FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – The Big Fresno Fair is back this year – and so is one of the events that celebrate students who maintained a 4.0 grade point average.

“I’m not talking about a normal year,” announced Fresno County Superintendent of Schools Jim Yovino. “I’m talking about a year when we were doing work from home, doing it on our computers and these kids still persevered.”

Over the past 18 months, these students have had to deal with an on-again, off-again school year while maintaining their focus on grades.

“The first half of the school year, it was really hard. I really had to make sure I kept myself accountable because there was no one else who would,” said Duncan High School student Violet Arreola.

16-year-old Andrew Capuchin came with his family – and it was their support that helped him reach his goal.

“With him we just gave him a lot of incentives, a lot of incentives,” said parent Peter Capuchin. “We just made sure that he knew he wasn’t just working for anything. He had goals and we gave him things to shoot for and he shot for it and he did it.”

For doing that hard work, students from all Fresno County school districts were given the opportunity to have their names drawn to win everything from laptops to thousands of dollars in scholarships.

“In this challenging environment when we’ve had to go through COVID and it is still occurring, everyone including students and young children, really need that encouragement for academic success,” said Chevron’s Robbie Robertson.

This year’s winner of the grand prize, a new Toyota, says she wasn’t always a good student.

“I realized that I want something for myself in the future so I had to change it around – and I had a lot of time to think during quarantine and that’s what I decided to do,” said Sunnyside High student Joanna Mendez.

That decision paid off in a big way.