Sep 07, 2018
Raised by a drug-addicted mother and her grandparents, Angelina Torres was once told her place was in the home—not college.
Today, she’s a Social Work major at Humboldt State. She’s also among 23 students who won the annual California State University Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement, the CSU’s highest recognition of student achievement. The awardees will be publicly recognized during the CSU Board of Trustees meeting in Long Beach on Sept. 11.
The CSU recognizes students from each campus in the CSU system with the Trustees’ Award, which accompanies a donor-funded scholarship ranging from $6,000 to $12,000. As the second-highest-scoring award recipient, Torres will receive a scholarship totaling $9,000.
“These student scholars embody the leadership, diversity, and academic excellence the California State University is known for,” says CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White. “They have traced unique paths to their goal of a higher education and serve as powerful examples to their families, communities, and California. The awards will give these high-achieving and deserving students even more opportunities to attain their academic and career goals.”
Students are selected for their exceptional efforts in the classroom and community. Awardees demonstrate superior academic performance, personal accomplishments, community service, and financial need. Many have shown inspirational resolve along the path to college success and, like Torres, are the first in their families to attend college.
“I don’t come from a whole family of academics,” says Torres. “I grew up in an environment where education was not discussed or tolerated. In fact, my grandfather told me that I would never make it in school and that my job was to cook and clean.”
She says the award represents how far she’s come and all the support she has received along the way.
“The scholarship is more than about winning money,” she says. “It’s about people who believe in me. It also shows me that my goals are achievable and I can be what I want to be, which is amazing.”
Despite dropping out of high school, she went on to earn her GED. She attended Shasta College while working full-time and raising her children. She made the dean’s list and earned associate’s degrees in art (A.A.) and in science (A.S.).
With a 4.0 GPA, she’s now on her way to earning her bachelor’s degree from HSU in spring 2019. Torres has been dedicated to raising awareness of suicide prevention in Humboldt County. In 2015, she started and chaired a walk for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which raised $20,000.
Looking ahead, she plans to pursue her master’s degree in social work, go to law school, and be the best mom she can be.
“My kids have kept me going and I don’t want them to have a childhood they have to recover from,” she says. “My goals are to fully support them through college not only financially, but also emotionally.”