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Dearden's Announces 2001 College Scholarship Finalists.

LOS ANGELES, July 10 /PRNewswire/ --

Dearden's today announced the names of 40 outstanding high school seniors selected to receive its annual college scholarships. Recognizing the accomplishments of deserving bilingual students from communities surrounding Dearden's stores, the Dearden's Scholarship Program awards $1,000 to each one of 40 finalists selected every year. This money is set to defray the costs of attending a 4-year college of the students' choice. In addition, all scholarship recipients are offered part-time employment at Dearden's as a means of earning additional college money, an opportunity favored by many previous finalists.

Ronny Bensimon, senior vice president and COO of Dearden's, highlighted the significance of the scholarship for company management and employees. "Everyone in the Dearden's family is extremely proud to recognize the outstanding achievements of this terrific crop of high school students, and we wish them all a highly rewarding college career." Scholarships are granted on the basis of various factors including academic achievement, community service and financial need. Originally established in 1965 as a means of community outreach, the Dearden's Scholarship Program is open to bilingual seniors from 20 high schools surrounding Dearden's stores in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. College counselors at the eligible schools submit four students from each school for initial consideration. After a careful interview process, a Dearden's committee ultimately chooses two students from each school. "It's never an easy choice," Bensimon added, "the students are all exceptional in their own particular way. But it's always gratifying to witness such extraordinary academic talent in our own backyard." This year's finalists will attend some of the nation's most prestigious universities in the coming fall, including Stanford, Dartmouth, Brown, MIT, Georgetown, Wellesley, Smith, UC Berkeley and UCLA.

Dearden's was originally established in 1910 and is the oldest furniture store in the western United States. Founded by Edgar Dearden in downtown Los Angeles, the company has spread to six retail outlets across Los Angeles and Orange Counties. In the late 1950's, responding to a rapid growth in southern California's Hispanic population, Dearden's geared its business almost exclusively towards Hispanics. It currently sells furniture, electronics, appliances, jewelry and perfume, in addition to providing travel and free check cashing services to its customers. Dearden's is also highly active in supporting charitable organizations and community activities. In addition to its college scholarship program, its yearly "Para los Ninos" golf tournament benefits at-risk children and their families. Other charitable organizations supported by Dearden's include the United Way, the American Red Cross and "Navidad en el Barrio". In 1994, Dearden's received the "Philanthropist of the Year" award from the American Red Cross.

"The Dearden's Scholarship Program represents a major investment in our community. And we eagerly look forward to the contributions each of these individuals will ultimately make in return," Bensimon concluded.

The complete list of scholarship finalists is as follows:

2001 Dearden's Scholarship Program Finalists

Vanessa Ramirez Bell H.S. Liberal Arts (Sarah Lawrence College)

Javier Beltran Bell H.S. Civil Engineering (UC Berkeley)

Jacqueline Vergara Belmont H.S. Psychology (UC Berkeley)

Gilberto Steve Rivas Belmont H.S. Computer Science (UC San Diego)

Liliana Espinoza Century H.S. Business Administration

(Cal State Fullerton)

Jonathan Robledo Century H.S. Civil Engineering

(Cal State Fullerton)

Elisa Perez El Monte H.S. Political Science

(Georgetown University)

Faviola Zavala El Monte H.S. Biology/Spanish

(University of Redlands)

Michelle Gavilanes El Rancho H.S. Undeclared (UCLA)

Elisa Hernandez El Rancho H.S. Psychology (Stanford)

Alma Mejia Franklin H.S. Biology (UC Berkeley)

Griselda Jimenez Franklin H.S. Chemistry/Forensic Medicine

(UC Riverside/Cal State LA)

Nancy Mendez Garfield H.S. Lawyer (Wellesley College)

Leonard Alfaro Garfield H.S. Biology/Physical Therapy

(Cal State Long Beach)

Lily Martinez Huntington Park H.S. International Business

(Dartmouth College)

Zaher Lopez Huntington Park H.S. Political Science

(UC Berkeley)

Maritza Hernandez Lincoln H.S. Biochemistry (Cal Sate LA)

Marjorie Sosa Lincoln H.S. Art (UC Davis)

Wendy Marrufo Mountain View H.S. Medicine/Sports Doctor

(Stanford)

Daniel Melendez Mountain View H.S. Computer Science/Electrical

Engineer

(UC Santa Barbara)

Bridget Mendez North Hollywood H.S. Pre-Business (UCLA)

Michael Nagle North Hollywood H.S. Computer Science & Management

(Massachusetts Institute of

Technology)

Brenda Rodriguez Polytechnic H.S. Undeclared (UCLA)

Luis Ramon Quintero Polytechnic H.S. Film & Digital Media

(UC Santa Cruz)

Leslie Pedro Roosevelt H.S. Undeclared (UCLA)

Julio Mata Roosevelt H.S. Biology/Pre-Medicine (UCLA)

Liliana Medina San Fernando H.S. Business, Political Science

(UCLA)

Alfredo Bocanegra San Fernando H.S. Mechanical Engineering

(Massachusetts Institute of

Technology)

Angelica Cordova Santa Ana H.S. Psychology

(Chapman University)

Oscar Cachon Santa Ana H.S. Undeclared (UC Santa Cruz)

Lyrva Garza South El Monte H.S. Business Administration

(Cal Poly Pomona)

Luis Chavez South El Monte H.S. Television Broadcasting

(University of La Verne)

Laura Isidoro South Gate H.S. Mathematics/Trigonometry

Teacher

(UCLA)

Linda Gonzalez South Gate H.S. Biology/Environmental Science

(Brown University)

Mayra Garcia Valley H.S. Biology (Scripps College)

Jose Hernandez Valley H.S. Engineering (UC Irvine)

An Hong Tran Van Nuys H.S. Chemistry (Smith College)

Regina Ragasa Van Nuys H.S. Biology/Pre-Medicine

(Mount Saint Mary's College)

Leticia Callela Wilson H.S. Music (Northeastern)

Daniel Heras Wilson H.S. Anthropology (UC Berkeley)

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