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California Charter Schools Association Awards Scholarships to 10 Outstanding Charter High School Graduates as the Academic Year Closes

June 27, 2023

Students with diverse backgrounds and personal experiences receive statewide honor

SACRAMENTO, CA – The California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) has selected 10 exceptional charter high school students to receive the 2023 Susan Steelman Bragato Scholarship, a statewide award honoring seniors who have overcome adversity, given back to their communities and are pursuing post-secondary education in the fall.

“The Bragato scholarship winners embody California’s charter school ethos of perseverance, resilience, and determination,” said CCSA President and CEO Myrna Castrejón. “Without question, these scholars will leave an indelible mark in our world and in the lives they touch, and we’re proud to support them in their journey.”

The 2023 Bragato Scholarship winners are a true representation of the diverse communities that charter public schools serve in California. The students’ collective academic achievement also reinforces key findings of a recent Stanford University report that indicates California charter public schools are strong, effective, and producing superior academic gains.

Susan Steelman Bragato was the co-founder of the first California charter public school and founder of the California Network of Educational Charters, the precursor to CCSA. Her legacy continues through her namesake scholarship program.

Each 2023 Bragato Scholarship recipient received $2,000 to help with costs during the first year of college. Below is a list of the winners and brief summaries of their personal stories.

PLEASE NOTE: Media interested in interviewing recipients can email Ana Tintocalis, CCSA Senior Director of Media Relations/Editorial Content Strategy:

Recipients by Region:

Los Angeles

·      Beaux Cable
Graduate of Granada Hills Charter (Granada Hills)
University Accepted: University of Southern California

Beaux hopes to reinvent and rebuild parts of L.A. with a degree in civil engineering. Beaux founded “Connecting Immigrants to Citizenship” at his local library after seeing the need for this free service while helping his father navigate the naturalization process.

·      Leslie Marcia
Graduate of Granada Hills Charter (Granada Hills)
University Accepted: University of Southern California

The daughter of Salvadoran immigrants, Leslie is the first in her family to graduate high school and attend college. She plans to enter the healthcare profession upon graduating from USC. Leslie volunteers at a local hospital helping Spanish-speaking patients.

·      Ricardo Martinez
Graduate of Alliance Judy Ivie Burton Technology Academy (Los Angeles)
University Accepted: Stanford University

Ricardo avoided a life of drugs and gangs by focusing intently on his education. In high school, he formed a student club to address mental health issues on campus. After graduating from Stanford, he wants to establish an education tech company that will help all types of learners.

·      Vincent Mohr
Graduate of Vaughn Next Century Learning Center (San Fernando)
University Accepted: Point Park University, Pittsburg

Vincent was the leader of his high school’s Gay Straight Alliance Club, which seeks to make campuses safe places for all students. He was accepted to Point Park University’s dance program and hopes to become a professional ballet dancer.

·      Jacquelyn Samilton
Graduate of Granada Hills Charter (Granada Hills)
University Accepted: University of California, Irvine

A member of her school’s robotics team, Jacquelyn is a student of color who wants to establish her own nonprofit to encourage more girls to embrace science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). She gives back to her community by collecting and donating school supplies to families in need. 

San Diego County 

·      Kira Cook
Graduate of High Tech High North County (San Marcos)
University Accepted: Nova Southeastern University, Florida

Raised by a single mom, Kira has a deep sense of volunteerism and plans to become a special education teacher. She was the only girl on her school’s varsity baseball team but worked with her teammates to foster understanding and mutual respect. 

·      Ari Kalpakgian
Graduate of Classical Academy High (Escondido)
University Accepted: Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio

The oldest of seven children, Ari aspires to be an attorney specializing in white-collar crime or criminal defense. He’s a talented violinist who plays in a local youth orchestra. He volunteers at local nursing homes, where he plays his violin for residents.

·      Noah Martineau
Graduate of Escondido Charter High (Escondido)
University Accepted: Palomar Community College

Noah developed his passion for kinesiology after discovering weightlifting. A certified Taekwondo instructor, he wants to improve the health and wellness of others by establishing his own fitness coaching business. 


Northern California/Bay Area

·      Joshua Gluck
Graduate of Western Sierra College Academy (Rocklin)
University Accepted: William Jessup University, Rocklin

Joshua is a scientific-minded percussionist who will pursue a degree in commercial music with the hopes of producing soundtracks for the movie industry. He volunteers at a small nonprofit that helps relocate Afghan refugees to the Sacramento region.

·      Evelyn Vidrio Avalos
Graduate of Luis Valdez Leadership Academy (San Jose)
University Accepted: Santa Clara University

Evelyn’s academic journey began as an English learner. She is the first in her family to graduate high school and attend college. She plans to pursue a career in environmental sciences. She volunteers as a poll worker helping Spanish-speaking voters.

About the California Charter Schools Association
The vision of the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) is to build great public schools of joy and rigor that prepare all California students for success in college, career, community, and life. The mission of CCSA is to meet parent, educator, and community need for great public school options by supporting and advocating for high quality non-profit charter schools and sharing their success throughout California’s public schools. Learn more