ANAHEIM -- Monday's game against the Colorado Rockies will not only mark the beginning of a three-game series for the Angels, but a day in which the team will recognize the 2009 class of Angels Scholars.
In its fourth year, the Angels Scholars program awards college scholarships to public middle school students in Orange County. This year, the Angels will honor five students before the start of Monday's game with an on-field ceremony.
Eighth graders Manuela Herrera, Giahan Nguyen, Loi Nguyen, Adriana Martinez and Jesus Martinez were all chosen based on their academic achievement, financial need and enrollment in the college preparatory program AVID.
The Angels Baseball Foundation will award each Angels Scholar $4,000 plus accrued interest upon their acceptance into a four-year college.
"This really does make a difference," said Cynthia Gutierrez, AVID Coordinator at the Orange County Department of Education. "It really does make college a possibility now for all of these kids."
The five students chosen are all active in their communities, taking part in such volunteer organizations as Project SAY and the Boys & Girls Club.
This year's scholarship program recipients will graduate from high school in 2013, each hoping to go to such prestigious universities as Stanford, Yale, University of California-Berkeley, San Diego State and UC Irvine.
Even with such high standards, the students teachers and advisers all believe they have the ability to succeed because each has the motivation and determination to do well.
"We have had past scholarship students tell us how much they grow as a person," Gutierrez said. "The students understand its significance and know how many more people will now look up to them and respect them for their accomplishments."
Quinn Roberts is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.