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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Three COE Students First to Receive R.I.S.E. Scholarship

Stephanie Balvaneda, Denise Engberg and Valeria Guerrero
They graduated from Sweetwater secondary schools and will be teaching in Sweetwater classrooms when they get their teaching credential.

They are Stephanie Balvaneda, Denise Engberg and Valeria Guerrero, the first recipients of the Return, Inspire, and become a Sweetwater Educator (R.I.S.E.) Program scholarship. The three students receive a $500 scholarship, and, most importantly, they are guaranteed a teaching position after graduating from the College of Education’s credential program.

“One of my greatest fears was graduating and coming out to the world unable to attain a job in my field,” said Balvaneda, a fifth year student at San Diego State University who majored in mathematics. “Knowing that I have a guaranteed job as soon as I get my teaching credential takes care of that fear. It also motivates me to work harder and complete the program.”

Established by the Sweetwater Union High School District and San Diego State University College of Education, the R.I.S.E. Program guarantees current SDSU Compact Scholars employment opportunities in Sweetwater District schools. Students who successfully complete all program requirements are guaranteed employment with the Sweetwater District in math, science, or special education classrooms.

“The RISE Program provides tangible evidence of our community's commitment to work together to support young people -- all the way from K-12 educational programs, into high-quality collegiate experiences, and into productive careers,” said COE Dean Joseph F. Johnson, Jr. “I am especially thrilled that the community has begun contributing to scholarships for the RISE program.  Even with the prospect of a guaranteed teaching job, it is difficult for students and families to find resources for a year of tuition after completion of a bachelor's degree…I hope that more individuals recognize that they can make an important investment in the success of our community by contributing to the RISE Scholarship.”

Balvaneda agreed the scholarship money will remove some of the financial burden but being able to teach in the community where she grew up is a huge reward.

“I want to teach in the Sweetwater district because this is the district I attended. It is my home,” said Balvaneda, an Imperial Beach resident. “I know the culture and the environment, and I know I will be able to relate with my students.”