Six students one step closer to dreams of a better life, because of a little girl, who lost hers

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The most painful night of Stacey Gonzales’s life, when she lost her most precious person. Her 9-year-old daughter, Janessa Ramirez.

“I’ll never see her graduate, but to know at least, her name’s there,” Gonzales said. 

Janessa’s name here in programs, and on the scholarship plaque held by Central High School West senior, Gerardo De Jesus Salazar. Salazar was one of six chosen for the $2,500 award, handpicked, seen as deserving, both in and out of the classroom. 

“I believe I am,” Salazar said. “And hopefully, that’s, I guess, what they saw in me.” 

Salazar lives with his brother. His parents, in Mexico.

Salazar telling us, they brought him to the United States for a better future.

“It was always education, the more education, the more knowledge you have,” Salazar said. “The more opportunity you have in life.”

Now, that future includes college for the soon-to-be first-generation college student.

Salazar telling Janessa’s mom, he knows, what the award represents.

“Thank you for this opportunity, and I will do a lot with this money,” Salazar said. 

Gonzales says while emotional, the night, is a blessing, to her, too.

“Everybody knows who Janessa Ramirez is,” Gonzales said. “So, it’s an honor, to be her mother.”

This is the third year in a row the scholarships have been given out in Janessa’s honor. 

Reporting in Fresno, Megan Rupe. 

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