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Chico State Student awarded $20,000 to pursue education

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CHICO, Calif. - A Chico State student was awarded $20,000 to pursue his education, a huge relief for someone who had a difficult upbringing.

Rigoberto Vazquez is a senior at Chico State University majoring in Mechanical Engineering. In some ways he's just a typical student, but his story runs much deeper.

"There's a lot of hurdles there. Sleeping in cars, that's not something you want to do," said Vazquez.

Vazquez said he had a difficult upbringing with his parents.

"They mostly suffered through drug addictions," said Vazquez.

For a time, he said his father was clean. When he brought Vazquez to the U.S. from Mexico, he said dad had to ask if they could sleep in peoples cars or homes.

"That was one of the most hardest things I could ever see my dad doing, because I knew it was a shame for him to ask for help," said Vazquez.

PG&E was inspired by his story and academic efforts. They granted him $20,000 dollars from their "Better Together" scholarship program. Vazquez is 20 out of 2,000 students to receive their scholarship to complete their degrees."

"Earning this scholarship actually gives me a lot of inner peace," said Vazquez.. "Not only do I have to focus on myself, I can focus on having a life because I've been dedicated only to school."

He said he wants to do well for himself so he can be an inspiration to his sisters and others who face this hardships themselves.

"I feel like I should take it upon myself to show them that this is the way and you can do it regardless of what you've been through because I've been there," said Vazquez.

He has three semesters remaining to get his mechanical engineering degree and then he plans to head for graduate school.

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