While the long-term impact of Covid-19 on access, inclusion and equity in education is unknown, one thing is certain: the pandemic is affecting current high school students’ decisions about higher education.

“The Covid health crisis is causing many young people to change and adapt their plans,” said Dr. Rosanna Mucetti, Superintendent of the Napa Valley Unified School District. “We are working diligently to provide creative solutions for students as we move forward through these uncertain and challenging times, but we also want to maintain and grow programs for students that choose to continue their education at two-year and four-year colleges and universities.”

A $100,000 contribution from the Cameron Champ Foundation and Chevron will provide STEM scholarships to 20 graduating seniors from the Napa Valley Unified School District. The learning pathways associated with STEM may include: STEM degree programs at four-year universities; two-year degrees in computer science, engineering technology, or other STEM-related fields; or one-year or multi-year certifications and apprenticeships in skilled trades related to STEM. The scholarship program is designed to help as many students as possible, including those who are not planning to pursue a four-year degree.

The program, now in its second year through the Napa Valley Education Foundation, has already proven successful. Amber Elias, a class of 2020 NVUSD graduate and scholarship recipient, said: “This scholarship means the world to me and it opens so many doors for the future. I have been given the opportunity to attend college, pursue my education, and do this without such a financial burden. I am passionate about college and my future in STEM; this scholarship will help me reach this dream.”

Cameron Champ, winner of the 2019 Safeway Open, was not able to play in this year’s tournament, but he wanted to show his support for the students of Napa Valley.

“The Cameron Champ Foundation was established with the mission of inspiring the next generation of kids to a brighter future by creating more opportunities for them to succeed, both on the golf course and in the classroom,” he said. “Although I’m disappointed not to be able to defend my title at the Safeway Open this year, due to broader schedule changes brought on by the pandemic, it remains important to me to find a way to give back to the community that cheered me on to victory last year and warmly welcomes the PGA TOUR every year.

“The Cameron Champ Foundation is extremely proud to partner with Chevron to support the needs of students in Napa Valley. Although the Safeway Open is only one week out of the year, we hope our support delivers lasting relief to families in this community and empowers their children throughout the school year.”

Dr. Mucetti said the district and the foundation shared the objective of helping students in need.

“From our first conversation, it was clear we shared a common goal — improving access, opportunity and inclusion for historically underserved groups of students,” she said. “I’m not a golfer, but I understand the impact the sport can have when there is a mission and purpose beyond just enjoying a game on the course. On behalf of the NVUSD, our Education Foundation, and Napa Valley students and their families, we thank Chevron, Cameron, and the Cameron Champ Foundation for putting us on the top of their list.”