Karen March presented a student a scholarship during the 30th Anniversary TOSCA awards banquet held at Yolo on May 17.

The Yolo Auditorium was transformed Wednesday evening into a celebratory banquet honoring Orestimba students pursuing higher education. As generous donors, community members, parents, and students gathered for the presentation of 161 scholarships totaling over $232,000, the excitement was palpable.

The Orestimba Scholarship Community Association (TOSCA) celebrated its 30th anniversary honoring Orestimba graduates for their academic works and dedication to their future education. To date, over 2,500 students have taken advantage of this tremendous generosity and received over $3,000,000 in scholarship monies and annuities.

TOSCA was formed in 1993 through the efforts of Bob McConnell and currently has a 

Fifteen member board of directors serving as community volunteers. Every dollar contributed to TOSCA goes directly into scholarships. The Board of Directors include: President; Bernice Arnett, Vice President; Michael Holland, Treasurer; Susan Mattos, Secretary; Debera Amaral, members; Carmen Anaya, Mia Ball, Nancy Caton, Donna Corgiat, Van Felber, Anthony Loo, Bob McConnell, Karen March, Kathy Pometta, Jose Rodriguez, Cathy Wallace. NCLUSD Advisors Randy Fillpot, Justin Pruett, Anita Palacios, and City of Newman Advisor John Pimentel assist the board.

Through generous donations from the community, OHS alumni, memorials, monetary gifts, individual memberships, and endowments, TOSCA helps students continue their education and achieve their goals.

Annuities are awarded to the top 20 students in grades 8-11 each year and are given to them upon graduation as long as they further their education. All OHS graduates are eligible to apply for scholarships up to 10 years after graduation. Alumni receiving continued support is one of the unique benefits TOSCA provides. Community generosity doesn’t end when a Warrior graduates; it continues to support their academic pursuits.

Grants are also presented at the TOSCA banquet. Stemming from a $1,000,000 gift to TOSCA in 2000 by Ernest L. Prien, two endowments were created. One was a $500,000 scholarship fund for college undergraduates and college graduates seeking further degrees. The remaining $500,000 formed the TOSCA-PIE fund. TOSCA-PIE grants, totaling as much as $40,000, have been awarded each year. Interest from the original investment funds these grants.

This year the Orestimba High School Science Department received $12,738.97 for the purchase of “Vernier Probes and Sensors” to provide students the opportunity to collect, analyze, and communicate their own data with the result being a deeper understanding of science concepts. To date, TOSCA-PIE has granted $421,817 to fund innovative projects across the district.

The TOSCA banquet guest speaker was 2011 OHS graduate, Janae Grieb. Speaking on the community’s generosity, Grieb noted that “their belief in us is backed by action.” As a former junior high school teacher and current AVID specialist, Grieb challenged her class - the audience - to rethink what TOSCA means.

T stands for Today; meaning do today what you need to do to thrive tomorrow.

O is for Opportunity; seize the day and acquire the skills you can.

S is for Service; give your talents and support where needed.

C is for Cheer; celebrate those around you and encourage them. “Turn to your neighbor and tell them ‘You’re Awesome’,” Grieb invited the crowd. The room buzzed with cheer.

Finally, she noted, A stands for Appreciation; show gratitude and remember to give thanks. Giving gratitude is an integral part of TOSCA recipients. Without gratitude toward a community that acts upon their words of encouragement, graduates miss that connection with those that gave generously.

This year, 82 Post Graduates were divided into 10 groups to take the stage and receive their scholarships. The remaining recipients were 79 OHS Seniors divided into 11 groups. Treasurer Susan Mattos called each name, stated their school and educational plans along with the amount of their award and who presented the award. Presenters were representatives of the named award. They shook hands with the recipient and handed them their scholarship envelope. If a student was unable to attend, a parent or sibling stood in their place to receive on their behalf.

The program at each seat honored all of the donors and included descriptions of the intentions behind each scholarship award presented. Each recipient is chosen with intention and every dollar is given with care. With roaring applause from the audience, each of the students humbly accepted their awards, shook hands, and exited the stage as the next group arrived to repeat the process.

After the presentation of scholarships, Bob McConnell gave the closing remarks. He thanked all of the people in attendance, shared admiration of post graduates continuing to return to TOSCA for support, and thanked God for all the blessings bestowed upon the city of Newman.

The excitement of the evening continued to buzz through the auditorium as recipients and their families expressed sincere thanks with donors, and students posed for photos on stage, some utilizing the college pennants celebrating where they are headed. TOSCA’s 30th anniversary was truly a celebration.

To learn more about TOSCA and ways to contribute, visit