News Room

San Diego Continuing Education

Office of Communications

SDCE 10th Annual Scholarship and Awards Event


April 16, 2018

Lavette Arciga, San Diego Promise Scholarship RecipientSan Diego, CA—Today, Monday, April 16, San Diego Continuing Education (SDCE) will recognize 122 career and college bound students at its 10th annual “Stars on the Rise” Scholarship and Awards Ceremony at the Jacobs Center (404 Euclid Ave, San Diego, CA 92114).

More than $200,000 in scholarships and awards will be given to students who plan to transition to career or college following their studies at SDCE based on academic merit, leadership and service to the community. Scholarships and awards range from $100-4,000 to fund full tuition and/or pay enrollment fees toward college.

“In past years, SDCE has awarded approximately $24,000 annually in scholarships,” said Carlos O. Turner Cortez, Ph.D., President of SDCE. “This year, we are able to give $200,000 due to generous support from donors such as the California Coast Credit Union and the Scott A. & Elizabeth V. Christensen Charitable Foundation."

Four students will receive the SDCCD Board of Trustees $2,000 Scholarship by the Christensen Foundation including adult students Kathryn Nelson and Cassandra Tomsha. Nelson will use the award at San Diego Mesa College where she is working toward an Associate degree in multimedia that will put her in reach of a professional position with a broadcast organization such as Netflix, Hulu or sports teams such as the San Diego Padres or Gulls. Tomsha will use her award to transition into San Diego City College, where she will work toward a degree for transfer to San Diego State University.

Fifty (50) deserving scholars will benefit from the San Diego Promise Scholarship, which provides two years of paid fees at San Diego City, Mesa and Miramar colleges for first-time, full-time students. SDCE is the only adult education organization in the state with a Promise program that allows adult students who have returned to the classroom to achieve education and transition to higher education, the opportunity to receive a fully paid scholarship to fund two years of community college.

SDCE is the adult education division of the San Diego Community College District and is the largest provider of noncredit education in California serving students that are among the most diverse in California culturally, ethnically and educationally. Free classes and career training focus on career development and college preparation. For students who plan to attend college, the transition is made easier with help from SDCE bridging classes and counselors who help students navigate the college application process.

Student Success

Kathryn Nelson recently completed the interactive media certificate program at SDCE’s North City Campus. This spring she transitioned to San Diego Mesa College to start an Associate of Science degree in multimedia. The degree, coupled with her Project Management Professional certification and updated skills, will put her in reach of broadcast professional positions with organizations such as Netflix, Hulu, or sports teams such as the San Diego Padres or Gulls. Kathryn raised two sons as a single mother, while working two jobs and going to school at night. She secured a position at a non-profit organization as an operations manager but after seven years there began experiencing health issues and was eventually laid off. She worked hard to overcome these challenges and to maintain a positive attitude while returning to school to further her skills.

Cassandra Tomsha is determined to succeed and is empowered by the encouragement of faculty and classmates at SDCE. As a young girl, she overcame many obstacles. At the age of 13, she had her first child and 2 weeks later her family home burnt down. Soon after, her mother passed away from alcoholism and her step-father from a car accident. By the age of 17, Cassandra had 3 children. Today she is a wife and mother with the confidence to be a full- time student at San Diego City College. Cassandra is committed to pursuing education and has thrived at SDCE. She completed her high school equivalency, served as the President of the Associated Student Body, and marched in the MLK Parade with SDCE.

SDCE Foundation

SDCE scholarships are offered through the SDCE Foundation, which is also celebrating its 10th anniversary. Fundraising is supported through donations by faculty, staff, administrators and community partnerships. In addition to the SDCE Foundation Board members and officers, a Foundation Advisory Committee supports student scholarships through fundraising, donation and advocacy.

“Providing a donation to a scholarships for an adult student who wants to continue education or find gainful employment is one of the most humbling donations an individual can make,” said Allison Bechill, Executive Director of the SDCE Foundation. Contact Bechill at for more information about the SDCE Foundation or to make a donation.

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San Diego Continuing Education is the adult education division of the San Diego Community College District. It was one of the first community college continuing education institutions in California to meet the standards for independent accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Approximately 40,000 students are served per academic year at seven campuses in San Diego. Noncredit classes and career training are available at no cost, including online options.Classes are free because San Diego Continuing Education is part of the California system of higher education. Funding also comes through business and industry partnerships.