Westmont Magazine Biehls Score with Scholarship
Sergio Hernandez first visited Westmont through the California Student Opportunity and Access Program (Cal-SOAP)as a junior high school student. Although he was born in Santa Barbara, the 13-year-old had spent most of his life in Mexicali, Mexico, and he struggled in his English-speaking classes. He admits the odds of attending Westmont seemed insurmountable.
“I thought it was going to be really hard for me to get in,” he says. “Financially, it would to be really difficult because it’s expensive. I was lucky to get a scholarship.”
The one thing that comes easy for Hernandez is soccer. He was a stand-out player for Santa Barbara High School, and his talent caught the eye of Dave Wolf, head men’s soccer coach.
Wolf rewarded Hernandez with the David and Barbara Biehl Heritage Club Endowed Soccer Scholarship. The Biehls initially invested $50,000 to create the scholarship and are matching other donations through the end of June 2006 to increase the endowment to at least $100,000.
David ’67 and Barbara Johnston ’68 are both soccer fans. David played under former Head Coach Russ Carr, whom he credits for making a major impact on his life.
“There was a lot of mentoring from Russ and some of the other athletes that I would not have received otherwise,” David says of his playing days. “I really like the fact that Sergio’s a local guy. He’s the kind of player who really appreciates the help — he’s an all-around gentleman, not just an athlete, but an impressive guy. It’s good to know him on a personal level.”
Hernandez is the first member of his family to attend college, a responsibility the 19-year old Westmont sophomore doesn’t take lightly.
When he was accepted at Westmont and awarded the scholarship, Sergio says his parents were so proud, they called everybody they knew in Mexico.
“It’s been amazing,” he says. “I’ve been blessed. I never thought I’d have these opportunities and right now I’m here. It’s somewhere I never expected to be.”