When they head back to school this fall, a record 24 students from California, Arizona, and New Mexico will find their college educations are a little more affordable, thanks to a total of $42,000 awarded in scholarships from the Calcot-Seitz Foundation.

Now in its 31st year, the educational foundation selects recipients based on several criteria: scholastic aptitude and performance, leadership potential, participation in extracurricular activities, and financial need.

Successful applicants must plan to study in a suitable agricultural field at a four-year university, and be from a cotton-producing region of one of the four states served by Calcot.

Individual scholarships range from $1,000 to $3,000 per student.

The six award winners of $3,000 scholarships include: Morganne Burchell, Greg Coelho, Matthew Hartman, Thomas Banducci, Ashley Correia and Lukas Schuh.

Burchell, of Porterville, Calif., received the $3,000 Julio Gallo Award. The Gallo Award is a memorial scholarship established by Visalia grower C.R. "Dick" Shannon in honor of the well-known California vintner who died in a traffic accident in 1993. She will attend California State Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo (CalPoly SLO) this fall.

Coelho, Riverdale, Calif., and a graduate of Riverdale High School, and Hartman of Deming, N.M., and a graduate of Deming High School, were each presented the $3,000 Calcot Directors' Awards. Directors' Awards are funded by voluntary donations from the honoraria Calcot directors receive for serving on the Calcot board.

Hartman is the first New Mexico student to receive a Directors' Award and will attend New Mexico State University (NMSU) in Las Cruces later this year. Coelho will attend CalPoly SLO.

Banducci, who graduated from Frontier High School in Bakersfield, Calif., will use his $3,000 award at California State University Fresno (Fresno State). Correia, a Lemoore, Calif., high school graduate, will also attend Fresno State. Lukas Schuh, also of Lemoore, will attend Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. this fall.

The Calcot-Seitz Foundation designated six $2,000 awards to recipients Lauren Gilkey of Hanford, Calif.; Brittnie Nilson, Casa Grande, Ariz.; Ethan Silva, Lemoore; plus Joseph Gilmer, Dustin Rodgers and Ashley Travis, all Bakersfield residents.

Nilson, who graduated from Casa Grande Union High and will study agricultural education this year at the University of Arizona (U of A), received the $2,000 Sheely Scholarship, named in honor of Calcot director and Arizona grower Joe Sheely who died in a 1979 plane crash.

Gilkey, who graduated from Immanuel High School in Reedley, Calif., and Silva, a graduate from Lemoore Union High School, are headed to CalPoly SLO.

Gilmer and Rodgers graduated from Highland High School in Bakersfield, but are headed for CalPoly SLO and Fresno State, respectively. Travis, a North High School graduate, has attended CalPoly SLO and is currently a student at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.

Another 12 awards of $1,000 each went to Anne Badasci, Sebastian Silveira and Lee Wisecarver, all of Hanford; Wesley Ely, Willcox, Ariz.; Don England, Casa Grande; Kerilyn Gage, Avondale, Ariz.; Stuart Joy, Artesia, NM; Breanne Pacheco, Hanford; Karly Powell, Scottsdale, Ariz.; Janka Vanova and Caitlin Williams of Tucson, Ariz.; and Lee Yantis, Bakersfield.

Badasci will attend either the University of California-Davis, or Fresno State. Ely is a student at NMSU; England, Gage, Powell, Vanova, and Williams are students at the U of A; Joy is a student at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, Colo.; Pacheco and Silveira are enrolled at CalPoly SLO; Wisecarver will be a student at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Okla.; and Yantis is headed for Fresno State, following graduation from Bakersfield's Frontier High.

The Calcot-Seitz Foundation was established by the late G.L. "Sam" Seitz upon his retirement as president of Calcot, Ltd., the cotton marketing cooperative owned and operated by California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas cotton growers.

The Foundation has awarded over $900,000 to over 400 students since its establishment. The program has also made educational grants of more than $150,000, including sponsorship of a market information center in the Agricultural Management department at CalPoly SLO.