Sheriff honors scholarship recipients and Sence Foundation

Location: Tulare County Sheriff's Office

Incident Date: 01/08/2016

Incident Time: 1000 hours

Posted by: Media Relations

Sheriff Mike Boudreaux honored the five Sheriff’s Pathways Program scholarship recipients and Sence Foundation President Kim Oviatt Friday, Jan. 8, during a special presentation. 

The Sence Foundation funds these scholarships as part of its mission to support higher education. So far, three recipients were selected in 2014 and two were recently selected in December. 

During the presentation, Oviatt addressed them each by name and told them to look around the room at the leadership of the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office.

“You should emulate their leadership,” he said. “On behalf of the Sence Foundation, congratulations.”

The Sheriff’s Pathways Program is a scholarship program aimed at putting local youth back in their communities as Sheriff’s Deputies after graduation from college and training in the police academy, said Sheriff Mike Boudreaux. 

“What you see before you is the future of the Sheriff’s Department,” he said.

When these Pathways/Sence Foundation scholarship recipients present the Sheriff with their college diplomas, he has offered to pay for their police academy training.  After graduation from the academy, he promises to put them back into their hometown communities as deputies.

“I’m looking forward to pinning those badges on them,” he said.  “[They] are truly an investment.”

Youth, ages 17-20, who volunteer with the Sheriff’s Explorers program are eligible to apply for the Sheriff’s Pathways Program.

The $5,000 for the two recent scholarships was granted by the Sence Foundation whose president, Kim Oviatt, said that the board of directors of the Sence Foundation was proud to once again provide the funding for the scholarships that would make it possible for these students to become a part of the Sheriff’s Department.

More than 60 years ago,  the Sence Foundation was established by his grandparents, Ray and Grace Sence, whom Oviatt described as hardworking and charity minded. Since 1985, the Foundation has given more than $10 million to Tulare County charities. 

In addition to higher education, the Sence Foundation also supports medicine and children’s charities.

“We have a niche for law enforcement and particularly for the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office,” Oviatt said. “The Sheriff’s Pathways Program was a perfect fit.”

The new recipients for the Sheriff’s Pathways Program are:

Joseph Banda, a Porterville College student majoring in Administrative Justice.  He said it’s an honor to receive the scholarship. “It’s definitely a pat on the back,” he said.

Samantha Elias, 17, of Porterville is a senior at Magnet Academy in Porterville.  She plans to study business administration at Porterville College.  She said she’s glad to have the guarantee to stay in her hometown as a deputy.  “The relationship I built with my community as an Explorer I can continue as a deputy,” she said.

In December of 2014, the first Pathways/Sence Foundation scholarships were awarded to: 

Hector Negrete (San Joaquin Valley College) 
Jasmine Orozco (Fresno State University) 
Daniel Luna (Reedley College)  

Upon their graduation from the Police Academy, they will become the first Sheriff’s Pathways scholars and will join the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office.

For more information, contact Teresa Douglass, PIO, at 559-636-4695 or