is an experience that will never be replaced. Take advantage of this opportunity you have right now. This is your time to blossom, to spread your wings and become the person you were meant to be."
Diokno, pulling from her 34 years as college counselor, said, "Statistics show that college graduates make much more money than high school graduates. I encourage the youth to give college a shot - whether in a community, vocational, or four-year college.
"It is important for the high school students to know that there is someone on campus who will guide them and meet their needs toward college. The students just have to look for their mentors. You can never be too old to go back to college."