Being a public servant is what Marisol has chosen as a career. She is currently participating in a two-year program at ITT Technical Institute studying Criminal Justice to fulfill her plan to become a police department investigator.
"My family is proud of me because they know I am putting a determined effort into schooling that will make a difference in my life and those of others," says Marisol.
Marisol's mother, Maria Montufar, was brought to California at age 19 by her young husband to work with him in harness racing at Los Alamitos. These emigrants from Guatemala next found work at Hollywood Park, where Maria began grooming horses for trainer Richard Mandella. She continued to work with him for over 20 years, grooming horses such as Memo, Minor Detail, Golden Trip, and Separata. In 2002, Maria switched employment to groom for Mandella's son, Gary, when he established his own training stable.
Maria is a mother of seven children, raising them solely since her husband's death some time ago. "The Edwin J. Gregson Foundation scholarship could not be better spent than by helping Marisol with her dream of going to school," expressed Richard Mandella. "She and her mother are truly deserving of such worthwhile assistance from an industry Maria has worked so hard for."
Robert J. C.
Robert is a student at Citrus Community College. Initially focusing on Journalism, he has switched his major to Sociology, where it is his goal to become a therapist and eventually open a family and marriage counseling practice. A personable and energetic young man, in high school he was involved in Concert Band, Varsity Soccer & Track, Tennis, and Guitar Club. He is active in his community, belonging to the Salvation Army Youth Band and also participates in their Emergency Food Services Disaster Relief Program to feed the homeless.
Robert comes from a very hard-working, devoted family that is behind him in every step. Sister Kathleen precedes Robert as a Gregson Foundation scholarship recipient over four consecutive years, receiving her degree in Journalism in 2007 from Cal State Fullerton.
"I believe Robert is a productive, well-rounded young man," says trainer Mike Harrington. "He shows potential for being a great member of society, and given the right tools, he will surely become an asset in the workplace."
Born in Bolivia, Robert's father, John Cisneros, started his career in 1984 as a jockey at Santa Anita. He traveled to San Francisco to do his apprenticeship, and after four months of a successful meet, he returned to Southern California. He raced at Santa Anita, Del Mar, and Hollywood Park. At the end of his five-year jockey career, Cisneros worked three years with trainer Clifford Sise, Jr. as an exercise rider. He currently works for trainer Mike Harrington as his assistant trainer. He has ridden some nice horses for Mike over his fourteen years, highlighted with horses such as Swiss Yodeler, Yolo Lady, and Breeders' Cup runner Buck Trout.
With the assistance of a Gregson Foundation scholarship grant, Jorge has attended and completed the Automotive Technology Program, offered by accredited Universal Technical Institute (UTI). Over a 66-week course, UTI provided technical education training for Jorge, who sought a career as a professional auto repairman.
Jorge has received certification as an auto mechanic, and immediately started work at a local Arcadia Ford dealership.
Father of Jorge, Juventino Mendoza's experience with horses started on his parent's farm in Colima, Mexico. At age 18, he came to America with a friend, who found him work at Santa Anita Racetrack. In 1979, he was hired by trainer Bruce Jackson and started work initially as a groom. However, aptly skilled riding horses in his homeland, he quickly switched gears and started his career as an exercise rider. He continued with Jackson for over 22 years, where he helped condition notable horses Jovial and In Excess.
Juventino has gone on to work horses for trainers John Shirreffs, Eoin Harty, and is currently a rider for Ben Cecil.
Flor is attending UC Davis, majoring in Psychology. A student in the Police Academy Magnet Program throughout her four years at Woodrow Wilson High School in Los Angeles, she carried a 3.80 GPA, and was described as a dedicated and model student by her instructors. School activities included membership in United Students, a students' rights group, the Best Buddies mentor program for disabled students, and she was a youth leader in the "Missionettes," a female adolescent support group.
"Since very young, I have been a leader in my school and in my church. My dream is to go to law school and become a corporate lawyer to serve the community,"
Flor's father, Jose Juan Osorio Herrera, was born in Santa Rosa, Guatemala. The sixth born of seven siblings, his adolescent years were very harsh as he had been abducted and forced into his country's military. Surviving that turmoil, he came to the United States at age 25 seeking a better life. At first, Jose took on odd day labor construction jobs gained through Home Depot parking lots, later finding more steady work for a laundry company.
At last, Jose began the work he continues today. His better life, the one where work is enjoyed, has been in the California Thoroughbred horse racing industry. His first employer was D. Wayne Lukas, and for the past two years, he has walked hots for Richard Mandella. "I stayed in horse racing because I truly like it and because of the freedom it gives me to spend more time with my family in simple but important things such as picking up my children daily from school," says Jose.
"My father is a very dedicated man who loves his family and his job. I admire him because he has done everything possible for us to put food on our table and provide us shelter. I have never met such a great man like my father," says Flor.
Liliana is presently taking general education courses at Citrus College in Glendora, California. Undecided on a major, she is considering focusing on Business Administration courses that she feels will inevitably be of great assistance in successfully operating her own business one day.
Liliana is the one the seven children of exercise rider Cesar Serrano. The Serrano family has shown great desire for higher education in that Liliana has been preceded by elder siblings Carmen, Imelda, and Cesar, Jr., as Gregson Foundation grant recipients. She now carries the baton that we trust will be passed on to the younger Serrano children.
From Jalisco, Mexico, Cesar came to California in 1975 to find a better paying job to support his growing family - little did he realize what a sizeable family it would become. Cesar was an experienced rider of horses in Mexico, which eventually lead him to Santa Anita Racetrack. Beginning work for trainer Ray Priddy, he has since exercised horses for Larry Sterling, Steve Miyadi, Ron Ellis, Bruce Headley, and Rafael Becerra. Notable horses he has helped condition are Cameamea, To B. Or Not, Uncle Danny, Saint Avril, and Special Matter.
Cesar is presently employed by Roger Stein as full-time exercise rider for all 15 horses in his stable.
Marielena is attending Napa Valley College in Northern California, where she has recently decided to major in Psychology. She has chosen this major to assist in reaching her goal to work with children as a career.
Marielena is a first generation graduate from high school, as well as a college-bound student.
She not only has successfully overcome any barriers faced by many first-year college students, but also overcome those difficulties faced by students who are the first in their family to pursue higher education.
Raised on a ranch in Zacatecas, Mexico, Marcelino Trujillo came to the United States at age 18 for economic reasons. Since arriving in 1984, Marcelino has worked only for trainer Charles Jenda, with the exception of a reluctant one-year stint in the construction field. Fortunately for this industry, his love for working with horses triumphed over construction, and he eagerly returned to Golden Gate Fields where he was welcomed back by Jenda.
Three generations of the Trujillo family have graced California horse racing. Father Florenzio, Marcelino and his four brothers, son Manuel and three nephews, even wife Floriberta works as a groom. The Trujillo clan, at one time or another, has been employed by Jenda.
"I'm thrilled to death that Marielena is going on to college," says Jenda, "she's a wonderful young girl."
Marcelino serves as Jenda's foreman, in a barn whose prominent horses include Hallowed Envoy, Mangaki, Brown Bess, Wee Miss Bee, Yearly Tour, La Balladar, and Dayla.