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In 2022, Watsonville High School student Morielle Mamaril visited nine of the nation’s top universities as part of Pajaro Valley Unified School District’s annual Watsonville Ivy League Tour (WILP).

This year, she was accepted to Cornell University, where she will study industrial and labor relations, a major exclusive to that school.

Karla Leyva of Pajaro Valley High School, also a WILP alum, will attend Yale University.

She says she was comforted when she visited Yale’s Latino Cultural Center, called La Casa, and met some students. 

“I saw how close they were and I felt that I could be comfortable there,” she says. 

“Being part of the WILP program made me realize that going to an Ivy League school was achievable and it’s not so far-fetched,” says Leyva.

Mamaril says the trip made Ivy Leagues seem tangible.

“I found out about WILP through some of the past participants who I really looked up to and felt inspired,” she says

Now in its 15th year, the Ivy League Tour takes a group of students to visit Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the universities of Boston, Tufts, Harvard, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Yale and Pennsylvania.

Organizers say the mission is to broaden the educational opportunities for low-income, first generation, underrepresented, and academically high performing students in the Pajaro Valley.  

“Like many of our responsible, resilient and focused Pajaro Valley students, both Karla and Morielle are outstanding students and they just need a chance to broaden their network and experience a world class educational institution on their path to reaching their dreams,” says founder Lorraine Sandoval-Vigil. “I’m so glad that we can help them.”

WILP stopped during the Covid restrictions, which threw a wrench into air and ground transportation, as well as housing. 

This year, 13 students will participate in the tour, but must raise the money for the trip. To help, they all have GoFundMe accounts:

• Andrea Puente: gofund.me/450cbfda

• Celic Lopez: gofund.me/f002f1e9

• Daniela Tamayo: gofund.me/e04c1b8f

• Eduardo Vazquez: gofund.me/a5833079

• Hilda Ghazanfari: gofund.me/d2951d63

• Jennifer Fernandez: gofund.me/fdd41ef4

• Juliana Lopez: gofund.me/7eccf6e5

• Lilia Lopez: gofund.me/a95d229a

• Mateo Rodrigues: gofund.me/1a0a63de

• Mireya Zamora: gofund.me/3a920bd0

• Regina Araiza: gofund.me/6793ddd0

• Rosario Lopez: gofund.me/4970ee68

• Yaretzi Arias: gofund.me/f23b16f1

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General assignment reporter, covering nearly every beat. I specialize in feature stories, but equally skilled in hard and spot news. Pajaronian/Good Times/Press Banner reporter honored by CSBA. https://pajaronian.com/r-p-reporter-honored-by-csba/


  1. My compliments to the students who have worked to earn money for this worthwhile visitational experience. Acceptance at any university is an honor for the family, the local high school and school district.
    I am also very pleased to learn of the many college graduates that have chosen to return to the Pajaro Valley after completing their studies. They are great role models for our high school students.
    Lorraine Sandavol-Vigil and volunteers have done an amazing job keeping this trip available to qualified students. Thank you

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