Mauricio Acevedo earns first Paul Feola Foundation award
MAURICIO ACEVEDO (left) was awarded the Paul Feola Scholarship recently at a brief presentation ceremony. Ana Bylerly (seated) presented the scholarship in partnership with Sonoma Valley Teen Services, represented at the presentation by its Treasurer Charles Harris (right). Also taking part in the presentation was Michael Shatnawi, (center) owner of the Palms Restaurant where Acevedo is cashier and host.
Mauricio Acevedo of Sonoma was recently named the first recipient of the Paul Feola Educational Foundation scholarship, established by Ana Solar Byerly, owner of Buenos Dias Educational Consulting, with the support of Sonoma Valley Teen Services.
The scholarship in the memory of Feola, who died last year, was established to assist Sonoma Valley youth, who are also English as a second language learners, in attaining their dream of continuing their education beyond high school.
Acevedo is a first-generation Mexican-American who has resided in Sonoma for 12 years. His father died when he was in the fifth grade. Raising five children alone created great hardship on his mother and when he was 15-years-old, Acevedo moved out on his own to decrease family tensions. Even though he worked several jobs he continued his education and graduated from Sonoma Valley High School. Although he always loved sports, especially basketball, due to time constraints from his jobs and lack of funds, he was unable to play sports while attending high school.
It is his dream to one day own his own sporting goods store, and he would like to obtain a degree in business administration to further that dream.
"I am so excited to finally be able to present the first Paul Feola Scholarship award to this incredible young man, Mauricio, who works at Palms and had to drop out this semester because of lack of funds. Now he can go back in the fall and keep his dream alive. Mauricio is awesome. He has maintained his bilingualism and is just an incredible person, and an outstanding role model for other young Latino boys," said Byerly.
"The foundation will continue on in the vein of humanity that Paul fostered throughout his life. Local residents who knew Paul, will remember his love of the diversity in Sonoma Valley, its inhabitants, community spirit, love of the arts and especially good food and wine. Most importantly and memorably, Paul cultivated friendships wherever he went," she added.
The funds for the scholarship were raised through generous donations from members of the community. For more information on the Feola Scholarship program contact Byerly at 938-8932 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Buenas Dias Business/Education Services is located at 801 Broadway in Sonoma.