With that in mind, the committee established a criterion with the help of the hospital's women's auxiliary scholarship guidelines. The auxiliary has granted more than $131,000 in scholarships to first- and second-year nursing students since 1952.
Once the application process was completed, a committee was formed to screen and choose this year's recipients.
"That was the hard part," stated Donna Morgan, Pioneers' human resources director. "They were all so special."
All three seniors selected feel special to have received scholarships.
"I feel very lucky and happy," said Gastelo, daughter of Gabriel and Lucia Gastelo of Brawley.
Gastelo has dreamed of being a nurse since she lost her younger brother to cancer seven years ago.
"That just made me want to help people even more so," she said.
She began by joining the Regional Occupational Program's nursing program at
Brawley Union High. During the past year Gastelo has earned the basic life support and certified nursing assistant certificates.
Kathleen Dean, daughter of Ernest and Susan Dean of Brawley, joined the BUHS internship program and has been working in the Pioneers emergency department. She has logged additional volunteer hours in there at the request of department manager, Robyn Atadero. Dean is following in the footsteps of her mother, a nurse. Although Dean prefers "the fast pace" of the emergency department, she would like to experience all departments, including pediatrics where she can interact with kids.
Jesse Rivas, son of Jesse and Gloria Rivas of Calipatria, earned his basic life support and certified nursing assistant certificates through the Calipatria High School nursing Regional Occupational Program. He prefers the "fast pace" of the emergency department. His ultimate goal is to become a nurse practitioner.
"We are looking forward to the future," said Santillan. "We are reaching out to our community and its needs. This is just the first of many scholarships."
"Scholarships for nursing and ancillary positions will continue year after year," agreed Richard Mendoza, Pioneers administrator. "This is an example of our board reaching out to the community by offering opportunities for worthwhile careers as well as excellent medical services for the entire Valley."