Hard-working students at Fresno's Tehipite Middle School vying for special scholarship

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- At Tehipite Middle School in Central Fresno, students are being encouraged to do their best -- from academics to athletics. On Monday, seventh grade students, staff and parents came together to celebrate their achievements and those that are vying to become a member of Steve's Scholars.

Murray and Francine Farber started the scholarship fund at Tehipite, in memory of their late son. The scholarship will reward students who keep a high GPA, attendance and serve the community with a gift of up to $2,000.

"A lot of them have very warm goals -- everything from being a lawyer to being a policeman to serving the military. I think we're trying to encourage them to think ahead," Murray Farber said.

The Farbers know graduation is a ways away but decided to give away a bike as part of the Mike's Bikes program. Students who attended school more than 95 percent of the time were all entered, and one lucky winner was selected.

"I was surprised, shocked. I was like this can't be happening. I'm dreaming or something," seventh grade student Milinea Ngeth said.

Students were also rewarded for perfect attendance, like seventh grader Suzanna Zavala, who has been in class all 180 days of the school year. "Because I just love school. I like coming here every day. All of my friends are here and my teachers. I like learning new stuff," Zavala said.

Zavala says her next goal is to become a scholar and one day become a lawyer. "From my whole entire family I might be the first one to go to college, and I want to be able to achieve that," she said.

Just last year the school saw a 3-percent increase in attendance -- something they attribute to Steve's Scholars program and also a tool to help these students to succeed.
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