Altura Credit Union program honors seven Students of the Year

RIVERSIDE, CA (June 9, 2016) — Seven seniors graduating from southern Riverside County schools were recently honored as “Students of the Year” through a program sponsored by Altura Credit Union in conjunction with the San Jacinto and the Hemet/San Jacinto Valley Chambers of Commerce, as well as the Hemet Unified School District and the San Jacinto Unified School District. As part of this recognition, each student received a $2,000 college scholarship.

The top students for the 2015-2016 academic year are:

  • Dmitry Shultz, Hemet High School
  • Claude Vargas, San Jacinto High School
  • Kate Barker, Hamilton High School
  • Ben Jones, West Valley High School
  • Ziyaad Qureshi, College Prep High School
  • Kyle Pagdayunan, Tahquitz High School
  • Denisse Dominguez Llamas, Mountain View High School

In its third year, the Student of the Month program recognizes outstanding students from each of the seven Hemet/San Jacinto high schools each month during the school year. The top students of the year were selected from among the monthly winners.

One of the more remarkable stories is that of Dmitry Shultz from Hemet High School. “When I was adopted, that’s when my life really changed,” he said. An orphan from Russia, Shultz focused on doing all the could with his new life.  The scholarship selection committee noted his many contributions to school and community, including volunteering with the Central County United Way. He also earned the rank of Eagle Scout.  He was accepted to many top universities and plans to attend UC Berkeley in the fall.

Karena Chum, business development officer with Altura, and founder of the Student of the Month/Year program, says interest in the program has grown steadily and because of a boost in sponsors, this year the scholarships were increased to $2,000.

Altura students of the year

Photo Caption: Seven seniors graduating from Hemet or San Jacinto Unified School District high schools recently were named “Student of the Year” and awarded $2,000 scholarships. The winning students are, from left, Dmitry Shultz, Claude Vargas, Kate Barker, Ben Jones, Ziyaad Qureshi, Kyle Pagdayunan and DenisseDominguez Llamas.  The program is a joint project of Altura Credit Union, the San Jacinto and the Hemet/San Jacinto Valley Chambers of Commerce, Hemet Unified School District and San Jacinto Unified School District. (photo by Diane A. Rhodes)

About Altura Credit Union

Based in the Inland Empire for 60 years, Altura Credit Union serves more than 127,000 Members, has $1.352 billion in total assets and operates 13 branch offices in Riverside County.  Membership is open to anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Riverside and San Diego counties; selected cities in San Bernardino and Orange counties; as well as U.S. Military, U.S. Government and Civilian employees working at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County; and retirees of the United States Armed Forces. For more information on Altura, visit, or call 1-888-883-7228.


Carol Kramer for Altura Credit Union
Kramer Communications
Cell: 818-497-5123

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