The Coast News Group

Hard work and helping hand make the difference

OCEANSIDE — Santos Penaflor is living proof that anything is possible, even for a young boy growing up in Crown Heights. The oldest of four, Penaflor has watched his parents struggle to make ends meet. He made a decision early on that he did not want to be involved in gangs or drugs. He aimed, instead, at becoming an Environmental Engineer and, thanks to the city of Oceanside, he is one step closer to this dream.Penaflor was one of 15 recipients of the 2012 City of Oceanside – Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Awards. The award is given to students who demonstrate financial need and who can demonstrate how they intend to apply the teachings of Dr. King in their lives.

Penaflor has been coming to the North County Lifeline’s after-school program Club Crown Heights since he was 8 years old. North County Lifeline is a coalition that addresses homelessness and other social issues.

“We’ve watched him grow from a young boy to a courageous young man,” a NCL spokesperson writes. “If there’s one thing we know about Santos, it is that he is already applying the teachings of Dr. King in everything he does. He has a genuine heart and loves to help.”

During his senior year of high school, he worked part-time refereeing soccer and still managed to stop in the Club Crown Heights program daily to help staff or to help younger youth with their homework. His hard work and caring heart has paid off.

During his sophomore year in high school Santos won the Simon Scholarship Award. He worked hard with the Simon Foundation to make his chances of attending the college of his choice a reality. Penaflor is enrolled at California State University San Marcos. He even elected to take summer classes.

In addition to studying, he is working part-time with the city of Oceanside’s Code Enforcement Department and refereeing on nights and weekends. Penaflor will soon be the first person in his family to graduate college.