Central Unified students receive scholarship in remembrance of Janessa Ramirez

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Janessa Ramirez was standing in front of a laundromat two years ago when she was killed by the crossfire of a gang dispute, but her legacy lives on through a scholarship in her name. (KFSN)

Central Unified is honoring the legacy of a nine-year-old student who was killed two years ago.

It's been two years since Janessa Ramirez was killed. The 4th-grader from Steinbeck Elementary was standing in front of a laundromat when she was hit by the crossfire of a gang dispute.

"It was a huge blow to this community," said Joe Doyland with The Foundation For Central Schools. "And what better way to honor a young little girl than giving her name to this scholarship program."

Despite the devastating turn of events, Doyland, along with his fellow foundation for Central Unified schools board members, are making sure her name lives on.

For a second year, six graduating seniors will receive a $2,500 scholarship in her name. Out of 40 applicants, recipients were chosen based on more than academic excellence.

"We had conversations with Janessa's mother to find out what really embodied Janessa and what she really stood for," Doyland said.

Janessa's mother, Stacy Gonzales Ramirez, says that it's a love of community.

"Our seniors, we want the best for them when they graduate from our schools," Central Unified Superintendent Mark Sutton said. "To do whatever they want to do and this scholarship will help them in their endeavors."

The four Central East and two Central West students who won the scholarships learned Janessa's story upon applying, making their award extra meaningful.

"Almost all of them said they were really humbled by the fact they were named as a recipient of this scholarship," Sutton said.

Scholarship winners will be announced this Saturday at a dinner and fundraiser will be held at Yribarren Family Vineyards.

Ticket information is available here, www.centralfoundation.org

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