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Bell Gardens Casino Community Foundation Honors Local High School Scholars

By Randy Economy

The Bell Gardens Casino Community Foundation handed out thousands of dollars in college scholarships to deserving high school and college students during its second annual awards ceremony held last week that was attended by nearly 200 community leaders, elected officials, business leaders, student scholars and family members.

The Bicycle Casino Community Foundation was formed back on July 16, 2012 to provide funding to programs that directly benefit youth in the surrounding community and has quickly become one of the most popular community-based scholarship programs specifically created for Bell Gardens students.

During the lavish dinner, Julieann Coyne, who serves as Chair and Executive Director for “The Bicycle Casino Community Foundation” engaged the scholars into a direct discussion about their futures and reminded them they “are from Bell Gardens, and to always be proud of where you come from.”

Coyne boasted throughout the evening that the mission of the foundation was “to support the health and education welfare of the children in Bell Gardens.”

“We are here tonight because we believe in the youth of Bell Gardens, and to help send them on their way to colleges and universities with needed scholarship monies as well as a foundation for them to succeed and then the means for them to return to Bell Gardens and give back by working here in the community,” Coyne said.

Also participating in the dinner was Bell Gardens City Manager Phil Wagner, as well as Haig Kelegian, who is the principal owner of the Bell Gardens Casino. Both Wagner and Kelegian presented scholarships that are named in their honor.

The winners of the scholarships were as follows:
Oswaldo Reyes, winner of the Robert H. Carter Leadership Award.
Cruz Reza, winner of the Dave Stone Family & Julie Coyne Family Scholarship Award.
John Quinones, winner of the Haig Kelegian Scholarship Award.
Sommer Gonzalez, winner of the Leo Chu Scholarship Award.
Stephanie Perez, winner of the Helping Hearts Scholarship Award.
Winning the Bicycle Casino Community Scholarship Don Wagner Awards were Jose de Jesus Arana, Elena Chavez, Noel Esparza, Marilyn Guzman, Anthony Ledesma, Laura Lopez, Cindy Ramirez and Tiara Solórzano.
Winners of the Bicycle Employee Scholarship Awards included Michelle Hwang, Bui Li, Jenny Tam, Carla Villanueva, and Mary Zhu.
Also attending the event was Bell Gardens Mayor Daniel Crespo, and city councilmembers Jennifer Rodriguez, Jesse Mendoza, and Pedro Aceituno, as well as Joaquin Castaneda, Deputy District Director for California State Senator Ricardo Lara.
For more information on the scholarship program, visit www.thebikefoundation.org.

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