Probation Staff Shows Commitment to Education

Bronte Benesh (fourth from left) was awarded one of four scholarships provided by the Kearny Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility Fund.

A top-performing probation officer and the children of several probation staff are closer to getting their college degrees with the help of two scholarship programs.

Probation officer Lanae Gutierrez was awarded a $2,500 Cox Heroes Scholarship as she pursues a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice at National University. She is currently a senior.

Recipients of the scholarship are recognized for overcoming challenges in their pursuit of educational advancement. Gutierrez began her college career years ago as a teenage mother, but her education was sidelined when her three-year-old son was diagnosed with stage three bladder cancer. Not long after his cancer went into remission, Gutierrez’s father was killed in a boating accident.

“Despite my personal challenges, the importance of a higher education has become so critical to me that I have not allowed anything to stand in my way of this goal," said Gutierrez.

Lanae represents Probation as a program director with STAR/PAL, a nonprofit organization that brings law enforcement and youth together to provide educational, athletic and recreational programs to local youth who may not otherwise have such opportunities. She was also the recipient of Probation’s Excellence award last year, an honor give to the employee who exemplifies the department’s commitment to excellence.

The children of several Probation staff members are getting a head start on their higher education thanks to the Kearny Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility Fund. It was established in 2006 to “mentor and inspire others through the vital principle of giving.” The committee that oversees the fund raised $2,000 for award academic scholarships, which were recently awarded to four high school graduates of staff at the Kearny Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility.

Those awarded the stipend are: Rashawn Brock, son of Tanya Brock; Brittani Taylor, daughter of Robert Taylor; Courtney Goodwin, daughter of Clinton Goodwin; and Bronte Benesh, daughter of Marisela Benesh.