Abby Olsen and Shansen Ternora are the winners of the 2019 MCBelieve scholarships.

MCBelieve in Education is so much more than a 5K run and walk. It’s a celebration of the importance of education, and a tribute to the person whose life inspired the event, the late Michele Cervantes. Michele was a master elementary school teacher who believed in lifelong learning and literacy, a vision that continues through her students, family, friends, and all who participate in MCBelieve.

Each year the proceeds from the event go to scholarships for McQueen High School graduates, who are chosen from a large pool of applicants. This year’s awardees are Abby Olsen, who begins her freshman year at the University of Nevada Reno studying veterinary science, and Shansen Ternora, who heads to University of Nevada Las Vegas as a kinesiology major. Both plan to use the scholarship money to help with tuition.

Both Abby and Shansen expressed sincere gratitude to those who come together at MCBelieve to help students achieve their goals. “It’s really inspiring,’’ says Shansen.

But how does the committee choose from all those applications? Ken Cervantes, Michele’s husband, points out that he is only one member of the selection committee, and that final decisions are discussed and voted on by the entire group. “Personally, I look for something that relates to the vision that Michele had, a passion for lifelong learning and being goal-oriented in pursuit not only of a great career but enjoying that career. It’s not about how much money you’re going to make, it’s not about prestige, it’s more about finding a perfect fit for you, by choosing a career that you can make a living at but be really happy in your life and enjoy it every day.’’

And this year’s scholarship recipients are doing just that, pursuing careers they are passionate about.

Abby works at a shelter in Truckee as an animal caretaker, and when asked if she likes animals, the answer is obvious in her quick smile. “I have four dogs,’’’ she says with a laugh. If all goes according to plan, after graduating from UNR, Abby will continue her studies at Colorado State University’s vet school.

Shansen’s interest in kinesiology comes from his brothers, who all play sports, as well as his own experience competing in wrestling and football in high school. It makes sense that someone who loves sports is drawn to kinesiology, which is the study of the principles of mechanics and anatomy in relation to human movement. After getting his bachelor’s Shansen plans to pursue his Master’s in athletic training. “Education is very important to me – it will carry on into my career and my life,’’ he says.

Ken says that Abby and Shansen embody the intangibles the committee was looking for. “The bad thing is that we can only pick two,’’ he says. “We wish we had more scholarships!”

Support MCBelieve

This year’s event is on Sunday morning, Sept. 29, at the Club at Town Center. The walk is at 8:30 am, the run at 8:40 am and the kids fun run is at 9:45 am.

All race sign-ups will be entered in a raffle to win a five-night stay in a cabin in Tahoe City! Can’t make the event? You can still support the scholarships by donating via cash or check – plus you will be entered into the raffle. Instructions are on this registration form, which should be returned to the front desk of the Club.