Gridley High School Counselor and Soccer Coach Jesse Barajas, Jr. has recently won the statewide Arthur S. Marmaduke Award for Outstanding Achievement in High School Counseling.

Barajas will be honored on Friday, June 17, 2016, from the California Student Aid Commission for its 2016 Arthur S. Marmaduke Award winner. The award ceremony will take place at 9 a.m., in the boardroom of the commission offices located at 11040 White Rock Road, Rancho Cordova.

This annual award goes to one outstanding California high school counselor who demonstrates exemplary skills in helping students fulfill their dreams of going to college. The candidate must be nominated by his or her school principal (or designee). Barajas was nominated by his principal and lifelong friend, Joey Adame. Barajas has served as a School Counselor for Gridley High for approximately 10 years. Gridley High School is located in a small rural town community that has a strong agricultural base. The total student population is 622.

Principal Adame said, “With University and Community College campuses within a 30 mile radius of Gridley High School, Mr. Barajas has taken advantage of this proximity by creating everlasting professional relationships with departments that serve student graduates. He has developed partnerships with programs such as Upward Bound, Talent Search, and MESA. In addition, Mr. Barajas has implemented numerous financial aid workshops for parents and students using these college resources.” He continued, “Mr. Barajas was raised by proud migrant farm worker family that instilled a hard work ethic, integrity, and compassion. As a School Counselor, he is a champion for kids. He goes far and beyond to ensure our underserved student population begin formulating a positive mindset for postsecondary education. Numerous students have benefited from his efforts. Lastly, Mr. Barajas has served our as our Soccer Coach for nine years. In that time period, we have won four section championships and he was awarded the prestigious Coach of the year Award four times.”

Arthur Marmaduke was executive director of the California Student Aid Commission for 25 years from 1960 to 1985. He had a passion for helping students get to college. The award was established in 1985 in his honor as the longest-serving executive director in the history of the commission, which was founded in 1955. Mr. Marmaduke also served as the first President of the National Association of State Grant and Aid Programs. He died in 2005 of Parkinson's disease.

This prestigious award was established by the Commission in 1985 to annually recognize one high school counselor who has demonstrated superior skills, dedication, and results helping students seek and receive financial aid. This award acknowledges commitment to assisting students in gaining access to postsecondary education. The individual you nominate should exhibit the following characteristics and achievements:

Excellent skills counseling and motivating students to pursue an education after high school.

Advocacy and utilization of the many financial aid tools available to support students' educational goals, including Cal Grants and scholarships.

Notable dedication to the student population that he or she serves.

Quantifiable success assisting students who receive financial aid as a direct result of the counseling efforts of the nominee.