Thanks to the Tulare County Sheriff office’s Pathways Scholarship program, Sheriff’s Explorers Esteban Infante and Esmeralda Corona are a step closer to making their career in law enforcement a reality.
“This is a great honor for me,” said Infante, who graduated from Delano High School in 2017. “It means hope for me, that now I can go to a university and, later, become a Deputy Sheriff.”
Infante and Corona, each received $2,500 Pathways Scholarships Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux and Kim Oviatt, president of the Sence Foundation, during an opening ceremony on Dec. 13 at the department’s headquarters in Visalia.
Boudreaux created the Pathways Scholarship program, with funding from the Sence Foundation, to help college-bound Sheriff’s Explorers get an education, attend the police academy and become deputies in their hometowns.
Infante, of Earlimart, is now studying Administratino of Justice at Bakersfield College and plans to transfer to Fresno State to obtain his bachelor’s degree, attend the police academy and become a deputy sheriff in his hometown.
Corona said she is grateful of the scholarship, and receiving it means a lot for her family.
“It brings me one step closer to making my career in law enforcement a reality,” said Corona, who graduated from Granite Hills High School in 2017 and is the first in her family to go to college.
During her five years as a Sheriff’s Explorer, Corona, of Porterville, rose to the rank of captain.
“There is more to law enforcement than just taking bad guys to jail,” said Corona, who is enrolled at Porterville College and majoring in Administration of Justice. “I want to be that deputy who makes a difference in my community and motivate people in Tulare County to trust in law enforcement.”
As an Explorer, Infante volunteered in the community, placed in explorer competitions and rose to the rank of Lieutenant.
“I want to be a deputy sheriff for Tulare County because it gives me the opportunity to serve in the community where I grew up,” said Infante, adding that the program prepared him for a career in law enforcement by giving him the skills to be successful in how to handle different scenarios as well as perfect his communication skills.
“There’s something new every day and I will never know what I will encounter that day,” he said, of no two days are the same in law enforcement.
Corona said the training she received in the explorer program and the ride alongs she went on will serve her well when she becomes a Deputy Sheriff in Tulare County.
“Going into law enforcement has been a dream of mine since I was first introduced to the field by my fourth-grade teacher who was a retired police officer,” Corona said said. “It’s an honor and a privilege to receive this scholarship.”
During the opening ceremony, Boudreaux also gave away more than 20 bicycles to Junior Explorers, formerly known as Sheriff’s PAL kids. The Junior Explorer Youth Development Program helps at-risk children, ages 8-12, by fostering positive relationships with law enforcement.
Junior Explorers get to go on a camping trip to the Central Coast in the summer, to the Tulare County Fair in the fall and to the International Agri-Center for a holiday party in December. Throughout the year, the Sheriff’s Office gives away up to 200 bicycles to Junior Explorers thanks to generous donations from businesses and community members.
Details on Junior Explorer or Sheriff’s Explorer: Lt. Chris Gálvez at (559) 782-6852.