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Vista Rising Star Students of the Year Honored, Scholarships Awarded

VISTA, CA, May 15, 2023 - The Vista Chamber of Commerce held the ninth annual Rising Star of the Year Scholarship Breakfast on Friday May 12, 2023.  The Vista Chamber has held monthly breakfasts throughout the school year to honor local school seniors with 48 seniors from eight different high schools honored throughout the 2022/2023 school year. Those 48 students were eligible to apply for the Rising Star Scholarships. Seventeen students were awarded over $24,000 in college scholarships at the Rising Star of the Year event.   

The mission statement of the Rising Star of the Month is to bring the community together to honor our local high school seniors for demonstrating character, integrity, love of learning, involvement in school and community activities and/or the ability to overcome challenging life circumstances without compromising their education. The core of the Rising Star of the Month is the student who makes a difference in their home, school and community with sincerity and passion. 

The seventeen students were awarded scholarships in the following categories:
Rising Stars of the Year ($2,000.00 each): 
Khalif Kamil - Mission Vista High School
Hieu Kelly - North County Trade Tech HS
Javiyah Moliga - Vista Visions Academy
Ezra Oshima - Rancho Buena Vista High School
Josephine Ortega - Major Gen. Raymond Murray HS
Simarpreet Kaur - Guajome Park Academy
Michelle Aguilar - Vista High School
Distinguished Female Award – Vista PEO Chapter  ($1,000.00):
Kimberly Delgado - Vista High School
Nikolas Ljubic Award ($1,000.00 - 1,500.00 each):
Brittany Martinez Martinez - North County Trade Tech High School
Samantha Schwalbe - Mission Vista High School
Liam Jones - Vista High School
Evan Fogel - Vista High School
Jacqueline Jacobo - Guajome Park Academy
Award of Merit ($750.00 each):
Melissa Soria - Major Gen. Raymond Murray HS
Harmanpreet Singh - Guajome Park Academy
Tevon Sesay - Guajome Park Academy
Mya Beecher - Guajome Park Academy
The students plan to attend a variety of colleges including Palomar and MiraCosta Community Colleges, Cal State San Marcos, UCSD, UCLA, UC Riverside and more. At the breakfast ceremony, the students shared their future career goals which ranged from: nursing, education, CNC manufacturing, entrepreneurship, majoring in Computer Science, Occupational Therapy, Psychobiology and Business.  Many shared their goal to return to Vista to begin their careers.

Over 100 community, civic and business leaders gathered at The Morris B. Vance Room, at the Vista Civic Center to hear from and acknowledge these students.  The student scholarships were funded by Tri-City Medical Center, Watkins Wellness, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, California State University San Marcos, Dr. Matt Doyle, J&R Auto Body and Paint, Sunrise Kiwanis Club of Sunrise Vista, Sizzler, Tory R. Walker Engineering, Vista PEO Chapter, Santa Fe Dental, Wildwood Crossing and Cantina, City of Vista and the Nikolas Ljubic Memorial Scholarship Fund. For more information on sponsorship for the Rising Star Program for the 2023/2024 school year, email

About the Vista Chamber of Commerce 
The Vista Chamber of Commerce facilitates activities, strategic partnerships, and promotional and educational opportunities to benefit member businesses and to remove barriers to successful business enterprises. For information on the Chamber of Commerce, its services, or its members, see or call (760) 726-1122. 
Photo Caption (front row then back row, left to right): 

  • Simarpreet Kaur (Guajome Park Academy), Mya Beecher (Guajome Park Academy), Hieu Kelly (North County Trade Tech HS), Kimberly Delgado (Vista HS), Michelle Aguilar (Vista HS) Samantha Schwalbe (Mission Vista HS), Jackie Jacobo (Guajome Park Academy), Javiyah Moliga (Vista Visions Academy), Josephine Ortega (Major General Raymond Murray HS) and Brittany Martinez Martinez (North County Trade Tech HS). Back row: Evan Fogel (Vista HS), Liam Jones (Vista HS), Khalif Kamil (Mission Vista HS), Ezra Oshima (Rancho Buena Vista HS), Tevon Sesay (Guajome Park Academy) and Harmanpreet Singh (Guajome Park Academy).  Not pictured: Melissa Soria (Major Gen. Raymond Murray HS)

Link to additional photos: Individual Award