Five female graduates of Half Moon Bay High School were awarded $2,500 scholarships for secondary education from the Judy Macias Young Leaders Fund for the upcoming academic year.

“We are just thrilled,” said Rev. Julia McKeon, former executive director at Sonrisas and current chaplain at Stanford Medical Center, who helped organize the fund. “They are such amazing young women.”

Angelica Hernandez-Torres, Michelle Hernandez-Zamora, Mitzi Hernandez-Zamora, Sandy Naranjo-Lopez and Veronica Noriega were selected in recognition of their leadership potential, involvement in school community service and academic performance.

Along with providing Half Moon Bay High School students with funding for college, the recognition also provides mentoring and networking opportunities.

The Judy Macias Young Leaders Fund, which honors the legacy of Macias and her involvement on the Coastside, is made possible by local donors and community members who recognize the importance of developing the next generation of strong community leadership.

“(Macias) will be missed,” McKeon said. “Our idea was that the best legacy for her would be to start to create people to fill her shoes. Just keeping these waves of women who show interest in being involved in the community.”

Macias, who died in August 2020, was involved in many key leadership positions in her 40 years on the coast, including her role in establishing Coastside Hope, Sonrisas Community Dental Center and Village of the Coastside, among other efforts. She was inducted into the San Mateo County Women’s Hall of Fame in 2000.

“At every point she was just able to find a very sustainable but innovative way to meet the needs of the community,” McKeon said. “She was just an incredible advocate for people whose voices don’t necessarily get considered in government programs. She always had an eye out for vulnerable populations.”

Emma Spaeth is a staff writer for the Half Moon Bay Review covering community, arts and sports. Emma grew up in Half Moon Bay before earning a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Oregon.

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