TEMECULA – On a Monday night in April, hundreds of teens and families from the city of Murrieta’s three high schools gathered at the Murrieta Mesa High School performing arts theater to receive money for college. Temecula Dollars for Scholars, who administers the scholarships committed by the schools, gave dozens of scholarships to teens attending Vista Murrieta, Murrieta Mesa and Murrieta Valley high schools on behalf of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians. Pechanga Tribal Councilman Butch Murphy greeted each recipient and thanked them for being exemplary students. He also shared with the audience some history of Pechanga’s support to the schools as well as his experience as a teacher and coach in the district.
“On behalf of all us at Murrieta Valley, thank you Pechanga for your unwavering support of our students, programs and community,” Eric Mooney, Murrieta Valley High School principal, said. “The support you provide makes a positive difference and we are so grateful.”
A few weeks later, additional seniors graduating from Temecula Valley, Chaparral and Great Oak high schools each received a scholarship through Temecula Dollars for Scholars in Temecula Valley High School’s Golden Bear Theater on behalf of Pechanga. In all, more than $34,000.00 was divided among 87 graduating seniors as they prepare for the next steps of their learning careers.
“Our ancestors overcame challenges in the past through community and by supporting each other,” Tribal Chairman Mark Macarro said. “We are very proud and humbled to now be able to support the future generations of our community through education as they pursue the best opportunities for a successful life.”
Each year, Pechanga donates $35,000 each to the three public high schools in the Murrieta, Temecula and Lake Elsinore school districts. The funds used to provide scholarships amounted to a portion of that sum for Murrieta and Temecula’s high schools.
Pechanga began its philanthropy to the area’s ninth through 12th-graders in 1998. This year’s donation will bring the overall distribution to over $4.6 million in support of education in the Valley.
The intended use of these funds is reviewed before distribution each year and requires at least 25 percent of the funds be used toward academic programming and scholarships. Schools have directed funds toward programs such as Advancement Via Individual Determination and PSAT testing, scholarships, the purchase of classroom Chromebooks and science materials, performing arts instruments and music, athletic equipment and more.